Reform Club Hotel

From Hotels of Ballarat
Reform Club Hotel
Picture needed
Town Ballarat
Street Cnr. Urquhart Street and Lyons Street
Closed 31 December 1908
Known dates 1877-1908

The Reform Club Hotel was a hotel in Ballarat, Victoria, <1877-1908.

Site[edit | edit source]

The hotel was on the corner of Urquhart Street and Lyons Street.[1][2]

Background[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

In December 1877 the police objected to the renewal of Thomas Holland's license on the grounds that the hotel was dilapidated and badly furnished. The case was adjourned for two weeks.[3]

In 1879 the publican, Thomas Holland, was charged with several cases of Sunday trading. He argued that he was not present at the time, and that he could not be held responsible for the actions of his servants. The case was adjourned, but in October 1879 the charges were upheld by the court:

SUNDAY TRADING - Senlor-constable Crowley v Thomas Holland, selling liquor on Sunday,. This was an adjourned case, and has been fully reported in the Star. The bench had reserved its decision pending the consideration of a point raised by the defendant's solicitor, Mr Nevett, and deci[?] was given. The police magistrate said that the bench before whom the case had been heard had made up their minds that Holland should he convicted, the landlord of an hotel being responsible, in their opinion, for the acts of his servants. Mr Nevett contended that there was no proof that Holland was inside the house at the time of the alleged offence having been committed. The police magistrate replied that their was no proof that the defendant was absent from his hotel on the day in question, the evidence [?] at the last hearing merely showing that it was likely that he might have been absent. Still, whether he was at home or absent, the conviction would hold good. Mr Thomson cited Mullen v Cullen to show that defendant was liable for the acts of his servants whether committed with or without his knowledge. Mr Nevett again differed with the bench on the point, and stated that he should advise his client to appeal against the decision. Defendant was 20s, with costs. The amount was paid.[4]

RECEIVING A PLEDGE FOR LIQUOR - Senior-constable Crowley v Thomas Holland—This case, which has beep fully reported in our columns, was an adjourned one, the bench reserving decision on the same point as that raised in connection with the preceding one. Defendant was convicted and a fine of 20s, with 14s costs, was imposed.[4]

The hotel was robbed in September 1901:

Thieves have broken into the Reform Club Hotel, Ballarat South, and carried off a box containing £17 in silver.[5]

In 1906 the publican was charged with Sunday trading:

Mary A. M'Donald licensee of the Reform Club Hotel, was on Friday lined £5 with 1/ costs, for Sunday trading on the 20th inst.[6]

In April 1908 the License Reduction Board held a hearing into the hotel:

REFORM CLUB HOTEL. Reform Club hotel, corner Lyons and Urquhart streets; owners, Ballarat Brewing Company, licensee Mary Ann McDonald. Mr Pearson appeared for both parties. Inspector Balchin said the hotel was in Class D. wooden. It was an old wooden building of one story, not in the best of repair. It had recently been papered and painted. There were 12 rooms, including bathroom and kitchen, with a three-stall stable. The rent was 27s 6d per-week, and the assessment £57. There was a conviction on the 1st June, 1906, for Sunday trading. The house, with this exception, had been very well conducted. He considered the house was not required. To Mr Pearson—He would qualify the statement about the hotel not being in good repair by saying it was not a good building.

