Star Hotel (Main Road)

From Hotels of Ballarat
For hotels with the same, or similar names, see Star Hotel
Star Hotel
Picture needed
Town Ballarat
Street Main Road
Known dates 1855-1864

The Star Hotel was a hotel in Ballarat, Victoria, <1854-1864>.

Site[edit | edit source]

The Star Hotel was in Main Road.[1][2] In 1856 Professor Rowland was advertising his hair salon was next door to the hotel.[3]

Background[edit | edit source]

The history of the hotel was included in a biography of William Irwin in 1881:

"Mr W. Irwin came to this Colony thirty years ago. He took out his first license for the Star hotel, Ballarat, in 1854...In the Star Mr Irwin suffered by flood and fire. In the great flood known as the 'Magpie,' half of the house was washed away, and six other floods were safely got through. During the Eureka business the Star was the rendezvous of her Majesty's rebellious subjects, and as such was taken possession of and thoroughly searched by the police. Precautions had been taken however, and all treasonable papers buried under the floor of the house. which saved forfeiture of license. In 1861 the Star, which had, like this World, got safety through its watery troubles, had to succumb to fire, being totally destroyed. Mr Irwin was considerably burnt, and still carries marks of the catastrophe."[4]

History[edit | edit source]

In April 1855 the hotel was used as a meeting space by the Reform League:

Violent robberies and sticking-up cases have become very frequent of late. The Victorian Reform League has appointed a Commission, which is advertised to sit at the Star Hotel, from seven o'clock p. m. on the three last evenings of this week, for the purpose of taking evidence and gleaning every information in order to make out a report on this vitally important subject.[5]

The Star Hotel featured a concert hall with regular entertainment, opened in June 1855:

The New Concert Room, at the Star Hotel, will be opened on Friday next, and some of the "stars" of our southern hemisphere will shine forth, we trust brilliantly on the occasion. The much-admired Miss Louisa Swannell, the young "Swan of Victoria," will then make her debut to the diggers of Ballarat and, we confidently anticipate, will meet with a gallant and suitable reception. She will he assisted by a whole host of talent, including her sister as pianist; Mrs. Onn, her accomplished preceptress - Mrs. Robinson, from Exeter Hall; and Mrs. and Mr. Creed, who have made a high reputation on Ballarat. Mr. M'Crea deserves the success which Miss Swannell is sure to receive, for he has spared no expense in securing the best talent in the colony, for the purpose of providing for his fellow-diggers intellectual enjoyment of the first order which Victoria can provide. A grand dress ball on Thursday night, will open the season's amusement. This is expected to be a brilliant affair.[6]

In September 1855 the concert room was offering a range of performances:

STAR HOTEL CONCERT HALL. RE-ENGAGEMENT of the celebrated BARLOW; It being Positively, His LAST APPEARANCE On the Ballarat Boards. Positively for Three Weeks Only. BARLOW THIS EVENING. W. M'CREA, Proprietor. STAR HOTEL, CONCERT HALL, Is Open Every Evening. THE largest and most talented Company on Ballarat has been engaged for this Hall, and arrangements have been made to provide a succession of the leading Celebrities of the Southern Hemisphere. The celebrated, and highly popular BARLOW, The Negro Delineator, is nightly entrancing crowded audiences with his soul-enlivening Melodics. In addition, they have engaged the following Galaxy of Talent— MRS OAKEY, MISS STEWART (The Celebrated Mezzo-Soprano), Mr D. GOLDING, AND MR C. F. PERCIVAL, (The admired Tenor). Mr OAKEY will preside at the Pianoforte. Admission, 1s; Reserved Seats, 2s 6d. Doors open at Seven o'clock; commencing at half-past seven. STAR HOTEL. RE-APPEARANCE Of the Inimitable THATCHER. MR. M'CREA begs to announce that he has effected an Engagement with the celebrated THATCHER, Who will make his Appearance at the Star Concert Hall, On MONDAY, OCTOBER 1st. New Songs, Duets, &c W. M'CREA, Proprietor.[7]

In November 1855, 12 months after the Eureka Rebellion, the hotel held a dinner for J. B. Humffray:

Complimentary Dinner. — The friends of Mr Lalor having thought proper to invite him to a dinner a few days ago, it has been decided by the friends of Mr Humffray and Mr Yates to give a complimentary dinner to those gentlemen, to celebrate the return of Mr Humffray and the recommendation of Mr Yates to the Legislative Council. The dinner takes place at seven o'clock on Wednesday next, at the Star Hotel, and a highly respectable and influential company is expected to be present on the occasion.[8]

