Royal Oak Hotel (Peel Street)

From Hotels of Ballarat
For hotels with the same, or similar names, see Royal Hotel.
Royal Oak Hotel
Picture needed
Town Ballarat
Street Peel Street
Known dates 1872-1935

The Royal Oak Hotel was a hotel in Ballarat, Victoria, <1872-1935>.

Site[edit | edit source]

The hotel was on the east side of Peel Street, near the road leading to the Black Hill lookout.[1][2] In 1910 the Sands and MacDougal Directory listed it at 138 Peel Street.[3]

Background[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

A fire hose reel was kept at the hotel for emergency use. It was put to good use in November 1904:

There is a reel kept at the Royal Oak hotel, Peel street north, and this was run out by several young men, who did capital work prior to the arrival of the firemen, their labors being responsible for saving the house adjoining the one consumed.[4]

The hotel was listed as a hotel suitable for closure by the Licenses Reduction Board and hearings were held in March 1911:

ROYAL OAK HOTEL. Evidence was taken with regard to the Royal Oak hotel, Peel street (owner, Catherine Dwyer; licensee, Bridget Walsh). Mr F. Ham appeared for the owner, and the licensee conducted her own case. Senior-Constable Magor described the hotel as a one-story brick building, with ten rooms, two of which were public bedrooms. The licensee did a respectable trade, of fair extent. The Belle Vue hotel was 350 yards north of the Royal Oak. The latter was the better of the two. Senior-Constable Walls also gave evidence. William Bradford, mining journalist, said that several leases had been applied for in this direction within the past few months, and he predicted a general mining stir in Ballarat East. Several, other witnesses gave evidence for the owner. Clara Dwyer, the owner’s daughter, said the population in the immediate vicinity of the Hotel was thicker than that around the Belle Vue hotel. Mrs Walsh also gave evidence.[5]

The hotel was one of eight Ballarat East hotels listed for closure by the Licence Reduction Board in 1918.[1]

ROYAL OAK HOTEL. Evidence was heard first in regard to the Royal Oak Hotel Peel street, owner Breheny Bros., licensee John Hutchens. Mr Campbell Douglas, of Melbourne, represented the owner and licensee, in the absence of Mr Early who was ill. Const. Flanigan said the hotel was well conducted. If it were closed the people in the locality would have to go to the Athletic Club hotel. There was no hotel the other way nearer than 10 miles, and a good population resided in the vicinity. The building was in good order, but wanted renovating. Since the Black Hill Progress Association was formed the district had improved. The main roadway to the lookout passed the hotel, and the licensee supplied meals and provided accommodation for vehicles. It would be no advantage to the locality to close the hotel. A certain class of customers would be greatly inconvenienced. To the Chairman: Although he had not had much experience in Ballarat East he thought the hotels to be closed could come from the eight listed before the Board. He should not think the City of York Hotel did a better bar business than the Royal Oak, but he quite believed that before the present licensee of the Royal Oak took control the City of York did a much better business. Sen-const Wallace, of Brown Hill, speaking with nine years experience of Ballarat East, said he knew all the hotels listed and approved of some being closed. He would make his selection from the list, but would not close the Royal Oak. To the Chairman: Some of the hotels in Main street could go: he would close congested hotels before closing the Royal Oak. That also applied to the Victoria Hotel. The Crown, Royal Standard, and the New Eglinton hotels could be closed without causing inconvenience. He would close them in that order. The Earl of Zetland occupied a good position and he would leave it. He would not close the Commonwealth Hotel, which occupied as good a position as the Royal Standard. The Crown, and he thought the Limerick Castle, could be closed. He had a doubt about the Phoenix. The hotels mentioned depended chiefly on the bar trade. Ernest Breheny, on behalf of the owners who purchased the property in 1912, said the present licensee took possession in February 1917, on a five year lease, with the option of purchase, at a reduction of 5 in the rent owing to early closing. He believed that for £30 the place could be put in decent repair. John Hutchens, the licensee. said a fair amount of the trade was local and a fair amount came from a distance. The trade went back to Little Bendigo and even Bungaree people came to him. He took the hotel because he never thought it would be listed before the Board. He often had to provide shared rooms because his house was full, and he took 15 to 16 a week for meals and beds. His bar takings averaged £25 a week. He received about £3 10 from the temperance bar. His stables and yards were free. He did not carry a heavy stock. The Progress Association had improved the district considerably. To the Chairman: He did not exercise the option to purchase because he wanted to wait and see how things were going. To Insp Nicholson: He did a decent respectable trade, and the greater part of it was not due to Sunday trading and after hours trading. Insp Nicholson: That was his information, Mr Douglas: Well, why was it not put in the box? The Chairman: The constable said that the place was well conducted. Witness to the Chairman: One account for soft stuff for a year was £36 but that did not include all the soft stuff he purchased. He could add £10. He should expect to get 40 per cent profit on £100 worth of stuff. The Chairman: If you take my advice and want to make a profit, and want the public to patronise you, you will give up hard stuff and keep soft stuff, because on the figures you have given you can make 300 per cent on soft stuff and only 40 per cent on general lines. Witness: He had had the temperance bar for only a few months. James A. M'Neil said he had been living in the locality over 25 years and he thought it would he an inconvenience to close the hotel. There were great mining possibilities on Black Hill. The hotel was well conducted, and the population of the locality was working class. The Progress Association had about 300 members, and the Association passed a resolution regretting the proposal to close the hotel. The hotel was some thing like the policeman. Both were required. If the hotel were closed, sly grog selling would probably be carried on. To Mr Lock: There were more hotels in Main street than were required. Two or three could be closed in the congested parts before closing outskirt hotels. Robert Caldwell (president of the Progress Association), Archibald Hatrick (secretary), and Edward Cooper (salesman) gave corroborative evidence. The latter said he lived opposite the hotel and he had seen no Sunday trading. Decision was reserved.[1]

