Victoria Hotel (Warrenheip)

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For other hotels with the same or similar names, see Victoria Hotel.
Victoria Hotel
Picture needed
Town Warrenheip
Street Melbourne Road
Known dates 1859-1939

The Victoria Hotel was hotel at Warrenheip, Victoria, <1859-1939>

Site[edit | edit source]

In 1859 the hotel was described as being on the Melbourne Road, near the racecourse.[1]

Background[edit | edit source]

In May 1908 it was referred to as the Victoria Junction Hotel.[2]

History[edit | edit source]

In December 1860, the publican was charged with selling spirits without a license. The case was contested and some of the details quite complex. It appears that the publican had been granted a license but had not paid the relevant fees. There were also arguments about which court had jurisdiction, and whether revenue officers were conspiring to make publicans commit an offense:

The Queen v D. McLean, for selling a glass of "old Tom" without being duly licensed. Mr Dunne appeared for the prosecution and Mr Trench for the defence. The latter took objections to the summons, which was worded, "sell or permit to sell," &c, which he contended implied two offences, when the Court could not try more than one; and no licensing district was mentioned in the summons; and the justices had no power to amend the summons, sitting as they were under Jarvis' act. In Nicholson's addition to Jarvis' act, attention was drawn to the omission of the want of the power of the presiding justices to amend the summons. He therefore contended that the cause should be struck out, as in case of appeal the conviction should be quashed. Mr Dunne said he would take all the responsibility of going on with the summons.

John Estshaw deposed that he went into the Victoria Hotel at Warrenheip, in company with Dowe, and paid for a glass of port wine and "old Tom." He was served by defendant, and paid 2s 6d for the drink, and received 1s 6d in change. Saw defendant's name over the door, and it had all the appearance of a public house, with a large lamp over the door. He saw in the Star a few days ago that an inquest had been held at D. McLean's Victoria Hotel.
Mr Trench cross-examined the witness at much length, when the following colloquy took place:- Mr Trench- Who are you, sir? I am a revenue detective officer. Who appointed you? The Government. Have you an authority? Yes, here in my pocket. Show it, sir. Mr Dunne- No, he won't; I object. Mr Trench- What member of the government appointed you? Mr Dunne-I object. Mr Sherard said he thought it was not relevant to the question at issue to ascertain who appointed him. Witness, in continuation- Dowe and I went there to see if the defendant sold spirits, and we found he did. From information he received he heard the house was not licensed, and he found such to be the case. He did not tell Dowe that he would ask for spirits; they made no special agreement.
The clerk of the Court here informed all the publicans of Ballarat East present that their cases would be heard in the Eastern Court on Monday. Mr Dunne interposed and said that several of them had stated to professional gentlemen that they would prefer to have them heard at the Western Court. The Bench said it was arranged that they should be heard in Ballarat East on Monday.

The witness, in continuation, said he had been engaged since February last at twelve shillings, and a portion of that time he had been receiving fifteen shillings per day. Andrew Dowe corroborated the statement of the last witness in connection with the sale of the liquor. Mr Trench contented that both the witnesses were informers, and they ought to be prosecuted themselves for inducing a man to commit an offence against the law. One informer was called to corroborate the testimony of the first. They laid a trap and schemed to make a man commit an offence, and for this Government paid them 12s per day. The Bench fined the defendant £50, when Mr Trench gave notice of appeal.[3]

In April 1862, a customer at the hotel committed suicide in one of the rooms. He had attended the opening of the Ballarat - Geelong railway:

We learned the following particulars of this sad affair:-The deceased, a well-dressed and highly-respectable looking man, about 5ft. 7in. in height and apparently about twenty-five years of age, made his appearance at the Victoria Hotel on the day of the opening of the Geelong and Ballarat Railway, and then stated that it was his intention to more on to the Werribee encampment, as he formed one of twelve members of the firing party selected by the Castlemaine corps to proceed thither. He was dressed in a grey tweed suit, and did not announce his name. He was of course entertained with the best the hotel could afford, without the slightest suspicion of there being anything peculiar in his manners. For the first few days he complained of being unwell, and confined himself pretty much to his room and when the time arrived for his departure for the Werribee, in reply to suggestion made to that effect, said that it was not any longer his intention to proceed thither. Subsequently he went "knocking about the place, talking and chatting," seeming easy enough in his mind. In his conversations he further stated that he had seen service in the Crimea with the Sappers and Miners. He also borrowed a gun of one of the neighbouring residents, took it to pieces, said that it was very dirty and wanted cleaning. The owner permitted him to keep the gun for this purpose, it was the weapon with which the unfortunate man destroyed his life. He had it three or four days in his possession. On Monday afternoon the stranger, who had been abstemious in the way of intoxicating liquors, went into his bedroom. While there Mr Hill, the landlord, sent his son with an account of what was owing for board and lodging. The reply was, that there was some inaccuracy in it, which was pointed out. Next day (Tuesday), at about four o'clock in the afternoon, young Hill was sent back with an amended account. Mr Hill was naturally desirous of having a settlement with his visitor, and told the son to say that as he was going to I Ballarat he required some money and a settlement. The visitor replied laconically "All right," and the boy left. Mr Hill's son had no sooner turned his back on the room than he heard a loud report as of a gun, and then the instantaneous fall of a heavy body to the floor. On entering the room the family found their mysterious visitor lying on the floor, weltering in his blood, apparently quite dead, and the gun beside him. Mr Hill's son was immediately sent into town with information, and with all convenient speed the officer mentioned and Dr. Bunce proceeded to the scene of the disaster.[4]

In July 1865 James Day applied for the license:

To the Bench of Magistrates in the Borough of Ballarat West, in the Colony of Victoria. I, JAMES DAY, now residing at Warrenheip, in the district of Bungaree, in the colony of Victoria, do hereby give notice that it is my intention to apply to the justices sitting at the Court of Petty Sessions, on Thursday, the 20th day of July, 1865, for a certificate authorising the issuing of a publican's license for house situated at Warrenheip aforesaid, in the colony aforesaid. The house is my own property, and is built of wood ; it contains a bar and bar parlor, three sitting rooms, kitchen, stables, &c., and to be known as the sign of The Victoria Hotel. (Signed) JAMES DAY. Dated this 6th day of July, 1865.[5]

There was an unusual argument at the Licensing Court when both the Buninyongshire and the Bungaree Roads Board claimed the hotel as being in their district:

James Day applied for a license for the Victoria Hotel, Warrenheip, district of Bungaree. Mr Doward, on behalf of the Buninyongshire Council, applied to have the notice of application amended, so as to bring the hotel within Buninyongshire, as it was, he said, within the limits of the shire, and the Shire Council was, therefore, entitled to receive the amount of the license fee. Mr Doward produced a map of the shire in support of his application. Mr Mann, who appeared for the Bungaree Road Board, stated that the map was wrong and the map of the Bungaree Board was right. Mr Doward said that the Bungaree Board would not be entitled to receive one penny of the license fee, even although the building was within its limits, as it was not a shire like Buninyong. Mr Mann said Bungaree expected to be a shire at some future day, and therefore it had a sort of prospective interest in the license fee. If the case was postponed, an amicable settlement might, however, be arrived at. The case was accordingly postponed for a week.[6]

In September 1868, a customer Michael Roache was murdered after leaving the hotel. An inquest was held at the Woodman Hotel:

THE MURDER AT WARRENHEIP. (ABRIDGED FROM THE BALLARAT STAR, SEPT. 9.) Dr. Glendinning, the district coroner, held an inquest on Tuesday, at the Woodman's Hotel, Warrenheip, respecting the death of Michael Roache. Michael Farrell and John Lechleitcur, who had been arrested for the murder, were in attendance. The following evidence was adduced :

