Western Ocean Hotel

From Hotels of Ballarat
Western Ocean Hotel
Picture needed
Town Ballarat
Street Skipton Street
Closed 7 February 1915
Known dates 1873-1915
Demolished Destroyed by fire,
7 February 1915

The Western Ocean Hotel was a hotel in Ballarat, Victoria, <1873-1915.

Site[edit | edit source]

The Western Ocean Hotel was in Skipton Street[1], on the southwest corner with Raglan, and Sebastopol Streets.[2][3]

Map[edit | edit source]

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Background[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

The hotel's door mat was stolen in August 1884:

Larcenies of door-mats occur regularly during certain seasons of the year. The police have been requested to find the whereabouts of a door-mat, stolen a night or two ago from the Western' Ocean hotel, Redan.[4]

In December 1885, a Ballarat citizen wrote a letter to the newspaper about the local larrikins, and in particular, those who frequented the hotel:

"...there is a mob of larrikin young men all day of a Sunday, and up till 10 o’clock on Sunday nights, congregated by the side of the Western Ocean hotel, who have some low, filthy remark to make as respectable females pass by..."[5]

In March 1896, the Bendigo Miners' Brass Band were guests at the hotel:

A LETTER OF THANKS. TO THE EDITOR. 18th March. SIR, —The members of the Bendigo Miners’ Brass Band, through the medium of your valuable paper, would like to thank Mr and Mrs Harvey, of the Western Ocean hotel, Skipton street, for the courteous manner in which they were treated on their resent visit to your City, also to acknowledge the kindly consideration shown to us by one and all on the occasion of the Fire Brigade demonstration. Yours, &c., F. E. YOUNG, Secretary Bendigo Miners’ Brass Band. [6]

In December 1896 the Model Band provided musical entertainment at the hotel:

The Model Band, under Bandmaster Scarf, will play the following programme at the Western Ocean hotel, Skipton street, this evening, at 8 o’clock:—March, “Dashing dragon-,” waltz, “Love in a mist;” overture, “Scotland;” schottische, “Flirtation;" selection, “Pride of Ireland;” march, “The good Rhine wine;” quadrille, “Portsea;” waltz, “Morning breezes;” national airs; polka, “ Chevalier;” " God save the Queen."[7]

In December 1905, John Sinnott died at the hotel (research needed to see if he was an owner of resident):

SINNOTT.—On the 8th December, 1905, at his late residence, Western Ocean Hotel, Skipton-street, Ballarat, John Sinnott, formerly of Camperdown and Terang, ex-senior-constable of police, born Co. Wexford, Ireland, aged 78 years. R.I.P.[8]

From March 1914:

BOXING A. Cooper, of the Western Ocean Hotel, Skipton-street, Ballarat, has announced his willingness to box any Bendigo lad at 8st. 4lb. He will give or take 2lb.[9]

The hotel was included on a list of possible hotel closures by the Ballarat West Licensing Court in March 1892.[2]

In January 1915, a watch and a revolver were stolen from the hotel:

James Leslie McKay was charged with, at Ballarat, on 7th January, stealing from the dwelling house of Ethel May Steele a revolver, the property of Francis L. Steele, and a watch, the property of Ethel May Steele. Mr J. B. Pearson appeared for the defence. Ethel May Steele, licensee of the Western Ocean hotel, Skipton street, said that at 7.30 p.m. on 7th January she left the hotel in charge of Richard Robertson. Next morning she missed a lady's silver watch. Richard Robertson, employed by Mrs Steele, said accused came into the hotel about 8.30 p.m. on the 7th January, and asked for Duggan. Witness told him where Duggan was, and he went out, returning shortly afterwards with him. Mrs Butler was also in the bar. They had drinks, and McKay paid. McKay then asked for more drinks, saying he would pay on the following day, but witness refused. McKay used bad language, and then left with Duggan and Mrs Butler. Shortly afterwards witness heard his bedroom door opened, and saw McKay coming out of the room. There was an electric light in the passage. McKay, when he saw him, went back into the room and slammed the door. Witness went in and found nobody there, but the window was open. At 2 o'clock the window was shut, and the bed was made. Now he saw the bed was turned down at the top and the two top drawers of a chest of drawers were open. A revolver and a watch were missing. The latch of the window was knocked up. It was all right the night before. Patrick Joseph Duggan said he left the hotel with the accused and Mrs Butler about 10.30 p.m. They stood about 30 yards away for a few minutes, and then McKay gave him a parcel to hold, and left them. McKay was pretty well drunk. He rejoined them about five minutes later, and remained with witness for about an hour. When witness told the police McKay was away 15 or 30 minutes he was under the influence of drink. P.C. Const Craig stated that on the 8th January he and Const O'Brien took accused to the hotel, where Robertson identified him as the man who was in his room. Accused denied it. The catch of Robertson's window was standing up, and there were marks on the wood. On 11th January witness found the horseshoe produced. It fitted into the marks on the window, and marks he made with it were similar to them. Const O'Brien corroborated Craig's evidence as to the 8th. No evidence was called for the accused, but Mr Pearson urged upon the jury that the evidence called by the Crown favored McKay's innocence. Robertson had probably made an honest mistake. The jury found the accused not guilty, and he was discharged.[10]

The hotel was destroyed by a fire on 7 February 1915:

