William John Gilchrist

From Hotels of Ballarat
William John Gilchrist
Occupation Brewer
Years active 1857-1858
Known for Gilchrist's Brewery
aka Jamieson and Gilchrist
Home town Warrenheip

William John Gilchrist was a brewer in the Ballarat district, <1857-1858.

History[edit | edit source]

Gilchrist owned and operated Gilchrist's Brewery on the western side of Mount Warrenheip. He was in partnership with a Mr. Jamieson, who had also had a brewery at Warrenheip.[1] He was able to use the mountain's spring water for his supply of pure water.

Gilchrist was a passionate believer in the quality and quantity of this water and in 1857 suggested that it should be used to supply water to Ballarat:

WARRENHEIP SRINGS-A SOURCE OF WATER SUPPLY FOR BALLARAT EAST.(To the Editor of the Star.) SIR,-As the subject of water supply for the municipality of Ballarat East is at present engaging the attention of our councillors, permit me, through your columns, tosuggest to them, the springs of Warrenheip, as a source of permanent supply of pure and excellent water ; possessing many advantages which I shall presently detail, I trust they will give this suggestion their serious consideration, particularly before they determine upon any plan of procuring water from that once main source, the Swamp. In every point of comparison, the advantages preponderance so much in favor of Warrenheip, that, nothing but an ignorance of the capabilities of that locality, could have urged them to entertaining for a moment any suggestions of deriving a supply from the Swamp. I observe that at a recent meeting of the councillors for Ballarat West, Dr Stewart remarked, that owing to the uncertain supply of the Swamp, the municipality of Ballarat East should turn their attention to the springs of Warrenheip, and I am glad to have it in my power to give his suggestions a practical support.

A question of water supply involves the consideration of four requisites, viz:

  1. A sufficient and permanent supply
  2. Sufficient purity, particularly the absence of all injurious matters
  3. Possessing sufficient elevation to force water to the top of the highest buildings in the district, by gravitation ; and
  4. A position possessing as few engineering difficulties as possible.

Applying these requisites lo the scheme of introducing water from Warrenheip, I proceed to consider whether the supply of water in that locality is sufficient and permanent. Having made several approximate estimates of the quantity of water that could be collected from the three principal springs on the south side of the Mount, I am taking a low estimate when I state that 50,000 gallons could be procured during 24 hours. The opening of several small springs in the immediate vicinity of those alluded to would increase this quantity considerably. Were the population within the boundaries of the municipality of Ballarat East estimated at 8000 (or one-third of the population of North Grant), the above supply of water would be an average of 6¼ gallons daily, for each individual. The city of London is supplied at the rate of about 9 gallons per head in 24 hours, and that supply is ample for its enormous population, its manufactories, breweries, distilleries, fountains, public works, and fires.
While on this subject of water supply, I might be allowed to suggest that ample reservoirs of water suitable for gold washing purposes, could be constructed in the various gullies in the immediate neighborhood of Ballarat, considering the ample supply of log: timber, and the comparative facilities offered for constructing these artificial reservoirs, in commanding situations. It is strange the miners of Ballarat have not availed themselves of these means for ensuring a sufficient water supply for gold washing during the summer months.
Taking into consideration the permanency of the supply of water from the springs of Warrenheip, I may state, that those alluded to above, have never, in the recollection of the oldest inhabitant in that district, been known ever to fluctuate in their supply. This cannot be said of the swamp, which has been known to dry up altogether during the heat of a prolonged summer.
But a few words will dismiss the next requisite - that of purity. Spring water is generally very pure, having undergone filtration on a gigantic scale, in its course from the surface soil to those vast subterraneous caverns that form the reservoirs of permanent springs; those who have, daring a hot summer day, refreshed themselves at the springs of Warrenheip, will beat me out, when I say that these springs are unrivalled, for the purity and cool refreshing qualities; and that no greater boon could possibly be conferred on the inhabitants of Ballarat East, than to place such water within their reach. Proceeding to the next requisite-that of sufficient elevation, for forcing the water to the highest point within the district-I may mention, that no position could excel that I have indicated. I am indebted to one of the Government surveyors employed on the railway survey, for the following statistics: Level of the swamp below the springs above the level of the sea 1719 feet; Level of Mr. Bath's hotel door, 1421 feet; Giving a gravitating fall of 298 feet in a distance of about four miles.
The advantages of gravitating power over that of steam engines employed for driving force pumps, are too apparent to require any remarks. With the above fall, water could be thrown from a fire hose nozzle attached to pipes, to a height of at least 160 feet above the roof of the Prince Albert Hotel on Bakery Hill.
In consideration of the fourth requisite, I may briefly state that were a course adopted for setting the main pipes adjacent to the line marked for the railway, the engineering difficulties would be but trifling ; the highest point of the ridge across which the railway trenches are cut, are but eight feet higher than the level of the Swamp above referred to, which is about four feet or so lower than the gully, the natural position of which point it out, as admirably suited for an immense reservoir in which the waters of springs might be collected.