Sergeant Britt said that the hotels in the neighborhood were the Scottish, Foundry, Victoria, Royal Oak, Miners' Support, and Mallow. The closing of the hotel would not cause any inconvecience. It was not situated so as to catch traffic. The Warrior and Victoria hotels would be enough for Urquhart street.
To Mr Pearson—He would leave the Warrior, because of its proximity to the Western Oval. Men as well as boys played cricket and football on the Western Oval. Mr Pearson- Don’t all the senior cricket clubs play on either the City or Eastern Ovals?- The aristocratic clubs do, but the working men’s clubs play on the Western Oval and other grounds. How far is this democratic recreation ground from the Bunch of Grapes?— About 14 chains. I suppose you are surprised that this house, the Reform Club, keeps going? —Well, to tell the honest truth, it’s a marvel to me how they keep going. It would be a shock to you to know that the licensee supplied 603 meals last year?—I am simply astounded at that. And 291 beds were booked ?—That is another shock to me. The Chairman —It seems surprising to us, sergeant, that you were not more aware of the business done there? — Well, it is such an out-of-the-way place. I don't think you could find it if you went to look for it. You would pass it before you wore aware of it. Mr Pearson said that Sergeant Britt had gone too far in his denunciation of the hotel. There was a substantial business done there. The Chairman - They all do a substantial business, so they say. We have not met one yet who admitted a poor business.
Mary Ann M'Donald said there were four bedrooms in the house for the use of the public. There was a large bakery establishment, together with a boot factory, and a foundry in the vicinity. Mr Pearson—You do a very quiet trade, I believe? The Chairman - That’s what the sergeant says. Mr Pearson—He says no trade at all. Mr Barr —“I wonder if the sergeant knows?”

John David Gillard, employed at Barlow’s machinery yard, said there was a fair business done at the hotel. There was a fair amount of traffic about. He thought that it would cause inconvenience if the hotel were closed. To Inspector Balchin—There were only two working at the yards. Hamilton Allen, miner, of Urquhart street, James Burdett, miner, of Armstrong street south, gave evidence in favor of the retention of the hotel. Judgment was reserved.[7]

In May 1908 the hotel was included on a list of 47 hotels to be delicensed by the License Reduction Board.[1]

In September 1908, compensation hearings were held at the Ballarat Supreme Court:

REFORM CLUB HOTEL. Owner, the Ballarat Brewing Company; licensee, Mrs Mary Ann McDonald. Mr J. B. Pearson, who acted on behalf of the owners and licensee, said the hotel was situate on freehold land at the comer of Lyons and Urquhart streets. The rental was £1 7s 6d. Frank Besemeres said the building was lathed and plastered, and contained 13 rooms. The building was a poor one, and would be a bad proposition. He would place a capital value of £975 upon it. De-licensed he would value the property at £150; £100 of that amount being for land. William Albert Drew said he would, place a yearly rental of £91 on the property. He thought 12½ years’ purchase would be reasonable, and £1137 10s a fair capital value. Mary Ann M'Donald said she had been licensee for five years. The decision was reserved.[8]

Community Involvement[edit | edit source]

The People[edit | edit source]

Bridget Holland applied for a transfer of the license of the Reform Club Hotel from Thomas Holland, her husband. It was stated that the present licensee was about to leave Ballarat for Adelaide, and was anxious that his wife should meanwhile carry on the business at the hotel. The application was adjourned for a week.[4]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1908 'BALLARAT HOTELS.', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 19 May, p. 3. , viewed 12 May 2016,
  2. 1908 'LICENSED HOUSES CLOSED.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 19 May, p. 4. , viewed 11 Feb 2020,
  3. 3.0 3.1 1877 'ANNUAL LICENSING MEETING.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 19 December, p. 4. , viewed 06 Jun 2021,
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 1879 'POLICE INTELLIGENCE.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 4 October, p. 3. , viewed 19 Mar 2020,
  5. 1901 'COUNTRY NEWS.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 11 September, p. 6. , viewed 08 Aug 2018,
  6. 6.0 6.1 1906 'COUNTRY NEWS.', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 2 June, p. 13. , viewed 08 Aug 2018,
  7. 1908 'REFORM CLUB HOTEL', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 25 April, p. 10. , viewed 07 Jan 2024,
  8. 8.0 8.1 1908 'LICENSES SEDUCTION BOARD.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 16 September, p. 4. , viewed 23 Feb 2020,
  9. F. W. Niven & Co's Ballarat and District Directory for 1888-9
  10. 1893 'TRANSFERS OF LICENSES.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 7 September, p. 3. , viewed 18 Jan 2019,

External Links[edit | edit source]