Wombat Hotel

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Wombat Hotel
Picture needed
Town Daylesford
Known dates 1856=1858

The Wombat Hotel was a hotel in Daylesford, Victoria, <1856-1858>.

Site[edit | edit source]

The hotel was in Daylesford.[1]

Background[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

In October 1856 the hotel was the polling place for the first elections to the new Victorian Legislative Assembly:

The polling was advertised to take place in the Assembly Room attached to the Wombat Hotel. At an early hour of the day, knots of electors were seen pouring into Wombat, from Daylesford, Spring Creek," Deep Creek, Dry Diggings, Sailors' Gully, and from all the other creeks and gullies situate within the electoral limits of the polling place at Wombat. At the appointed time the returning officer, in the usual form, opened the proceedings. For upwards of an hour but few persons were present, and these consisted in the main of those who had actively canvassed in favor of the several candidates. As time progressed numbers were added, — hopes were heightened, interest increased, and exertions were redoubled. About noon excitement ran high in influential circles, political circles, betting circles, and in every other circle which could possibly bear the name, bets were freely offered in favor of Stephen and Longden, which were as freely taken up by the friends of Mr. Aspinall, they having a firm conviction that the men of Talbot would never degenerate into the degradation of neglecting that gentleman's talents and services. The outside of the hotel was covered closely with all sorts of squibs, giving to some the highest offices of trust, to others the most degrading appointments, cooks, doctors, lawyers, commissioners, and a chief secretary thrown into the bargain, were all jumbled together in one chaotic mass. All was borne in good part, no ill feeling what ever was exhibited — mirth and jollity everywhere abounded — votes, nobblers, and bets were in great demand. The influence of Bacchus was however much restricted, and was kept within limits which ought to satisfy that or any other moderate deity. At one time complaints were heard to the effect, that Mr. Longden was using unfair means against Mr. Aspinall. This induced the active supporters of the latter gentleman to use almost superhuman efforts to counteract such a design. The committee, at whose head was Mr. M'Causland, had made the most admirable arrangements, and had laid down a line of tactics of the highest order, such indeed as it would have been difficult to overcome. Towards the close of the day's business, immense odds were offered that Mr. Longden would be at the head of the poll, which in many instances were accepted. At four o'clock every part of the Wombat Hotel was crowded to excess. An intimation was at this time given that the returning officer was about making an official declaration. A simultaneous movement at once took place, — nobblers were cast aside, the hotel was deserted, the polling place surrounded, and anxiety strongly depicted on the countenances of many who had staked not only their political hopes, but their hard cash on the result of their exertions. Silence obtained the return was declared as follows ; —

  • Mr. Aspinall . . . ... 76
  • Mr. Longden . . . . 66
  • Mr. Stephen . , . . . . 32

A loud cheer instantly broke from all quarters in favor of Mr. Aspinall which lasted for a considerable time, while disappointment was expressed by those who had kindly but not wisely supported Mr. Stephen. After a vote of thanks had been given to Mr. Stanbridge, the returning officer, for the kind and courteous manner in which he had performed his duty, the great assemblage dispersed in various directions, while not a few, who were politically opposed to each other, sat down to an excellent repast provided by Mr. King, the proprietor of the hotel. All differences were forgotten ; the cheering glass briskly circulated, and harmony and good feeling universally prevailed. Soon after, the shades of evening had closed upon the scene, quiet, unruffled quiet, reigned around, and but few persons reached their homes without the impression that the electors of Mount Franklin had done their duty, and that in Mr. Aspinall's election the right man had been put in the right place. A body of police were in attendance under the superintendence of Inspector Brannigan, and it was remarked several times during the day that the unobtrusive and kindly manner in which the duties were performed entitled them to the warmest approbation of the public.[2]

In December 1856 the hotel was the venue for celebrations following the annual race meeting:

The race dinner-took place on the evening of the 31st at the Wombat Hotel, — W. E. Stanbridge, Esq., in the chair. The spread was excellent, and the party select, and after the usual toasts, the prizes were paid to the respective winners, who, being principally strangers to tho neighborhood, seemed to think Jim Crow races were not the worst in the colony. On the following evening the race ball took place at the Wombat Hotel, and came off with great eclat, as as the entertainment was graced by the presence of F. C. Doveton, Esq., the warden, and his lady, as also by the stewards and elite of the district of Hepburn, and the greatest hilarity prevailed throughout the evening.[3]