FIRES. OLD HOTEL BURNED. BALLARAT, Sunday The Western Ocean Hotel, Skipton Street, Ballarat South, owned by the Ballarat Brewing Company, and occupied by Mrs. Mary Steele, was, with its contents, totally destroyed by fire this afternoon. The flames had a strong hold of the building, a large old-fashioned, weatherboard one, before the brigade arrived. In consequence of scarcity of water the pressure was very poor. The building was insured for £500, and the furniture and stock for £200, in the London and Lancashire Company.[11]

The Western Ocean Hotel, Skipton street was destroyed in fire soon after midday on Sunday, and, owing largely to a poor pressure of water, the premises and nearly all the furniture and stock, were destroyed. The licensee (Mrs Ethel M. Steele) was cooking dinner in the kitchen, and during her temporary absence the kitchen caught fire. The flames spread with remarkable rapidity.[12]

The Western Ocean Hotel was one of the local landmarks in the Redan district. More than fifty years ago it was the rendezvous of the early miners, who held meetings there periodically to discuss grievances in regard to mining frontage disputes.[13]

On 22 March 1915, the hotel was included on a list of hotels to be deprived of their licenses. This list was complied by the Licenses Reduction Board in Melbourne. The Ballarat West licensing district hearings on this list were to be held on 27 April.[1] At the start of the hearings on 27 April 1915, it was announced that the license had already been surrendered.[14]

Compensation was offered in May 1915:

Compensation for Hotels. — Official notice is given on behalf of the Licenses Reduction Board that the licenses for the Exchange Hotel, Bridge street, Ballarat East, and the Western Ocean Hotel, Skipton street, Ballarat West, having been surrendered, the amount of compensation payable to the owners has been set down, at £780 for the former premises, and £200 for the latter.[15]

The publican Ethel Mary Steele was paid £70 compensation.[16]

Community Involvement[edit | edit source]

Inquests[edit | edit source]

  • December 1869, into the death of Eliza Fogarty, of Mount Pleasant. Death from head injuries caused by frequent falls while intoxicated.[17]
  • June 1881, into the death of James Fuller, who was found drowned in the Yarrowee River, near Hill Street. Presumed suicide.[18]

The People[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1915 'LICENSES REDUCTION BOARD.', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 23 March, p. 10, viewed 13 February, 2014, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1504941
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 1892 'BALLARAT WEST LICENSING COURT.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 10 March, p. 4. , viewed 08 Jul 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article204323157
  3. 3.0 3.1 Sands & McDougall's Melbourne, suburban and country directory : 1905, pg 682, http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/404425
  4. 1884 'NEWS AND NOTES.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 16 August, p. 2. , viewed 05 Jun 2021, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article201117327
  5. 1885 'LARRIKINISM.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 16 December, p. 4. , viewed 25 Feb 2021, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article206305065
  6. 1896 'A LETTER OF THANKS.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 20 March, p. 4. , viewed 25 Feb 2021, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article207482872
  7. 1896 'No title', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 17 December, p. 2. , viewed 26 Feb 2021, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article207497438
  8. 1905 'Family Notices', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 12 December, p. 1. , viewed 25 Feb 2021, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10009629
  9. 1914 'BOXING.', Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 - 1918), 27 March, p. 8. , viewed 25 Feb 2021, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article89871089
  10. 1915 'NOT GUILTY.', The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1869 - 1884; 1914 - 1918), 3 February, p. 6. (DAILY.), viewed 25 Feb 2021, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73948370
  11. 11.0 11.1 1915 'FIRES.', The Bendigo Independent (Vic. : 1891 - 1918), 8 February, p. 6. , viewed 25 Feb 2021, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article219873654
  12. 1915 'FIRES IN THE COUNTRY.', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 8 February, p. 11. , viewed 25 Feb 2021, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1494933
  13. 1915 'A BALLARAT HOTEL BURNT.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 8 February, p. 7. , viewed 25 Feb 2021, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article154933155
  14. 1915 'LICENSE REDUCTION', The Evening Echo (Ballarat, Vic. : 1914 - 1918), 27 April, p. 4. (FOURTH EDITION), viewed 09 Feb 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article241671170
  15. 1915 'COMPENSATION FOR HOTELS.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 21 May, p. 4. , viewed 25 Feb 2021, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article161069368
  16. 1915 'COUNTRY NEWS.', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 20 May, p. 12. , viewed 25 Feb 2021, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1518224
  17. 1869 'NEWS AND NOTES', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 28 December, p. 2. , viewed 26 Feb 2021, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article112857254
  18. 1881 'SUPPOSED CASE OF SUICIDE.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 16 June, p. 2. , viewed 25 Feb 2021, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article219330392
  19. 1873 'LICENSING BENCH.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 24 December, p. 4. , viewed 29 May 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article201608890
  20. 1875 'POLICE.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 22 December, p. 4. , viewed 21 Aug 2022, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article200186441
  21. 1879 'BALLARAT LICENSED VICTUALLERS’ ASSOCIATION.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 22 October, p. 2. , viewed 27 Jun 2023, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article200131496
  22. 1890 'Family Notices', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 18 January, p. 2. , viewed 25 Feb 2021, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article209578515
  23. 1895 'No title', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 26 September, p. 3. , viewed 31 Jul 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article203168526

External Links[edit | edit source]