James Day deposed, I am a publican and proprietor of the Victoria Hotel, Warrenheip. Know the deceased Michael Roache for the last five years. On last Sunday evening, the 6th September, the prisoners, Michael Farrell and John Lechleitcur, entered my house about half-past fivo o'clock, and had some drink. The deceased came in about a quarter to seven o'clock, and the three men had some drink together. The three left about twenty minutes to eight. During the time they were in my house they were very friendly, and were drinking together. They had each three drinks after Roache entering, and for these the deceased paid. On leaving, Roache bought a bottle of gin and a bottle of porter. It was carried away by tho prisoner Lechleiteur. It was a dark night, and when leaving they asked for a light, and I placed a lighted candle in a bottle, and they took it to go home. I understood them to be going to Farrell’s house. About half-an-hour afterwards, I heard the sound of voices talking loudly coming from the direction of Farrell’s house, which is about a quarter of a mile distant.[7]

In January 1883 the hotel was granted a new hearing for the license application which had been refused:

Mr Gaunt, on behalf of the licensees, and Mr Coghlan, proprietor of two hotels, the licenses of which were refused at last court day, applied for a re-hearing of the applications for renewal. The hotels in question were Day's Eureka and Nugent's hotel, Warrenheip. Mr Wynne made a similar application on behalf of the proprietor of Slattery's hotel, Victoria street. Several arguments were raised in favor of such a course of procedure. Long arguments ensued between Mr Gaunt and Superintendent Sadleir, who conducted the cases for the Crown. It was argued by Mr Mr Gaunt and Mr Wynne that every court had an inherent power to rehear cases in which decisions had been given, if good grounds could be shown for such a course. The bench decided to rehear the applications for renewals. Guarantees were given by the proprietors for the completion of one or two slight repairs, with the exception of which the hotels were in a fit state. The police withdrew their objections, and the licenses were renewed.[8]

Fire 1908[edit | edit source]

In December 1908 a fire was reported to have damaged the hotel:

HOTEL DESTROYED. Ballarat, 11th December. A destructive fire occurred at Warrenheip to-night, when O'Keefe's Victoria hotel and its contents were burnt. It is not known, whether the property was insured.[9]

Sale 1937[edit | edit source]

In 1937, Alice Denman bought the hotel lease from Michael Brennan. She unsuccessfully took him to court in 1938 claiming he had misrepresented the value of the business, and had taken business away to his new hotel in Ballarat:

SALE OF HOTEL. Unsuccessful Claim. BALLARAT, Thursday. Claiming misrepresentation in the sale of a hotel, Mrs. Alice May Denman, of the Victoria Hotel, Warrenheip, sued Michael Patrick Brennan, of the Imperial Hotel, Humffray street, before Judge Magennis, in the Ballarat County Court to-day for £350. Mr. P. J. Bourke appeared for plaintiff, and Mr. E. H. Hudson (Instructed by Mr. T. E. Byrne) for defendant. Plaintiff said that in April last year she purchased a 14 months' lease of the Victoria Hotel, Warrenheip, from Brennan at £700. Brennan said the weekly takings were £25, and an average of £2 weekly from the house, and that his reason for selling was that he was going away to the Western district. Plaintiff added that Brennan told her that It was a "sixpenny" house, and they obtained 1/2 a bottle for beer, and also alleged that part of the regular custom of the hotel was the visiting of parties from Ballarat, and that trade was better during the foot- ball season. Plaintiff contended that Brennan had not none to the Western district, but had bought a hotel in Ballarat almost immediately after the sale; that the hotel had not proved a "six-penny" house, and that customers re-fused to pay 1/2 for the bottled ale; and Mr. Bourke put in a declaration by defendant as to purchases, which showed an average of £ 11 a week for nine weeks, and £9/11/ for 43 weeks. Witness in formed the Court that a petition in bankruptcy had been presented against her property in Melbourne that morning. She had tried to sell the hotel.