The hotel was one of 23 hotels reviewed by the License Deprivation Board in Ballarat in 1922.[6]

In May 1934 the publican was fined for illegal trading:

Gladys Cameron, licensee of the Royal Oak Hotel, Peel-street, was fined £2 in the city court on Tuesday for allowing unauthorised persons on the premises after hours on 10th March.[7]

In March 1935 a man was charged with assaulting a woman working at the hotel:

Robert Sharp was charged in the city court on Wednesday with having unlawfully assaulted Beatrice Ada Cameron, married woman, of the Royal Oak Hotel, Peel-street, on 2nd March. Ronald Sharp, a brother, was also charged with having used obscene language. Cameron in evidence said that Ronald Sharp visited the hotel between 8.15 and 8.30 p.m. and handed her 2/ and asked for two bottles of beer. Witness told him She would keep the money, as he already owed it. Ronald Sharp used obscene language, and the other man struck her. The bench fined Ronald Sharp £2, in default seven days' gaol, for the language, and Robert Sharp £1, in default three days, for the assault.[8]

Community Involvement[edit | edit source]

Community[edit | edit source]

  • September 1901, a dinner for J. C. Langley. of Brown Hill, who had returned from service in the Boer War.[9]

Politics[edit | edit source]

  • In September 1894, John W. Rail, a candidate in the Ballarat West election, used the hotel for a political meeting.[10]

The People[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1918 'ROYAL OAK HOTEL.', The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1869 - 1878; 1914 - 1918), 28 February, p. 4 Edition: DAILY., viewed 9 November, 2015,
  2. 2.0 2.1 Victorian Post Office Directory (Wise), 1888, pg.14
  3. Sands & McDougall, McDougall's Melbourne, suburban and country directory : 1910, pg. 1994,
  4. 1904 'FIRES IN BALLARAT', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 17 November, p. 6. , viewed 12 Dec 2021,
  5. 5.0 5.1 1911 'LICENSES REDUCTION BOARD.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 8 March, p. 4. , viewed 07 Jul 2020,
  6. 1922 'REDUCTION OF LICENSES', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 11 January, p. 8. , viewed 28 Apr 2022,
  7. 7.0 7.1 1934 'PROVINCIAL CITIES AND TOWNS.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 2 May, p. 12. , viewed 17 Jul 2019,
  8. 1935 'PROVINCIAL CITIES AND TOWNS.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 28 March, p. 7. , viewed 17 Jul 2019,
  9. 1901, 'RETURNED SOLDIERS', The Age, 9 September 1901, pg.5,
  10. 1894 'Advertising', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 11 September, p. 3. , viewed 21 Apr 2017,
  11. 1872 'BALLARAT EAST LICENSING BENCH.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 19 March, p. 4. , viewed 16 Jul 2016,
  12. 1873 'LICENSING BENCH.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 23 December, p. 2. , viewed 09 Jun 2017,
  13. 1874 'BALLARAT EAST LICENSING BENCH. ANNUAL MEETING.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 15 December, p. 4, viewed 17 December, 2015,
  14. 1881 'POLICE INTELLIGENCE.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 4 February, p. 3. , viewed 29 Apr 2022,
  15. 1894 'BALLARAT LICENSING COURT.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 15 March, p. 6. , viewed 31 Jul 2017,
  16. 1907 'COUNTRY NEWS.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 5 January, p. 12. (FIRST EDITION), viewed 14 Jun 2018,
  17. 1927 'PROVINCIAL CITIES AND TOWNS.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 20 January, p. 14. , viewed 13 Mar 2018,
  18. 1929 'HOTEL LICENCES.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 17 December, p. 11. , viewed 17 Jul 2019,
  19. LICENCES TRANSFERRED. (1931, January 20). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 13. Retrieved July 16, 2019, from

External Links[edit | edit source]