Thomas Dilena

From Hotels of Ballarat
Thomas Dilena
Born Tomaso D'lena
Died 4 September 1909
Occupation Publican
Years active 1882-1885
Known for Wheeler's Bridge Hotel
Home town Lawrence
Spouse(s) Margaret McNeill
Children Antonio (1864)
Thomas (1866)
Johanna Maria (1870)
James (1872)

Thomas Dilena was a publican in Lawrence, Victoria, <1882-1885>.

History[edit | edit source]

Thomas, or Tomaso, was born c.1835. His surname is spelled differently in many sources, variations including D'lena[1], Delani[2], Dehina[3] and Delaina.[4] Dilena is the name used on his headstone.

Thomas Dilena married Margaret McNeil in Victoria in 1864.[1] They had several children, including:

  • Antonio, 1864, Spring Hill.[5]
  • Thomas, 1866, Creswick.[6]
  • Johanna Maria, 1870, Creswick.[4]
  • Paull
  • James, 1875, Victoria.[7]

In December 1882 Thomas Dilena had his license renewed for the Wheeler's Bridge Hotel, at Wheeler's Bridge over the Birch Creek.[2] The village was later renamed as Lawrence. It was close to the big gold mines operating on the Berry lead. In December 1883 his license was renewed.[3]

In November 1883, his son Thomas rescued a small child from drowning:

A courageous act was performed on Sunday afternoon, 11th instant, near the Clunes weir at Birch's Creek by a youth named Thomas Dilena, 17 years of age, who succeeded in saving a child named Rowlands from death by drowning. It appears that a number of children were playing near the stream, when the little boy Rowlands, five years of age, fell into the water, which at the place was 6 feet in depth. Young Dilena noticed the occurrence, and without divesting himself of any clothing at once plunged in to the rescue. He succeeded in grasping the child just as it was sinking for the third time. The child was brought out fortunately but little the worse for the mishap. Great praise has been accorded to the rescuer for the heroism of the action, and It certainly seems to be a case in which the Victorian Humane Society could worthily afford some recognition. The parents of the noble youth reside at Wheeler's bridge, near Smeaton.[8]

In April 1885, he was involved in a row between with the publicans of Lawrence's other hotel:

At the Allendale Police Court on Wednesday, Jane Cowie, a publican, residing at Wheeler’s bridge, Smeaton, proceeded against Thomas Dilena, also a publican at the same place, for unlawful assault. Dilena, in turn, took out a summons for unlawful assault against Jane Cowie, Isabella Cowie, Alexander Cowie, Agnes Cowie, and John Phillips. Mr Pearson and Mr Randall appeared for Mrs Cowie, and Mr Finlayson for Dilena. Several witnesses were called and their evidence differed very materially. It appeared there has been an ill-feeling existing for several years between the two parties, which eventually broke out in a “ small squabble." After hearing the evidence; the bench (consisting of Messrs J. Eales and G. L. Nase, J’s.P.) dismissed both cases.[9]

Dilena died on 4 September 1909 and is buried in the Creswick Cemetery[10], Pres, Row 10, Grave 1240.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Australian Wedding Index, Victoria, 1864, Ref. No. 764
  2. 2.0 2.1 1882 'CLUNES LICENSING COURT.', The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1869 - 1883; 1914 - 1918), 14 December, p. 4. , viewed 09 Feb 2020,
  3. 3.0 3.1 1883 'CLUNES.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 7 December, p. 4. , viewed 07 Feb 2020,
  4. 4.0 4.1 Australian Birth Index, Victoria, Ref. No. 22547
  5. Australian Birth Index, Victoria, 1864, Ref. No. 21270
  6. Australian Birth Index, Victoria, 1866, Ref. No. 14187
  7. Victorian Birth Index, 1875, Ref. No. 1706
  8. 1883 'NEWS AND NOTES.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 19 November, p. 2. , viewed 13 Feb 2020,
  9. 1885 'NEWS AND NOTES.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 30 April, p. 2. , viewed 18 May 2019,
  10. Australian Cemetery Index,

External links[edit | edit source]