Complimentary Dinner to J. B. Humffray, Esq., M.L.C. — Last evening upwards of 100 gentlemen sat down to a sumptuous repast at the Star Hotel, given by the friends and supporters of J. B. Humffray, Esq., the newly elected M.L.C. The usual toasts were proposed, and heartily responded to. On the toast of P. Lalor, Esq., M.L.C., being given, an explanation of the cause of his absence was given, and the toast drank with enthusiasm. Everything was conducted in the most admirable manner, and, the affair passed off with the greatest eclat.[9]

In November 1856 a meeting was held at the hotel to form the Ballarat Fire Brigade. There were quite a few publicans represented:

Referring to the Star of 22nd Nov., 1856, we find that shortly after five o’clock in the evening of the previous day, a public meeting was held at the Star hotel, with reference to the formation of a fire brigade “on Ballarat.” The chairman, Mr R. Muir, stated that the engine (Aquarius) had just arrived from Melbourne, and it was for the meeting to arrange as to its disposal...The following members of the brigade were elected as a committee:—Messrs Smith, W. Irwin (Star hotel), R. B. Gibbs, Moore (Moore and Bunn), Smith (Smith, Crisp, and Co.), Levy, Leake (M'Cleverly and Leake), John Hannon (Harp of Erin), W. B. Rodier, D. Jones, Emery (afterwards of the Washington hotel), Thomas Bath, Matthew Campbell, T. B. Smith, D. Oliver, R. Lynch (of the Montezuma); Lazarus (Lazarus and Levinger), Smith, Newman (Eyres Brothers and Newman), Kierulf (Kierulf Brothers), Thos. Diggins, W. Bowes (Horse Bazaar Hotel), M'Farlane (Red Hill hotel), and W. C. Smith.[10]

In December 1856 a man was charged with theft from a bedroom at the hotel:

John M'Grath was placed at the bar charged with stealing from the person of James Patterson money and a bill of exchange. James Patterson deposed that he was a laborer on Ballarat. Knew the prisoner. Last night went to bed at the Star Hotel, about half past eleven o'clock. Previous to his going to bed he had in his pocket £2 5s and a third of exchange for £75, in a box. The box in court he identified. He was told by another man that he had been robbed, and on being aroused found the box and its contents gone. By the prisoner.—I did not drink with you. I was asleep when I was robbed. Richard Heywood deposed—I was at the Star Hotel last evening, and saw the prisoner inside the bed-room door. He picked up a match box from under the bed. Constable Sheridan deposed—I was called to the Star Hotel this morning about 2 o'clock by a report that a man had been robbed. I arrested the prisoner on the charge. I saw him put a match box under the bed among some old clothes. The prisoner was committed for trial at the next General Sessions, on 22nd December.[11]

In February 1857 the hotel was advertising quoits:

QUOITS. THE lovers of the above manly game can be accommodated with first-rate sets of Quoits and ground, at the STAR HOTEL Every evening, free.[12]

In December 1858 there were Boxing Day entertainments at the hotel:

STAR HOTEL.-According to Mr Irwin's annual custom Boxing Day will be celebrated by the usual old English sports. In the commodious grounds adjoining the Star Hotel there will be prises offered for climbing the greasy pole, running in sacks, hurdle racing, leaping, throwing the hammer, and a handicap quoit match, to winners in which sports handsome prizes are offered. Besides the natural interest an Englishman takes in games of manly skill, there is sufficient of the ludicrous about some of them to ensure a plenty of amusement.[13]

A report on the entertainment showed it was successful:

This was the grand home of the wrestlers yesterday. From all parts in and about Ballarat, the men of Cumberland, Durham, Westmoreland, and the men of Cornwall and Devon gathered together for the display. Not fewer than from 600 to 800 persons obtained admission to the wrestling alone; while the front of the hotel and the opposite footpaths were crowded with people anxious to see the fun connected with climbing a greased pole erected in front of the hotel. The prizes for the wrestling in the Cornish, Devon, and Westmoreland styles, were nine in all, varying £4 down to 5s. There were 32 entries, and the names of the winners will show that some of our best wrestlers were present. The following were the winners:-J. Gardner, first prize; W. Weighmouth, second; - Nattrass, third ; J. Coulter, fourth ; J. Jackson, fifth ; W. Bell, sixth ; - Robson, seventh; W. Coulter, eighth; T. Maddison ninth. There was wrestling in the Cornish, and Devon style also, some 36 standards being made. The prizes in this style are six, varying from £10 to £1, and they will be competed for to-day and Saturday. The climbing of the pole for £2 in money afforded no end of fun to the onlooking crowds. A lot of Chinamen ambitious of ascending the slippery stick, were busily inquiring the terms all the morning, and at length several of the Celestial gymnasts essayed their powers. They had a peculiar fashion of climbing with their feet and hands to the pole, and some of them managed to get within ten feet or so of the top, but no farther. The barbarians then buckled to, and after many had failed the summit was achieved by a sailor, one Jack Frank, who had won the príze on two previous occasions. As we have already said, the Cornish and Devon wrestling will go on to-day. There will also be some jumping matches for £3 and £2 prizes, and a sack race for £2.[14]

