Royal Mail Hotel (Ballan)

From Hotels of Ballarat
For other hotels with the same or similar names see Royal Mail Hotel.
Royal Mail Hotel
Royal Mail Hotel
Town Ballan
Opened 1857
Known dates 1857-1872
Other names Shannon Hotel

The Royal Mail Hotel was a hotel in Ballan, Victoria, <1856-1872>.

Site[edit | edit source]

The hotel was in Ballan.[1]

Background[edit | edit source]

History of the hotel as recorded in January 1918:

During the following year (1857) Michael Shannon built the Royal Mail hotel, afterwards renamed the Shannon, and now Messrs L. A. Fairbairn and Co.'s office. The first licensee of this hotel was a man named Healy, who occupied it until 1858 or 1859, when he was succeeded by James Laffan, who stayed there until his death in 1869 or 1870.[2]

History[edit | edit source]

The wife of the publican, James Laffan, died in December 1866, and the funeral was the largest seen in Ballan at that time:

IT is my painful task this week to inform you of the death of Mrs. Laffan, the wife of Mr. James Laffan, landlord of the Royal Mail Hotel, Ballan, which took place at her residence on Sunday night last, a little before ten o'clock, after a short and severe illness. She died at the early age of twenty-eight years, and leaves behind her four children, and a large circle of friends to mourn their sad loss. On Tuesday last, she was buried in the Ballan Cemetery, beside the family vault of the late Richard Cantwell, Esq., of whom Mrs. Laffan was a near relative. The funeral cortege was the largest ever witnessed in Ballan. A hundred horsemen and nineteen vehicles followed her remains to their last earthly home. The name of Cantwell must be greatly respected throughout the colony, and with a view to show respect to one bearing the name, gentlemen who had travelled from Melbourne, Melton, Bacchus Marsh, and Mount Blackwood, were present at the funeral.[1]

In June 1867 a local horse thief was captured in the bar of the hotel:

Some four months ago, Senior-constable Walshe, of Ballan, saw in the Government Gazette that a warrant had been issued by the Daylesford Bench for the arrest of a well-known Bullarook Ranger for horse stealing. The man glories in a long line of aliases. "Little Joe," alias " Austin's Joe," alias "Joe the Jockey." It so happened that Mr. Walshe had made Joseph's acquaintance a long time back, when hunting a particular class of game which hides in the douse scrub of that forest. So " Little Joe" was at once dotted down in Mr. Walshe's private memorandum, under the head of, "York, you are wanted." But that want was never supplied until Wednesday, the 12th instant, when, by chance, the worthy constable dropped into the Royal Mail Hotel, and, at the same time, dropped upon all the aliases rolled into one, and refreshing themselves with a "long drink" of Warrenheip. When Mr. Walshe last saw "Little Joe," his face was as smooth and soft-looking as the "tip of my lady's ear," but now "his chin showed like stubble land at harvest home," But the eagle eye of the sergeant soon picked out, from amidst a mass of bushy whiskers, the man he wanted. " Good evening, Joe," said the sergeant. "Good evening, sergeant," said Joe ; "what will you have to drink ?" "Nothing, thank you," responded Mr. Walshe, "you drink with me." "All right," said Joe. So Joe took his drink, and then the sergeant took Joe, and, without loss of time, escorted him to Daylesford, where he was remanded for a week. Thus a very clever capture was made, and one of the greatest vagabonds put out of the way that over led the outlaws of Bullarook. Too much praise cannot be accorded to Senior-constable Walshe for the watchful and determined manner in which he discharges his duty to the public, for there are dozens in Bullarook Forest who would as soon see his Satanic Majesty himself, as the "black sergeant" on their track.[3]

In March 1872 the hotel was extensively renovated by the new publican:

Casual visitors to Ballan will scarcely be able to recognise the Royal Mail Hotel, however well they once knew it, The alterations, improvements, and beautifying have given it an entirely now appearance, and certainly good taste has been exercised. It is to be hoped Mr. Hanrahan, the new proprietor, will be supported in his enter. prise, and if old customers fail to recognise the house they still may recollect the old spot on which it stands.[4]

The building later (1917) became the office for L. A. Fairbairn and Co.[5]

Community Involvement[edit | edit source]

Inquests[edit | edit source]

  • November 1869, an inquest into the death of an unknown man who was found in the bush. The verdict was death by starvation.[6]

The People[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1866 'BALLAN.', The Bacchus Marsh Express (Vic. : 1866 - 1918), 8 December, p. 3. , viewed 06 Jan 2019,
  2. 2.0 2.1 1918 'Early Ballan.', Ballan Times (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), 17 January, p. 3. , viewed 07 Jan 2019,
  3. 1867 'BALLAN.', The Bacchus Marsh Express (Vic. : 1866 - 1918), 22 June, p. 3. , viewed 06 Jan 2019,
  4. 4.0 4.1 1872 'BALLAN.', The Bacchus Marsh Express (Vic. : 1866 - 1918), 16 March, p. 3. , viewed 06 Jan 2019,
  5. 1917 'Early Ballan.', Ballan Times (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), 1 March, p. 3. , viewed 06 Jan 2019,
  6. 1869 'BALLAN.', The Bacchus Marsh Express (Vic. : 1866 - 1918), 6 November, p. 3. , viewed 06 Jan 2019,
  7. 1898 'BALLAN.', The Bacchus Marsh Express (Vic. : 1866 - 1918), 26 February, p. 3. , viewed 08 Jan 2019,

External Links[edit | edit source]