Red Lion Hotel (Main Road)

From Hotels of Ballarat
For other hotels with the same or similar names, see Red Lion Hotel.
Red Lion Hotel
Red Lion Hotel, c. 1938
Town Ballarat
Street Main Road
Known dates 1858-2024
Google maps 37.5692853,143.8702883

The Red Lion Hotel is a hotel in Ballarat East, Victoria, <1858-2024.

Site[edit | edit source]

The Red Lion Hotel is in Main Road . The original building was demolished in 1938.[1]

Map Grid: 37.5692853,143.8702883

Background[edit | edit source]

The original gold rush era building was finally demolished in 1938 and the newspapers reported on its history:

LINK WITH GOLD RUSH DAYS Ballarat's Oldest Hotel To Go. The Red Lion Hotel, Ballarat's "oldest" public house will be demolished shortly and replaced by a modern brick hotel. With the 80-year-old hotel will go a link with the Ballarat of gold-rush days; of bare-knuckle fights in the bar-room; Cobb and Co. coaches laden with gold; and of all the stirring days of Ballarat's early history. Old miners still frequent the hotel, recalling the old days when the 80-year-old bar-room was the rendezvous of diggers who had suddenly struck it rich. Bare- knuckle fights were frequent, and the floors were covered with sawdust to make it easier to clear the floors of the blood that was frequently spilt. Beer was paid for more frequently in gold than in coin. Almost directly opposite was the Charlie Napier Theatre, where the audience watched vaudeville items in between visits to the bar, which adjoined the auditorium proper. In addition to the prize fights the Red Lion was the centre of attraction for iron quoit champions from all over Australia. Side wagers of £100 frequently were laid on contests which were held in the yards of the hotel. The principal competitors were from the mines.[1]

The Red Lion Hotel also dates back to the riotous days of the diggings. It is an historical hotch-potch built mainly of wood, partly single-storied, partly double, which has been so added to and altered that it is difficult to-day to say where the original structure began and where it ended. In any case it is destined shortly to disappear. As soon as the Centenary celebrations are over it is to be completely rebuilt. For the last 60 years the hotel has been the property of the same family-the family of the present licensee's wife.[2]

History[edit | edit source]

The hotel was offered for sale in September 1858:

We are requested by Mr Carver to call attention to the sale of the Red Lion Hotel, on the premises, this day at twelve o'clock. A splendid investment.[3]

In December 1874, the police objected to the renewal of Catherine Fox's license:

Catherine Fox, Red Lion hotel. Main Street- Dilapidated building, and that the applicant was not of good fame and character. Sergeant Larner deposed that the applicant owned houses in the vicinity rented by bad characters, but that Mrs Fox had promised to pull them down. Constables Mansfield and M'Gann deposed that the house was the resort of prostitutes. The bench cautioned the applicant against her future conduct, but as no complaint had been made by the police during the year the license was granted.[4]

In November 1883, Henry Harvey, who had been employed on the rebuilding of the hotel, attempted suicide by cutting his throat with a razor.[5]

In March 1884 the landlady was assaulted, resulting in her having a miscarriage:

Mrs Young Hing, landlady of the Red Lion hotel, Main street, on a charge of assaulting whom a man named John Williams was remanded at the Town Police Court on Thursday, is now in a very critical state. The assault has resulted in a miscarriage, and as the patient's life is in danger, the case against the prisoner Williams wears a very serious aspect.[6]

In February 1887 the publican was one of several in Ballarat charged with Sunday trading:

William Ah Mong, Red Lion hotel; defendant, who pleaded guilty, was fined £2 with 7s costs.[7]

In December 1905 a man was robbed after drinking with a woman in the bar of the hotel:

A CHARGE OF LARCENY. WOMAN COMMITTED FOR TRIAL. A middle-aged woman named Mary M'Cormack was charged with the larceny of £7, the property of George Nixon Drake. Sub-Inspector Balchin prosecuted, and Mr M. Lazarus appeared for the accused, who pleaded not guilty.