I intended adding some further remarks upon the probable expense of laying down pipes for bringing in the water, but find I have already trespassed too far on your space. Offering the importance of the subject as my excuse. I am, &c, WM. JNO. GILCHRIST. Warrenheip, 15th June, 1857.[2]

In 1858 he sold the brewery to a Mr. Roxburgh.[1]

Gilchrist got into financial difficulties and was declared insolvent in March 1858 (note the initials are incorrect):

IN RE G. W. GILCHRIST. A second meeting. Sir George Stephen appeared for the official assignee. The insolvent was examined as to a debt in his schedule, set down at £1200, due to Mr Lough, his father-in-law. He gave evidence as follows : In August 1855, 1 received a loan for £250. On the 9th December I received a like sum. At this time I had some transactions with Dalgety and Ibbotson, who held a security over my premises at Warrenheip. I owed them £1000 in 1856, for payment of which they applied. I applied to my father-in-law for an advance, and offered to sell him the premises over which Dalgety and Co. held security. In May 1856, Mr Lough purchased the property for 1,200l, and gave me a loan of an additional 200l. The money was paid by a bill of 1,000l and one of 400l. The lien which Dalgety and Co. held on the property was released and the remaining 400l is accounted for in my books. I afterwards rented the Brewery at 200l per annum. In the month of December 1856, I found myself in considerable difficulties. I called on my creditors. They agreed to give me a release on payment of 6s in the pound. In order to pay this I borrowed from Mr Lough 612l 6s 8d. He paid likewise 350l to Dalgety Ibbotson for my account for malt. The balance now due to Mr Lough is 1,268l. The insolvent said that he came to this colony five years ago. He had been manager of W. M. Bell and Co.'s business at Geelong, at a salary of 1,000l a year. He had 300l of capital when he commenced the brewery. The meeting then closed, and the third meeting was appointed for the 17 th of May.[3]

In September 1859, assets of the brewery were being offered for sale:

SATURDAY, 10th SEPTEMBER. In the Insolvent Estate of W. J. Gilchrist, Eligible Building Site. MITCHIS0N BROS. will sell by auction on the above named day, on the premises, nearly opposite the Catholic Chapel, Melbourne Road, All that piece or parcel of land being Allotment 5, of Block D, Ballarat, having a frontage of 99 links, by a depth of 250 links, substantially fenced in, end on which is erected the Warrenheip Brewery Depot, which at a small cost can be converted into a snug dwelling, in this rapidly improving locality. Title-Crown Grant. Sale at twelve o'clock sharp. Terms-Easy, at sale.[4]

Gilchrist later became the town clerk of Fitzroy.[1]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1889 'BALLARAT CHRONICLES AND PICTURES.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 28 September, p. 2. (Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924)), viewed 12 Apr 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article209458669
  2. 1857 'Open Column.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 22 June, p. 3. , viewed 14 Apr 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66042786
  3. 1858 'INSOLVENT COURT.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 25 March, p. 6. , viewed 22 Apr 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article154854608
  4. 1859 'Advertising', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 7 September, p. 3. , viewed 22 Apr 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66055138

External links[edit | edit source]