Royal Mail Hotel (Albert Street)

From Hotels of Ballarat
For other hotels with the same or similar names, see Royal Mail Hotel.
Royal Mail Hotel
Royal Mail Hotel, 2007
Town Ballarat
Street Albert Street
Opened c.1866, and 28 November 2020
Closed 2 July 2018
Known dates 1866-2018, 2020-2024

The Royal Mail Hotel was a hotel in Ballarat, Victoria, 1866-2018, 2020-2024

Site[edit | edit source]

The Royal Mail Hotel is on the north west corner of Albert Street, Sebastopol and Queen Street, Sebastopol.[1] Address is 290 Albert Street.[2]

Map[edit | edit source]

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Background[edit | edit source]

The hotel opened in the 1860s, and the current building was erected in 1924.[3]

History[edit | edit source]

In October 1866 the publican, Thomas Pengilley, was given permission to dig up the footpath:

From T. Pengelly (sic), requesting leave to break the pathway at the Royal Mail hotel for building a cellar.[4]

In July 1867 the Ballarat Water Commission began laying water pipes to supply water to Sebastopol, but the council were not sure if the pipes would be laid as far south as the hotel, or whether they would only go as far as the Mechanics' Institute.[5]

In August 1870 the publican had a man charged with abusive language:

T. Pengilley v North, abusive language in a public place. Mr Paynter for the defendant. It appeared that the defendant, being somewhat the worse for drink. quarrelled with one Mortimer, a cabman, when the alleged abusive language took place on the plaintiff putting the defendant out of his house, the Royal Mail hotel; fined 20s and 7s 6d costs.[6]

In July 1880 mining was happening near the hotel:

Another and similar application was received, asking permission to mine under 25 acres of land situated near Royal Mail hotel.—Permission granted.[7]

In January 1885 the hotel publican was displaying an interesting collection of curios:

I had the pleasure to-day of viewing available and interesting collection of shells at the residence of Mr F. H. Ingle, of the Royal Mail hotel. The shells were presented to Mr lngle by the engineer of a boat connected with the Western Australian pearl fisheries, and include the sword of a sword fish, and a shell dress of the wife of one of the native chiefs. The collection is well worth inspection.[8]

In May 1888 some of the cab drivers of Sebastopol wrote to the council about having a cab stand outside the hotel:

From a number of cabmen plying for hire on the Sebastopol road, asking council to register a stand at the Royal Mail hotel.—Action postponed for a fortnight.[9]

In December 1889 there were discussions in council about the site of the cab stand which was outside the hotel:

Cr Dickinson, in accordance with notice of motion previously given, moved -"That a cab stand be fixed near the Victoria hotel, and that the town clerk take all necessary steps in connections therewith." Restated that his reason for so doing was in accordance with the wishes of a number of residents of the lower end of the borough who wished to have a cab stand at the Victoria hotel. There being no seconder to the motion it lapsed. Cr Hicks gave notion motion that, he would move at the next meeting—"That a cab stand be fixed near the Guiding Star hotel. If they had two cab stands they might as well have three." It was ultimately resolved that the previous site be adhered to (near Royal Mail hotel), and the regultion prepared by the town clerk be adopted. The adoption thereof be confirmed on the 23rd day of January. On the motion of Cr Kent, it was resolved to submit the regulation to the council's solicitor.[10]

In January 1890 it was proposed to move the cab stand from outside the hotel to the Victoria Hotel:

Cr Kent gave notice of motion for the revocation of the motion fixing the site of the cab-stand near the Royal Mail hotel, and contingent upon that being carried it be fixed near the Victoria hotel.[11]

In December 1891 the Sebastopol Council (of which the publican Frederick Henry Ingle was a member), made an agreement with the Ballaarat Tramway Company to extend the new tram line to the hotel:

That for the present the said line terminate at the Royal Mail hotel, and if at any future date the Tramway Company are desirous of extending the line to the southern boundary of the it will be left to their option so to do. [12]

The tram line was never extended beyond the hotel, and the hotel remained the terminus until the tramway closed in 1971.