In November 1859 the hotel was damaged during the "great flood".[15]

The Star Hotel was badly damaged in the huge fire in Main Road in January 1861 which destroyed 60 buildings and damaged another 40. The hotel which was on the opposite side of the road to the main fire, had its plate glass windows broken, and caught fire several times, but the fires were extinguished by the fire brigade.[16]

In 1861, William Broom was charged in the Eastern Police Court with having stolen a pair of trousers after a fire at the hotel.[17]

The hotel was damaged severely in a second large fire on 26 November 1862, which destroyed 30 other buildings.[18]

The Star Hotel was insured by its owner, Mr Henry Farley, in the Australasian Insurance Office for £500. Its front was seriously injured, and at one time the destruction of the building with the adjoining premises seemed inevitable.[19]

The hotel furnishings were offered for sale in July 1864:

HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE, &c. J. S. CARVER has been favored with instructions to sell by auction, at the Star Hotel, Main road, on Thursday, 30th June, at twelve o'clock, The whole of the Household Furniture, Bar Fittings, &c. Consisting of tables, chairs, pier and other glasses, forms, carpets, washstands, bedsteads, bedding, beer pipes, mats, fenders, and a large variety of sundries. Terms at sale.[20]

The People[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1863 'BALLARAT EAST LICENSING BENCH.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 18 June, p. 4, viewed 4 February, 2014,
  2. 1857 'Advertising.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 9 April, p. 3, viewed 28 December, 2015,
  3. 1856 'Advertising', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 14 August, p. 1. , viewed 07 May 2019,
  4. 1881 'NEWS AND NOTES.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 11 February, p. 2. , viewed 28 Dec 2018,
  5. 1855 'BALLARAT.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 4 April, p. 5. , viewed 21 Jul 2018,
  6. 1855 'BALLARAT.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 21 June, p. 4. , viewed 21 Jul 2018,
  7. 1855 'Advertising.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 22 September, p. 1, viewed 28 December, 2015,
  8. 1855 'BALLARAT.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 20 November, p. 6. , viewed 17 Jul 2018,
  9. 1855 'BALLARAT.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 27 November, p. 6. , viewed 19 Jul 2018,
  10. 10.0 10.1 1872 'NEWS AND NOTES.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 22 November, p. 2. , viewed 13 Apr 2021,
  11. 1856 'POLICE COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 6 December, p. 3. , viewed 28 Nov 2018,
  12. 1857 'Advertising', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 27 February, p. 4. , viewed 11 Apr 2018,
  13. 1858 'CHRISTMAS AMUSEMENTS ON BALLARAT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 27 December, p. 2. , viewed 12 Jun 2016,
  14. 1860 'THE STAR HOTEL.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 27 December, p. 2. , viewed 14 Mar 2017,
  15. 1859 'GREAT FLOOD AT BALLARAT.', South Australian Weekly Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1858 - 1867), 12 November, p. 5. , viewed 15 Sep 2018,
  16. 1861 'THE CONFLAGRATION ON THE MAIN HOAD.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 12 January, p. 2. , viewed 29 Dec 2016,
  17. 1861 'EASTERN POLICE COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 13 June, p. 1 Supplement: SUPPLEMENT TO THE STAR., viewed 17 February, 2014,
  18. 1862 'ANOTHER DESTRUCTIVE FIRE AT BALLARAT.', Gippsland Guardian (Vic. : 1855 - 1868), 5 December, p. 3, viewed 8 November, 2014,
  19. 1862 'FURTHER PARTICULARS.', Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 - 1918, 1935), 29 November, p. 6. , viewed 02 Sep 2019,
  20. 1864 'Advertising', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 30 June, p. 3. , viewed 23 Dec 2023,
  21. The Geelong, Ballarat, and Creswick's Creek commercial directory and almanac for 1856 : with a map of Geelong, 1856.
  22. 1858 'EASTERN POLICE COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 16 June, p. 2. , viewed 01 Dec 2019,
  23. 1858 'EASTERN POLICE COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 15 July, p. 2. , viewed 02 Nov 2017,
  24. 1859 'AFTERNOON SITTINGS.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 14 June, p. 3. , viewed 29 Aug 2019,
  25. 1860 'LICENSING BENCH.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 23 May, p. 2. , viewed 06 Dec 2019,
  26. 1861 'EASTERN POLICE COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 20 June, p. 1. (SUPPLEMENT TO THE STAR.), viewed 14 Apr 2021,
  27. 1862 'BALLARAT EAST LICENSING COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 26 June, p. 4. , viewed 02 May 2019,

External Links[edit | edit source]