George Drake, the prosecutor, deposed that he was a laborer, residing at Addington. On the 23rd December he was in Ballarat, and went to the Red Lion Hotel with the accused some time during the afternoon. Witness had £9 12s in his pocket when he came to Ballarat. There were nine £1 notes and some silver. Before reaching the Red Lion Hotel he spent, several shillings, and when he had a drink with the woman he had eight £1 notes tied in his pocket with string. At the hotel witness changed a pound, and gave the accused 19s 6d. From the hotel they went to a Chinese cook shop, and had something to eat. Witness was so bad with drink that he did not remember leaving the Chinaman’s place. Between 9 and 10 o’clock the same night he missed the eight £1 notes from his pocket. He wanted a drink, and on feeling for his pocket, he found that it had been cut out, and the money taken. The following day witness reported his loss to the police. He saw the accused at the watchhouse. and identified her as the woman he had been with on the previous day. The notes were Commercial Bank ones. William Mong, husband of the licensee of the Red Lion Hotel, gave evidence that on the 23rd ult. the accused and the prosecutor were at the hotel together. Witness wanted to take, charge of the prosecutor’s money, but he said he was quite capable of looking after it himself.
Constable M'Manus, watch-house keeper at Ballarat East, said that on the morning of the 20th ult. he saw the accused in the cell, and she handed him a portion of a pocket, saying, “This is the missing piece of pocket they have been looking for. Constable Milne, stationed at Ballarat East, deposed that at 10 o’clock on the night of the 23rd ult. he arrested the accused opposite the Red Lion Hotel on another charge. The next day the woman, who was in a cell, called witness, and handed him the seven £1 notes produced, saying, “This is the money of the man who was here to-day. I forgot all about it, but I found it in my blouse.” Witness asked her where she got it from in the first place, and she said—Mrs Mong were in the bar parlor at the Red Lion hotel, and the dark man cut the informant’s pocket out with a penknife, and was going to rob him when I snatched the money.” The next morning witness got the piece of pocket from Constable M’Manus and asked her if it was complainant’s pocket. She said it was. Witness asked her who she was living with, as he wanted to see if the man who was robbed was staying at her place. The accused said—“I cut the pocket out of the complainant’s trousers at the cook shop myself, and that is all about it.” Asked what she cut it out with, the woman answered—“A knife.”
Mary M'Cormack, the accused, after being cautioned, gave evidence on oath. She said that two days before Christmas she met the complainant near the Red Lion hotel, and he asked her to have a drink. He had a beer and she had a whisky. The complainant ant put his hand into his pocket to get the money out to pay for the drinks but he could not get it. He asked her (accused) to put her hand in his pocket to get the money. She attempted to do so, and found that the pocket was tied. She removed the cord from the pocket and then took out a roll of notes. She handed £1 note to the barmaid, and Mr Mong entered the parlor and asked Drake for his money to mind. Drake replied that he could look after his own money. The drinks were paid for, and Drake gave witness the change for a Christmas box. From the hotel they went to a Chinese cook shop, where they had a basin of soup. The complainant asked witness to mind his money, and when she consented to do so he out the pocket out with a dinner knife, and handed her the money and portion of the pocket, saying, "Will you mind that for me?" After that there was a bit of a row, and she was arrested. To Sub-Inspector Balchin—As soon as she remembered having the money she gave it up. One constable had asked her for the money, and she said—“ There it is.'" She did not deny to Sergeant Kealy that she had the money.

The police magistrate said that the woman’s story did not improve her position very much. She was committed for trial at the Ballarat sittings of the Supreme Court on 20th February.[8]

In September 1913 the publican was charged with Sunday trading:

At Ballarat East court on Wednesday Annie Mong, licensee of the Red Lion Hotel, Main-road, was fined £3 on a charge of Sunday trading. The offence is alleged to have been committed on 27th July. The police observed men on the premises, but they made off when the officers approached. Defendant and members of her household flatly contradicted the evidence of the police, and a stay of execution for fourteen days was granted to permit of an appeal.[9]

In February 1916, the publican Annie Mong was charged with serving soldiers in the hotel during prohibited hours:

SOLDIERS AND DRINK. BALLARAT HOTELS RAIDED. BALLARAT, Wednesday. In Ballarat East court to-day, Annie Mong, licensee of the Red Lion Hotel, Main-road, was fined £1, with £2 9/6 costs, on a charge of Sunday trading. Defendant pleaded guilty, and a prior conviction was admitted. Thomas Francis Macmanamny, of Mack's Hotel, Victoria-street, charged with having traded during prohibited hours, was also fined £2, with £2 9/6 costs. It was alleged that in each case drink had been served to soldiers, and evidence for the prosecution was given by the military police.

Mr. J. M. Kirkpatrick said Inspector Sampson, licensing officer attached to the local police force, knew nothing of the cases before the court. The men, who were to give evidence had been sent to Ballarat by the Defence department to find out what hotels were serving soldiers during prohibited hours. Many hotels had been visited, and only a few of the proprietors had been charged. The men themselves knew nothing regarding the nature of their mission, except that it was military duty; they had had no idea they were to be brought as witnesses. The Defence department had been put to great expense to train men to fight; but men could not, as the bench knew, train on beer. The Minister of Defence had referred the reports to the Chief Secretary, who passed them on to the Commissioner of Police, and they had come to Ballarat in the ordinary way. Mr. R. Murphy, P.M., said it was a serious matter to serve soldiers with drink. The court, however, was not concerned with the methods of the Defence department, and the whole of the cases would be determined on the evidence adduced.[10]

The publican was fined in August 1925:

Before Mr. Elliget. P.M., at the city court on Friday, Annie Mong, licensee of the Red Lion Hotel, pleaded guilty to disposing of liquor during prohibited hours at 8.30 p.m. on 28th July. A fine of £2 was imposed.[11]

In 1929, William Mong was charged with running a betting shop in the hotel:

In the City Court on Thursday charges against William Mong and Herbert Hop of having used the Red Lion Hotel for the purpose of betting were dismissed.[12]

In October 1937 an attempt was made to burn the hotel down:

ARSON CHARGE FAILS. No Prima Facie Case. BALLARAT, Monday. — Ronald Sharp, 28 years, laborer, of 617 Windermere-street, was charged in the city court on Monday that on or about October 10 he unlawfully and maliciously attempted to set fire to the dwelling house of William Mong, Main-road. Mr. A. Hill, P.M., found that the evidence was not sufficient to sustain the charge, and the case was dismissed.