The tram line to the Royal Mail Hotel was completed in March 1893, and the hotel, owned by the Mayor of Sebastopol, was the venue for the official celebrations:

The through tramway line to Sebastopol, which has just been completed, was formally opened yesterday afternoon. The work of constructing the continuation from Rubicon street, a distance of nearly two miles, was commenced about four weeks ago, under the supervision of the engineer, Mr Archer, and has been excellently well laid down. Yesterday afternoon a special car conveyed a number of gentlemen connected with the Tramway Company and the members of the City Council over the line. The car, which was under the charge of the veteran driver, “ Fred ” Robertson, left the City Hall shortly after 4 o’clock. The party were met opposite the Sebastopol Town Hall by Mayor Ingle and the councillors of the borough, and a glass of wine was partaken of. Mayor Cooke briefly proposed the health of the mayor of Sebastopol. He believed the tramway line to Sebastopol would pay, and pay handsomely. The company had spent a lot of money, and deserved to succeed. Mayor Ingle made a suitable response, and also proposed “ Success to the Tramway Company,” which Cr Bell acknowledged.

An adjournment was then made to the Royal Mail hotel, situated at the terminus of the line, where the Mayor of the Borough entertained his guests. The chair was occupied by Cr Bell, one of the directors of the company. The toast of "The Queen and Royal Family" having been honored, Cr Williams proposed "The Parliament of Victoria." The Hon. E. Morey, M.L.C , responded. He hoped the tramway line just finished would prove a benefit both to the Borough of Sebastopol and the City of Ballarat. Coming directly to the toast, he said the country was just now under a cloud, but they must come out on the right side in a very short space of time. The order at present was retrenchment, but retrenchment could be carried too far. A great city had been artificially built up which contained very nearly a third of the people and this had been the fault of previous Governments. He trusted the present Ministry, who had the country with them he believed, would succeed in the heavy task before them. Mayor Ingle proposed the toast of “Success to the Tramway Company.” He hoped the company would prosper, and he they would be rewarded for their energy and the great amount of money they had spent in extending the line to Sebastopol. They had laid down a mile and three quarters in the borough, and they deserved to make it pay. If Sebastopol turned out again as rich in quartz as it bad been in alluvial it would bring prosperity, as it had done in the past to Ballarat. The toast was drunk with musical honors. Cr Bell, replied on behalf of the Tramway Company. He had to apologise for the absence of the chairman, Mr James Coghlan, and his co-director, Mr M'Vitty, and also for the secretary, Mr George Ruffle. It had been urged that the tramways did harm to cabmen and others. They had now more cabs in Ballarat than they had prior to the trams being started. People could be educated up to any point, and the cabs would find work in feeding the main lines of trams. He believed property in Sebastopol would increase in value to a great extent.

Cr Blythe had pleasure in proposing the toast of “The Mayor and Councillors of the City of Ballarat." He had travelled a good deal during the previous year he had found no corporation that could compare with that of the City for its management, its cleanliness, and its cheapness. The City fathers had always endeavored to make the City a perfect place, and one that everyone would desire to live in. Mayor Cooke briefly replied. The present councillors of the City were trying to follow in the footsteps of their predecessors. He hoped that the Ballarat Tramway Company would see their way clear to not only further extend their lines, but to introduce electricity as the motive power. He thanked them for the toast. Ex-mayor Shoppee also responded. It was a feather in the caps of the city councillors that a gentleman who had travelled like the mover should say that he had seen there was no better managed city than Ballarat. He had been an opponent of the tramway in council, but they had now a strong friend in him. He would even be in favor of giving greater concessions. The Sebastopol Council had treated the company very liberally, and he believed they were asking too much in the City. He believed the citizens of Ballarat would never have anything to complain of in regard to the agreement between the City Council and the Tramway Company. Mr J. Wall, town clerk of Sebastopol, proposed “ The mining interest.” Mr J. D. Woolcott, chairman of the Ballarat Mining Exchange, briefly responded, and expressed the hope that before long they would have many mines in Sebastopol like the Star of the East. Cr Martin proposed the healths of the engineer (Mr Archer) and the manager (Mr. Fay), and these gentlemen suitably responded. The toasts of “The Press" and “The Chairman" brought the proceeding to a close, and a start was then made on the return journey.[13]