Brennan on oath denied having said that he was going away to the Western district, excepting to mean that he was inquiring after a hotel. He had increased the takings to £26 because he took an interest in the local football club. He had bought a three years' lease of the hotel in June, 1936, for £310, and the takings were then about £ 16 a week. He denied having encouraged the district trade to his hotel in Ballarat. A verdict was given for the defendant, with costs, to be taxed.[10]

Community Involvement[edit | edit source]

  • In December 1861, the hotel was the venue for an inquiry into the burning of the nearby Linlithgow Hotel.[11]
  • In March 1871, a political meting for Mr. James.[12]
  • In June 1877 a meeting was held at the hotel to demand better passenger and goods services at the Warrenheip Railway Station.[13]

The People[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1859 'WARRENHEIP RACES.', Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1859 - 1926), 26 April, p. 3, viewed 11 September, 2015,
  2. 1908 'FARMERS’ HOTEL, WARRENHEIP.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 8 May, p. 4. , viewed 27 Nov 2022,
  3. 1860 'DISTRICT POLICE COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 28 December, p. 2. , viewed 06 Jun 2024,
  4. 4.0 4.1 1862 'DETERMINED SUICIDE AT WARRENHEIP.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 23 April, p. 1 Supplement: SUPPLEMENT TO THE STAR., viewed 10 September, 2015,
  5. 1865 'Advertising', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 12 July, p. 3. , viewed 02 Jan 2024,
  6. 6.0 6.1 1865 'POLICE.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 21 July, p. 4. , viewed 05 Jun 2019,
  7. 7.0 7.1 1868 'THE MURDER AT WARRENHEIP.', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 10 September, p. 7, viewed 10 September, 2015,
  8. 1883 'BALLARAT EAST LICENSING COURT.', The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1869 - 1883; 1914 - 1918), 5 January, p. 4. , viewed 28 Sep 2019,
  9. 9.0 9.1 >1908 'OUR COUNTRY SERVICE.', Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 - 1918), 12 December, p. 10, viewed 11 September, 2015,
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 1938 'SALE OF HOTEL.', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 9 December, p. 9, viewed 11 September, 2015,
  11. 1861 'INQUIRY INTO THE BURNING OF THE LINLITHGOW HOTEL, AT WARRENHEIP.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 5 December, p. 2, viewed 10 September, 2015,
  12. 1871 'ELECTORAL MEETINGS TO-DAY.', The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1869 - 1885; 1914 - 1918), 10 March, p. 3. , viewed 14 Sep 2022,
  13. 13.0 13.1 1877 'WARRENHEIP RAILWAY STATION.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 22 June, p. 3, viewed 10 September, 2015,
  14. 1859 'DISTRICT POLICE COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 28 May, p. 2. , viewed 18 May 2020,
  15. 1861 'LICENSING SESSIONS.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 6 June, p. 1. (SUPPLEMENT TO THE STAR.), viewed 02 Oct 2020,
  16. 1862 'DISTRICT POLICE COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 4 July, p. 4. , viewed 03 Sep 2020,
  17. 1873 'LICENSING BENCH.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 23 December, p. 2. , viewed 18 Jun 2017,
  18. 1874 'BALLARAT EAST LICENSING BENCH. ANNUAL MEETING.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 15 December, p. 4, viewed 17 December, 2015,
  19. 1887 'BALLARAT LICENSING COURT.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 3 September, p. 2. , viewed 08 Jun 2018,
  20. 1894 'BALLARAT LICENSING COURT.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 15 March, p. 6. , viewed 31 Jul 2017,
  21. 1894 'LICENSING COURT.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 6 September, p. 2. , viewed 07 Aug 2021,
  22. 1915 'BOY FALLS FROM TREE.', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 30 April, p. 8, viewed 11 September, 2015,
  23. 1939 'TRANSFER OF LICENCES', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 21 February, p. 2. , viewed 06 Apr 2019,

External Links[edit | edit source]