Thomas Bath

From Hotels of Ballarat
Thomas Bath
Thomas Bath
Occupation Publican
Hotel owner
Years active 1853>
Known for Ballarat Hotel
Bath's Hotel
Home town Ballarat

Thomas Bath was a publican in Ballarat, Victoria, from 1853.

History[edit | edit source]

Bath opened the first licensed hotel, the Ballarat Hotel (later known as Baths's Hotel), on the Ballarat goldfields on 1 July 1853.[1]

Bath was made a Life Governor of the Ballarat School of Mines in 1888.

In 1899 the newspaper reported on Bath's early days in Ballarat:

TIME has been telling heavily upon the veterans of Ballarat, but does it not seem a wonderful instance of longevity that Mr THOMAS BATH, who was a pioneer of the district and a miner in 1851, is still hale and hearty, and taking the same ardent interest in our local and public affairs that he has ever done. At the meeting of the Ballarat Agricultural and Pastoral Society on Saturday he announced his resignation of his official position as treasurer, owing to the advice of his medical attendant as necessary for his health. The members of the society, may always count upon his help and cooperation, for there is hardly a man in Victoria who has endeavored to do more for agriculture. Those who were here in the good old times, and who occasionally pay us a visit, will tell you that one of the strangest things that strikes them is to find Mr Thomas Bath in his old form and looking none the worse of the wear, kindly, cheery, and active. What wonderful tales could the old man tell of the Fifties. He was remarkable in this particular; he went in for business. He believed, with Tennyson’s “Northern Farmer", that "proputy, proputy, proputy" sticks; and he stuck to it, too. One of the first jewellers’ shops was situated on the Yarrowee Creek, near Golden Point, and an old photograph of the scene presents is with one of Mr Bath’s humble mansions near the centre of excitement. He was lucky; everything he touched turned into gold. The trend soon set in to the higher ground, and with a judicious eye to investment he purchased that block on which was subsequently erected the hotel which bore his name, and divided by a narrow lane from the block of handsome buildings fronting Sturt street and extending from Lydiard street to the Town Hall. Here money was literally coined in the old days. Mr Bath’s name was a guarantee of comfort, convenience, and everything that could give a hotel a status. Here were found all the wealthy diggers, public men, and visitors who flocked in daily from all parts of the world, but the business was conducted with a tact, unpretentiousness, and freedom from ostentation which necessarily had a peculiar attractiveness for the better class of people. There were some rough fellows to be met with in those days, but they found the toffs at Bath’s as capable of giving a Roland for an Oliver as cleverly as the Benecia Boy or the Staleybridge Infant. What a roll of noble fellows the grand pioneer Ballaratians became associated with at that luxurious hostelry. Subsequently Mr Craig, whose name was rendered famous by his horse Nimblefoot winning a Melbourne Cup, took over the hotel and maintained its high prestige. The following particulars throw an interesting light upon the early doings of some of the fortunate ones who were the first to reach the auriferous ground. A laborer named Hiscocks heard of a discovery in the Pyrenees. He made a cradle, and tested some of the spots round that place, and became the discoverer of Hiscocks’ Gully. Information of this reached Geelong, which, even at that time; bore a bright particular reputation for the smartness of the place and people, and a rush set in from that time.to Buninyong. Some 50 parties turned up, many of them embracing some of the subsequent leaders of Ballarat. Amongst the first to arrive was Mr James Oddie, who left on the 2nd of August and reached the Buninyong Camp about five days afterwards. News had just been received of the Golden Point rush, for which everybody was making. On the Ist September Mr and Mrs Bath, Mr Oddie and their parties arrived on the scene and found six tents and a shepherd’s box. Within ten days almost the whole population of Geelong had arrived on the spot, and five days later half the residents of Melbourne had joined in the rush and the place presented the remarkable spectacle of lawyers, doctors and men of all ranks and stations toiling in the typical diggers’ costume. It is needless to relate the subsequent progress of gold mining in the colony ~ since that time. Nothing can be pleasanter than for these old soldiers to meet each other and recount the tales of of early days, and at these gatherings Mr Bath was always welcome. How few are left of the good old stock, and those who remain still carry with them much of the old Ballarat manner. We have refrained from adverting to the many revivals and the vicissitudes that befell this district, inasmuch as the gentleman to whom we more particularly refer, and who was through it all has journeyed in his later days along the peaceful glades of rural life, and avoided the anxieties and troubles invariably associated with the thirst for gold.[2]

Bath owned a considerable amount of real estate which was offered for sale after his death:

J. NOBLE WILSON, instructed by THE BALLARAT TRUSTEES EXECUTORS AND AGENCY COMPANY, Limited, and CHARLES VAUGHAN, executors of the will of Thomas Bath. Esquire, J.P., deceased, will submit by auction on Saturday, the 30th November, at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, at Craig's Royal Hotel, Ballarat. That charming PROPERTY, “CERES,” Learmonth, comprising 1676 acres 2 roods 14 perches, all in the parish of Burrumbeet. IN FIVE LOTS.