The tram line did cause some issues with the roads in the area, and led to a discussion about the cause of the poor quality of the road outside the hotel in August 1897:

The town clerk stated that there was a depression in the road near the Royal Mail hotel which badly needed attention. Cr Blyth thought It was due to the raising of the tram line by the company. He was averse to filling up depressions caused by the raising of the line by the company. He thought they could spend the municipal funds to better advantage than ameliorating defects caused by the Tram Company. Cr Clark was not averse to the work being done, but he objected to the Tram Company being allowed to bank up their lines and dam the water on the roadway. Cr Ingle, in reply to the mayor, stated that there was a lodgement of water, but that existed prior to the rising of the line. He thought it could be tolerated for another year. There were some holes, however, in the road which required to be filled in. The matter was ultimately referred to a committee of the mayor and Cr Hughes and the town clerk.[14]

On 22 March 1915, the hotel was included on a list of hotels to be deprived of their licenses. This list was complied by the Licenses Reduction Board in Melbourne. Licensing district hearings for hotels on this list were to be held at the Ballarat Supreme Court on 11 May.[1]

In October 1918 the council agreed to repair the asphalt footpath outside the hotel.[15]

In March 1923 concern was raised about the poor state of the road outside the hotel:

Cr Aisbett drew attention to the presence of large boulders in the main street near the Royal Mail Hotel. In the interest of the horses which daily used the road the, boulders should be broken and the road made good. The town clerk said that some of the boulders were very large and were the natural formation. It would be a difficult matter to deal with them, and would be a bigger job than was anticipated. As far as the loose quartz on the road was concerned that could be broken and blinded, but wet weather was necessary for the work. The matter was referred to the Mayor and town clerk.[16]

In November 2015 the hotel was sold for $1,050,000.[17]

On 24 December 2016 the hotel cool room was broken into and steaks valued at $600 were stolen. The thief was seen riding away with the meat balanced on the handle bars of his bicycle.[18]

Closure[edit | edit source]

The company which owned the hotel, the Royal Mail Hotel (Ballarat) Pty.Ltd. went into liquidation in March 2018 with a debt of $286,000 to the Australian Tax Office. Company Director John Damien Burns, had another failed business in Ballarat in 2009 which still owed employees pay and superannuation entitlements.[19]

The hotel closed on Monday 2 July 2018 after the business was put into liquidation, with debts of $388,112.[17] Staff were left without being paid or receiving superannuation entitlements.[20]Some of the staff who had lost their jobs moved to the Nerrina Tavern and took over the bistro.[20]

In September 2019 the hotel was offered for sale for $1,000,000. It was described as being a 535 square metre building. with lounge, and adjoining bistro. There is also a newly refurbished function/alfresco room with its own bar, toilet and barbecue facilities.[2]

Reopening[edit | edit source]

In February 2020, it was reported that John Rattley and Nancy Lane, as Goat and Compass Pty. Ltd., had applied for the license, and planned to reopen the hotel.[21] Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the hotel was unable to open in March 2020, but reopened on 28 November 2020.[22]

Community Involvement[edit | edit source]

Mining[edit | edit source]

People[edit | edit source]

Publicans[edit | edit source]

Other staff[edit | edit source]