In March 1857 the hotel was the venue for a meeting to discuss the formation of the first company to mine for gold at Daylesford:

Several public meetings have recently been held at the Wombat Hotel, for the purpose of establishing a company to be known as the Jim Crow Mining Association, and with a view of obtaining proper authority for so doing, a deputation was appointed to wait upon the Local Court at Hepburn for that purpose. In consequence of this step the members, after fully considering the matter, passed a resolution ; in pursuance of which a public meeting of miners and others was held at the Wombat Hotel, on Thursday evening, March 12th. Mr. Tremble, an experienced miner, was unanimously voted to the chair.[1]

In March 1857 Miss Julia Harland, and Messrs. Sherwin, Norman, and Hoskins, who had been performing at Brabant's Hotel, were also performing at the Wombat:

The same talented professionals appear on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at Mr King's, Wombat Hotel, when splendid gatherings are anticipated.[1]

In October 1857 there was a new entertainment at the hotel:

On the same evening Mrs. Brougham will place on the boards of the Wombat Hotel, a pleasing entertainment, for the benefit of Mr. Clements the comic singer from Bendigo. This gentleman has written a new farce for the occasion, entitled "Life on Jim Crow." We heartily wish him success.[4]

In March 1858 a change of publican saw more entertainment:

Mr. Wm. King is again in his old quarters, the Wombat Hotel, and has engaged Mr. Woodin to whose melodious strains may be seen, every Saturday eve, a numerous and highly respectable assemblage of lads and lasses, tripping gaily on the light fantastic toe. On Monday evening, Mr. Woodin makes his first appeal to his friends of Daylesford. This gentleman's attractions ought to be sufficient to guarantee him a bumper, but we cannot refrain from reminding our readers of the many little acts of kindness he has shown to our various institutions, by lending himself and his charming little instrument for their benefit and amusement. His services at the church have been a valuable addition to the musical parts of its worship, and we trust to see him well supported on this occasion.[5]

In July 1858 the state governor, Sir Henry Barkly, had dinner at the hotel:

Previous to his departure, a number of gentlemen entertained him at dinner at the Wombat Hotel. Dr. Dennistoun took the chair, and expressed the warmest regards in behalf of a departing friend. Other gentlemen followed in the same strain, and hoped the future efforts of their guest would meet with an ample and just reward.[6]

On 31 December 1858 the hotel was hosting a New Year's Ball:

The ball at the Wombat Hotel, which comes off on New Year's Eve, is exciting the interest of the votaries of the dance. The affair will be a brilliant one, and will, doubtless, be numerously attended.[7]

Community Involvement[edit | edit source]

Inquests[edit | edit source]

  • July 1857, on George Perry, a miner, suffocated by a fall of earth.[8]

The People[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1857 'DAYLESFORD.', Mount Alexander Mail (Vic. : 1854 - 1917), 20 March, p. 4. , viewed 27 Feb 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article197089025
  2. 1856 'DAYLESFORD.', Mount Alexander Mail (Vic. : 1854 - 1917), 24 October, p. 3. , viewed 17 Apr 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article202633409
  3. 1857 'DAYLESFORD.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 9 January, p. 3. , viewed 17 Apr 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article154821881
  4. 1857 'DAYLESFORD.', Mount Alexander Mail (Vic. : 1854 - 1917), 23 October, p. 4. , viewed 17 Apr 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article197084208
  5. 5.0 5.1 1858 'DAYLESFORD.', Mount Alexander Mail (Vic. : 1854 - 1917), 5 March, p. 4. , viewed 17 Apr 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article197085698
  6. 1858 'DAYLESFORD.', Mount Alexander Mail (Vic. : 1854 - 1917), 5 July, p. 2. , viewed 17 Apr 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article197086553
  7. 1858 'DAYLESFORD.', Mount Alexander Mail (Vic. : 1854 - 1917), 31 December, p. 4. , viewed 17 Apr 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article199051199
  8. 1857 'LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY.', Mount Alexander Mail (Vic. : 1854 - 1917), 10 July, p. 5. , viewed 13 Jul 2023, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article197084605

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