  • Lot I—Allotments 48, 49, and 32, parish of Burrumbeet, containing 473 acres 2 roods, 1 perch, on which is the homestead.
  • Lot 2—Allotments 51 and 52, parish of Burrumbeet, containing 134 acres, known as Patterson's farm.
  • Lot 3—Allotment 63, parish of Burrumbeet, containing 150 acres. This adjoins Mr M'Cubbin’s property.
  • Lot 4—Allotments 33, 34, 34A, 44, 45, 46, and 47, parish of Burrumbeet, containing 385 acres 3 roods 5 perches. This land has a long frontage to the main Ballarat and Learmonth road.
  • Lot 5—Allotments 64, 66, 67, 68. 74, 75, and 76, parish of Burrumbeet, containing 517 acres 1 rood 10 perches. This has also a frontage to the main Ballarat and Lear month road. This splendid estate comprises some of the richest agricultural land in the district, and in the early days of farming yielded immense crops of potatoes, grain, and hay, since which it has been laid down in grass, and chiefly used for grazing purposes, and is renowned for its stock of high-class Lincoln sheep. Its fat stock always realise high prices in the Ballarat market. The LAND consists of RICH CHOCOLATE and BROWN VOLCANIC SOIL, and Black Alluvial Flats, and is richly covered with natural and English grasses.The WATER SUPPLY is exceptionally good, water being laid on to the house, stables, sheep sheds, garden, and many of the paddocks from five brick and cement tanks of a capacity of about 84,000 gallons. These tanks are supplied by three windmills from wells, which never fail. The other paddocks are well supplied by dams and water holes.


The estate is beautifully and advantageously situate close to Lake Learmonth, only 11 miles from Ballarat, and within a mile of the picturesque township of Learmonth, which is connected by rail with Ballarat. The CLIMATE is good, and rainfall reliable, a record of which was regularly kept by Mr Bath, the average annual rainfall being about 27 inches over a period of 20 years. Dairying can be carried on all the year round, with a creamery at Learmonth. The “CERES" HOMESTEAD is the finest in the district, and is situated on a fertile bank surrounded by a large and beautiful garden, orchard, shrubbery, and ornamental trees. The outbuildings are numerous, extensive, and substantial, comprising large sheep shed, wool shed, dairy, cow shed, stables, and coach-house, men’s house, barn, and many other buildings.
This very valuable estate has to be sold under the provisions of the will of the late Mr Thomas Bath. J.P...The late Mr Bath took the greatest interest possible in having everything on this estate done to the best advantage, and under his capable management everything connected with it is up-to-date and in splendid order...

  • 199 acres 3 roods 39 perches, parish of Addington. Wauhra. at present let to Mr Orr. It adjoins Mr Orr’s and Mr Edmonstone’s, and is on the Waubra and Ballarat 3-chain road, and is good grazing land, well watered with springs and waterholes. It is also timbered.
  • 20 acres, parish of Dowling Forest, next to the Dowling Forest State school. This is good grazing land, and has been cultivated. It adjoins Messrs Gray and Wilkins’ properties, and is let to Mrs Robert Warfen.

Also, the following TOWNSHIP PROPERTIES:— MINERS’ REST,

  • Allotment 26. section C, 2r 12p, corner Nelson and Howe streets.
  • Allotment 23, section C. 2r 10p, Howe street,

CLUNES.

  • Allotment 9, section 20, 1r, corner Smeaton and George streets,
  • Allotment 11, section 8. 1r, Tourello street,
  • Allotment 12. section 8, 1r, corner Tourello and Bath streets.
  • Allotment 10, section 9,31½p, Hill street.

BUNINYONG.

  • Allotment 9, section 20, 1r 24p. corner Eyre and Lal Lal streets, Allotment 10, section 19, 1r, Fisken street.[3]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Hargreaves, John. Ballarat Hotels Past and Present, pg. 2, 1943, Ballarat
  2. Ballarat Star, 04 October 1899.
  3. 1901 'Advertising', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 9 November, p. 7. , viewed 23 Jul 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article207180319

External links[edit | edit source]