  • In December 2016 the head chef was Paul Zhu.[18]
  • In July 2018 Lisa Hewitt and Deb Radnell were employed in the bistro.[20]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1915 'LICENSES REDUCTION BOARD.', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 23 March, p. 10, viewed 13 February, 2014,
  2. 2.0 2.1 2019, 'Country pub on the market', Ballarat Courier, 7 September 2019,
  3. 3.0 3.1 2018, Cluff, Caleb,'The Royal Mail had been in operation for 150 years in Sebastopol', Ballarat Courier, 6 July 2018,
  4. 4.0 4.1 1866 'SEBASTOPOL BOROUGH COUNCIL.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 16 October, p. 3. , viewed 05 Jun 2019,
  5. 1867 'SEBASTOPOL BOROUGH COUNCIL.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 23 July, p. 3. , viewed 07 Jun 2019,
  6. 6.0 6.1 1870 'SEBASTOPOL POLICE COURT.', The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1869 - 1886; 1914 - 1918), 4 August, p. 3. , viewed 27 Nov 2023,
  7. 1880 'SEBASTOPOL COUNCIL.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 23 July, p. 2. , viewed 04 Jun 2019,
  8. 8.0 8.1 1885 'SEBASTOPOL.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 29 January, p. 3. , viewed 04 Jun 2019,
  9. 1888 'SEBASTOPOL COUNCIL.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 11 May, p. 4. , viewed 07 Jun 2019,
  10. 1889 'SEBASTOPOL COUNCIL', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 24 December, p. 4. , viewed 06 Jun 2019,
  11. 1890 'SEBASTOPOL COUNCIL.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 17 January, p. 4. , viewed 06 Jun 2019,
  12. 1891 'SEBASTOPOL COUNCIL.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 19 December, p. 1. , viewed 04 Jun 2019,
  13. 1893 'OPENING OF THE SEBASTOPOL TRAMWAY LINE.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 31 March, p. 4. , viewed 10 Jun 2019,
  14. 1897 'SEBASTOPOL COUNCIL.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 12 August, p. 1. , viewed 07 Jun 2019,
  15. 1918 'SEBASTOPOL BOROUGH COUNCIL.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 25 October, p. 4. , viewed 07 Jun 2019,
  16. 1923 'SEBASTOPOL COUNCIL', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 9 March, p. 3. , viewed 06 Jun 2019,
  17. 17.0 17.1 2018, Cluff, Caleb, 'Another Ballarat hotel has gone under, owing almost $400,000 to creditors', The Ballarat Courier, 3 July, 2018,
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 2017, Black. Jessica, 'Steaks, bourbon targeted in pub robberies', Ballarat Courier, 4 January 2017,
  19. 2018, Cluff, Caleb, '‘We want our super’: victims of bankrupt director still unpaid', Ballarat Courier, 14 July 2018,
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 2018, Cluff, Caleb, 'These Sebastopol hotel staff are trying a new bistro on the other side of Ballarat', Ballarat Courier, 21 July 2018,
  21. 2020, Cluff, Caleb, 'Ballarat's much-loved Royal Mail Hotel is coming back', Ballarat Courier, 7 February 2020,
  22. 2020, Cluff, Caleb, 'What's been missing from Ballarat's pub life? This could be the place.', Ballarat Courier, 31 October 2020,
  23. 1880 'CHAMPION COMPANY.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 3 May, p. 2. , viewed 08 Sep 2019,
  24. 1869 'Advertising', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 11 December, p. 4. , viewed 05 Jun 2019,
  25. 1865 'POLICE.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 21 July, p. 4. , viewed 05 Jun 2019,
  26. 1881 'THE ANNUAL LICENSING MEETINGS.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 23 December, p. 3. , viewed 10 Jun 2019,
  27. 1888 'Family Notices', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 31 December, p. 2. , viewed 07 Jun 2019,
  28. 1888 'BALLARAT LICENSING COURT.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 10 December, p. 3. , viewed 08 Jun 2019,
  29. 1888 'SEBASTOPOL.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 18 July, p. 4. , viewed 06 Jun 2019,
  30. 1906 'BALLARAT LICENSING COURT.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 4 December, p. 3. , viewed 14 Jun 2018,
  31. 1920 'LICENSING TRANSFERS', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 10 August, p. 1. , viewed 03 Aug 2018,
  32. 1941 'HOTEL TRANSFERS', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 2 September, p. 6. , viewed 15 Jul 2019,
  33. Henderson, Fiona, Telling the story of Sebastopol, Ballarat Courier, July 11, 2012,
  34. 2023, Erin Williams, 'Sebastopol residents buy their iconic "local", Ballarat Courier, pg. 16, 18 March 2023,

External Links[edit | edit source]