Royal Hotel (Smythesdale)

From Hotels of Ballarat
For other Royal Hotels, see Royal Hotel
Royal Hotel
Picture needed
Town Smythesdale
Closed 26 March 1877
Known dates 1859-1877
Demolished Destroyed by fire, 26 March 1877

The Royal Hotel was a hotel in Smythesdale, Victoria, <1859-1877.

Site[edit | edit source]

The Royal Hotel was in Smythesdale[1], next to the Bank of Australasia.[2]

The hotel was relocated in 1861, and a dispute over the contract brought the publican and owner into court. The matter was referred to the County Court:

Robertson v R. B. Dent, work and labor, and material supplied, £10 5s. Defendant pleaded not indebted. Mr Stedman for plaintiff, and Mr Booker for defendant. From the statement of Mr Stedman it appeared that the plaintiff entered into and completed a contract with Messrs Curie and M'Donald for removing Dent's Hotel, and re-erecting the same on its present site.[3]

Background[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

The hotel was destroyed in a suspicious fire on Monday, 26 March 1877:

BURNING OF THE ROYAL HOTEL SMYTHESDALE. About half-past two on Monday morning the inhabitants of Smythesdale were aroused by loud cries of "Fire," and on going outside it was found that the Royal hotel was on fire, and burning furiously. In a very short space of time, although the alarm was given in the dead of night, the fire-bell was rung, and the engine brought down to the tank opposite the Police Camp. As it was seen that there was no hope of saving the hotel, a good stream of water was directed on the wall of the adjacent premises of the Bank of Australasia, which had just caught fire. The timely arrival of brigade saved that building, the scorched and blackened weatherboards and shingles showing what a narrow escape it had of being consumed, in which case the whole block of wooden buildings down to Mr Paton's shop would probably have shared the same fate. While the brigade were getting ready for action, the groom, Mr Rawiings, C. Suppardy, and other willing helpers got the horses out of the stable, and two buggies out of a shed at the rear of the burning building, as although the stables did not catch fire, it seemed highly probably that they would be burnt also. Mr Hughes, of the Bank of Australasia, having removed his children to Mr. Nicholson's house, opposite, got assistance and took the books and cash to a place of safety. Mr Rankin's office, on the north side of the burning house, caught fire, but it was easily put out by the stream of water from the hose. The force of the flames was soon spent, and it was only then necessary to watch the burning embers. The house, which has for some years been occupied by Mr Rawlings, who has just removed to the Court-house hotel, was insured in the Australian Alliance Company. Mr Rawlings will be a heavy loser by the fire, as a billiard table and other furniture belonging to him, worth over £100 were still in the house, not having been removed. Mr Rawlings bad previously applied to have the policy of insurance covering them transferred to the furniture in the Court house hotel. He is not likely, therefore, to be recouped for his loss by the company, unless the transfer has not yet been effected. Mr O'Connor of the Mechanics' hotel, had taken the Royal hotel, into which he intended to move next week. He is also a sufferer to the extent of £60 having purchased furniture to that amount at the recent sale, all of which, is consumed. Mr Rawlings and his family having removed into the Court-house hotel, the only person sleeping in the house was the groom, who, being awakened by the noise of the burning wood, escaped through the window The origin of the fire is a mystery, as it commenced in a part of the house the most distant from the room occupied by the groom, and there is too much reason to fear that the building was purposely set fire to, although it is difficult to understand what motive could actuate the incendiary. The alarm was first given by Mr Searle, the baker, who shouted "Fire, fire," in stentorian tunes, and the members of the fire brigade deserve great praise for the rapidity with which they turned out and had the engine at work. Lieutenant Shepperd worked with his accustomed energy, and Hose-officer Reitze had his leg and foot somewhat severely scorched in his eagerness to get the water playing on the fire. So ends the old Royal hotel, which, under Hosts Power and Rawlings, was the head-quarters of the mining investors of the district, and which has been the scene of many important and some most amusing meetings in the palmy days of mining, and to which the public look back with the not unnatural curiosity as to whether such times and such meetings will ever occur again.[2]

Community Involvement[edit | edit source]

Community[edit | edit source]

  • In 1859 the hotel was the venue for a meeting which wanted the government to proclaim a road through the district and survey blocks of land for sale.[4]

Mining[edit | edit source]

Sporting[edit | edit source]

  • In September 1862 the Smythesdale, Browns and Carngham Turf Club met at the hotel:

SMYTHESDALE, BROWNS AND CARNGHAM TURF CLUB A meeting of the above club was held at Dent's Royal Hotel, Smythes, on Thursday, 11th inst. Present- Mr Lock, president, and Messrs Lewis, Perrott, Foster, Piers, Dent, Veal, Jackson, Power, Whitpaine, Saunders, Hopper, Bankton, and Ringrose. The minutes of the last meeting were read and confirmed.
NEW MEMBERS The ballot for new members was then proceeded with, when the following gentlemen were declared unanimously elected, viz, Messrs Cashmore, Charles M'Lean, William Robertson, Tait, Lewin, Bedders, and George Woodhouse. OFFICE BEARERS. The following gentlemen were elected office bearers for the ensuing season, -vis: President, Mr B. H. Lock; vice-president, Mr Jackson; treasurer,. Dr Saenger; secretary, Mr Kelland.[6]

Inquests[edit | edit source]

  • June 1863, an inquest into the murder of George Sims. One of the two suspects in the case had been seen drinking at the hotel:

"...Neil Maguire, of Smythesdale, miner, deposed that he was in the bar of Dent's hotel from eight until about ten o'clock on Saturday night last. He saw the prisoner Cox there between eight and nine o'clock, who had a pint of beer. Cox was sitting on the same form as witness. Witness had seen him (Cox) on the former occasions. Witness did not see the prisoner Davies that night. The prisoner Cox, to witness, and standing in front of him: Take particular notice of me, and see it I am the man that was in the bar? Witness: Yes, you are, the man. The prisoner Cox: Was there any person sitting besides me? Witness: Yes, but I do not know him. The prisoner Cox: Then I should like to have that man send Mr. Dent here. Robert Burrel Dent; publican, Smythesdale, deposed that he was in his bar on Saturday evening last, between the hours of eight and nine o'clock. He believed he supplied the prisoner Cox with a pint of beer. The last witness said some other men were in the bar at the time. Witness believed it was about nine o'clock. He did not remember seeing the deceased in the bar that night. Cox was in company with some man, but he did not recollect the man. He (witness) knew Cox very well; he had often seen him before. Prisoner Cox to witness: was there any other person in the bar at the time that know me as well as you do? Witness: No, nobody but Maguire. By a juror: Witness did not know what time Cox left the bar on Saturday night..."[7]

  • November 1871, inquest into the death of John Thomas, aged 27, found dead in his hut, probable cause a fit, from which he had suffered for several years.[8]

Political[edit | edit source]

  • In October 1864 supporters of Mr. G. G. Morton for the electorate of Ballarat West, used the hotel:

The local committee sits every evening at Power's Royal Hotel, and is using every legitimate exertion to secure Mr Morton's return[9]

The People[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1862 'LICENSING COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 21 June, p. 1 Supplement: SUPPLEMENT TO THE STAR., viewed 18 February, 2014,
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 1877 'BURNING OF THE ROYAL HOTEL SMYTHESDALE.', The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1869 - 1880; 1914 - 1918), 27 March, p. 3. , viewed 18 Aug 2017,
  3. 1861 'SMYTHESDALE POLICE COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 4 November, p. 1. (SUPPLEMENT TO THE STAR), viewed 15 Jul 2017,
  4. 1859 'SMYTHESDALE.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 30 November, p. 2, viewed 16 October, 2014,
  5. 1865 'Advertising', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 2 January, p. 3. , viewed 29 Apr 2019,
  6. 1862 'SMYTHESDALE, BROWNS AND CARNGHAM TURF CLUB.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 13 September, p. 1. (SUPPLEMENT TO THE STAR), viewed 15 Jul 2017,
  7. 7.0 7.1 1863 'THE MURDER AT SMYTHESDALE.', Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), 15 June, p. 2 Edition: EVENING, viewed 28 December, 2015,
  8. 1871 'NEWS AND NOTES.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 27 November, p. 2. , viewed 19 Feb 2020,
  9. 1864 'NEWS AND NOTES.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 29 October, p. 2. , viewed 01 Mar 2017,
  10. 1861 'ANNUAL PUBLICANS' LICENSE MEETING, SMYTHESDALE.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 22 June, p. 1 Supplement: SUPPLEMENT TO THE STAR., viewed 24 February, 2014,
  11. 1863 'SMYTHESDALE POLICE COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 20 June, p. 4. , viewed 01 Oct 2018,
  12. 1873 'LICENSING BENCH.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 23 December, p. 2. , viewed 27 Jul 2017,
  13. 1874 'POLICE.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 5 December, p. 3. , viewed 28 Jul 2019,
  14. 1876 'POLICE INTELLIGENCE. CITY COURT.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 16 December, p. 4. , viewed 22 Jul 2019,

External Links[edit | edit source]