William Mong, barman, of the Red Lion Hotel, Main-road, of which his wife was the licensee, said he had known Sharp for 15 or 20 years. On June 14 accused and a companion came to the hotel at 5.40 p.m. under the influence of liquor. When refused beer Sharp caused trouble, and witness, with the assistance of a man named Henderson, put Sharp out of the premises. Sharp said, "I will burn your place down." On October 11 witness was shown by his wife a fern basket containing burnt papers placed against the wooden wall, near a bedroom at the rear of the hotel. The wall was scorched.

Plain-clothes Constable Raper and Senior Detective McGuffie gave evidence that Sharp, when interviewed on October 12, said he had gone to the hotel at 3 a.m. on October 11, to get beer, and had climbed the fence and knocked at the back door, but no one came, and he went away again. He denied any know ledge of the attempt to set fire to the premises. Mr. T. E. Byrne (for Sharp) said that he had no case to answer. Mr. Hill, P.M., said a prima facie case had not been established, and accused was discharged.[13]

The publican was fined in December 1939:

Annie Mong, licensee of the Red Lion Hotel, was fined £5 for having the bar door open, and £2 for disposal of liquor after hours, and several men were each fined 15/.[14]

Community Involvement[edit | edit source]

Red Lion Hotel, 2011

The People[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1938 'LINK WITH GOLD RUSH DAYS', Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 - 1954), 22 January, p. 6. (FIRST EDITION), viewed 09 Jan 2017,
  2. 1938 'Historic Hostelries', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 7 March, p. 13. (Ballarat Centenary Souvenir), viewed 09 Jan 2017,
  3. 1858 'Local and General News.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 10 September, p. 3. , viewed 13 Mar 2024,
  4. 4.0 4.1 1874 'BALLARAT EAST LICENSING BENCH. ANNUAL MEETING.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 15 December, p. 4. , viewed 15 Jan 2018,
  5. 1883 'NEWS AND NOTES.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 19 November, p. 2. , viewed 13 Feb 2020,
  6. 1884 'NEWS AND NOTES.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 22 March, p. 2. , viewed 13 Mar 2024,
  7. 1887 'BALLARAT LICENSING COURT', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 25 February, p. 3. , viewed 21 Jun 2018,
  8. 1906 'A CHARGE OF LARCENY.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 18 January, p. 4. , viewed 23 Dec 2021,
  9. 1913 'COUNTRY NEWS.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 18 September, p. 9. , viewed 24 Dec 2021,
  10. 1916 'SOLDIERS AND DRINK.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 17 February, p. 9. , viewed 24 Dec 2021,
  11. 1925 'LICENSING PROSECUTIONS.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 15 August, p. 14. , viewed 24 Dec 2021,
  12. 1929 'COUNTRY NEWS.', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 30 August, p. 4. , viewed 24 Dec 2021,
  13. 1937 'ARSON CHARGE FAILS.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 2 November, p. 16. , viewed 24 Dec 2021,
  14. 1939 'BALLARAT', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 13 December, p. 16. , viewed 24 Dec 2021,
  15. 1873 'LICENSING BENCH.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 23 December, p. 2. , viewed 24 May 2017,
  16. 1877 'POLICE INTELLIGENCE.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 11 September, p. 4. , viewed 29 Jan 2017,
  17. Victorian Post Office Directory (Wise), 1888, pg. 13
  18. 1906 'COUNTRY NEWS.', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 14 May, p. 3, viewed 11 April, 2015,
  19. 1915 'CHINESE ASSAULTED.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1870; 1914 - 1918), 7 April, p. 4, viewed 16 November, 2014,
  20. 1916 'OFFENCE ADMITTED.', The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), 17 February, p. 5 Edition: DAILY., viewed 15 December, 2014,
  21. 1925 'LICENSING PROSECUTIONS.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 15 August, p. 14, viewed 15 December, 2014,
  22. 1929 'HOTEL LICENCES.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 17 December, p. 11. , viewed 17 Jul 2019,
  23. 1930 'LICENCES TRANSFERRED.', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 11 June, p. 10, viewed 15 December, 2014,
  24. 1956 'AND NO DRINK.', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 20 March, p. 10, viewed 31 January, 2014,
  25. 2018, Gliddon, Greg, 'David Canny named new Australian Hotels Association Victorian president', Ballarat Courier, 13 October 2018,
  26. 2020, Gliddon, Greg, 'Ballarat's pubs will open with some changes from Monday', Ballarat Courier, 31 May 2020,

External Links[edit | edit source]