A few weeks ago Alona Tester asked bloggers to join in her Ancestral Places Geneameme. I had only recently published a post on the names and associated places I was researching and didn’t want to just regurgitate that list in a revised format. Instead I set about thinking about variations on the theme. The first idea was strange or unusual place names e.g Achilles Gully, or Devil’s Drop. This was going well but I was too distracted by the place names and deciding which was the most unusual. I guess Devil’s Drop may not be so foreign to the good folk of Tenterden in Kent, if the name is still in use today. My second idea was to go with names of hotels in which family events were played out. Many ancestors owned one, were witnesses at inquests there, drank there, died there or were married there, and many a business transaction was completed in what were after all, early meeting places and community centres. I decided on the latter idea, but it was far from easy. Hotel names are much more predictable, stable and boring than place names – anyone for a Commercial or Railway Hotel? So here is my list, with six letters unrepresented. I hope it will keep me mindful of the small places where events occurred, and in a few years time I might be able to add to the list


  • A – Ashburton Hotel  in Canterbury, New Zealand: Oliver Goldsmith Coleville ARMSTRONG, the husband of Martha CLARK (1843-1921) died there in 1879. in 1875 he had been appointed a draughtsman with the Charting Branch of the Mines Department of New South Wales but what was he doing in New Zealand? I have a few details on Oliver and from those I have mentally allocated him (perhaps prematurely and unjustly) to the No Good Husband (NGH) category.
  • B – Bush Inn, Prahran, Victoria: Martha CLARK (nee DAVIS) married her second husband William McINTOSH in 1858 here. Martha was the mother of the Martha CLARK featured in the Ashburton Hotel, above. McINTOSH turned out to be a scoundrel and another NGH who was after Martha’s small fortune inherited from her first husband’s estate. After McINTOSH physically abused her in the 1860s, Martha filed for divorce and was one of the earliest Victorian women to do so. The Bush Inn still stands, though rebuilt, on the corner of Malvern and Williams Road.
  • C – Clare Hotel, Murphy Street, Wangaratta: Martin LEACY (1857-1915) was the licensee of the Clare Hotel from at least December 1880 to April 1882 when he used the name William Martin LEACY. He is at this stage a tentative relative. His parents were Michael J LEACY, another publican and storekeeper in Sydney and Wangaratta, and Mary Anne DODD. Michael’s mother was Mary CONSIDINE and his father Martin LEACY/LACY. This family came from the same area of Clare as my ancestor Margaret CONSIDINE and their paths crossed regularly in Wangaratta so I hope to one day confirm a genetic connection.
  • D – Dew Drop Inn, Wangaratta: Located about one mile from Wangaratta on the Yarrawonga Road. Probably erected by John HALL and first licensed in January 1866, the next licensee was Amos CRISP, a son of John CRISP and Susan Elizabeth CHAWNER. CRISP senior was a contemporary of my ancestor William Henry CLARK and had many business dealings with him.
  • E – Empire Hotel, Beechworth: Charles Millar LOWE and Bridget DUNDON were married at the Empire Hotel in 1858. They were the parents of John Charles LOWE (1861-1950) who married my relative Margaret Sarah MOORE (1868-1920). John Charles LOWE was held hostage by the Kelly Gang at Glenrowan in 1880. He left a diary written in later life and was the last survivor of the Kelly Siege.

Empire Hotel advertisement, Ovens & Murray Advertiser, 24th April 1858.

  • F –
  • G – Grape Inn, Wangaratta: This was a very short-lived hotel. Dr William Augustus DOBBYN recorded this as the location of the inquest into the death of George CLARK at Wangaratta in June 1854. George was a brother of William Henry CLARK, and another brother, Richard Clark, gave evidence at the inquest so it would be reasonable to assume that his body would have been taken to a family owned hotel and the inquest conducted there. So at first I thought that this was a very poor rendition of the Hope Inn which was owned by William Henry CLARK prior to this time, but there is no question of that. There is however, a question over the Hope Inn and it’s demise and location at precisely this time. As with most other teasers, that’s a story for another time.
  • H –Halfway House, Seven Mile Creek, Wangaratta: George BREW held the license for the Halfway House from at least December 1864 to July 1865 when he married Mary Ann DODD, widow of Michael LEACY of the Clare Hotel, above.
  • I – Imperial Hotel, Wangaratta: A very short-lived hotel, it was licensed to William HOYSTED between December 1874 and September 1875. I haven’t even worked out an exact location for this hotel and would welcome ideas.
  • J –
  • K – Kent Hotel, Rowan Street, Wangaratta: originally licensed to Joseph Thomas DAY in January 1872, it was quickly passed to George d’ABEL and then Michael CUSACK junior. The hotel was delicensed in early 1874 after a license was refused to CUSACK on the grounds that he was “of drunken habits”. Probably not surprising given his father and brother Thomas had been well known publicans.
  • L – Little River Inn, Tongio West, Victoria: Where my the body paternal second cousin twice removed Henry James ATKINS was taken when he made the unwise choice to get on his horse whilst drunk, and promptly fell off, fracturing his skull which lead to his rapid death. Henry was 37 years old and left two children and a pregnant wife, Isabella (nee WINNETT) who lived the next 40 years of her life as a widow.

Little River Inn and Store by Frederick Cornell, circa 1866-1885, courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.

  • M – Merrijig Inn, Port Fairy, Victoria: My 2nd great-grandfather George Stillman COATES was born here in December 1847. His father John Thomas COATES was the licensee at the time and later took up the license of the Commercial Hotel at Port Fairy.

Merrijig Inn by Lillian Isobel Powling (1906-1997), courtesy of the State Library of Victoria

  • N – New Inn Beer house, Lyncombe, Bath, Somerset, England: My 2nd great-grandfather Robert Henry CHICK and his new wife Edith Jane (nee WILCOX) were living here when the 1861 census was taken. Edith was still working as a domestic servant even though she would have been heavily pregnant. See also the Young Fox Inn, below.
  • O –
  • P – Post Office Hotel, Murphy Street, Wangaratta: Francis HEACH was reported to be building a hotel next to the Post Office in May 1872. By September that year he had handed the license to James BELLEW. By September 1874 Edward KETTLE had taken over the license but he quickly passed it to John GRANT, a builder. In February 1875 the Bank of New South Wales was reported to be moving into the former hotel, and in June 1875 John GRANT had been contracted to do alterations to the building for the bank.
  • Q –
  • R – Rosalind Park Hotel, Bendigo, Victoria: Herbert MARTIN ingested a fatal dose of cyanide here in June 1921. Herbert was the son of my maternal 2nd great-grandmother Jane MARTIN who later married James RITCHIE. Herbert was born in 1875 in Marong, Victoria when Jane was 18, and his father is unknown. Herbert was an owner and trainer of racehorses and living in Ashley St, Iron Bark, Bendigo when he died and his death certificate stated that he was never married. This is sad as without any children of Herbert we have no opportunity to identify his father through DNA.
  • S – Southern Cross Hotel, Melbourne, Victoria: Ann Gilroy MARTIN, daughter of my 4th great grandparents James MARTIN & Jean CRAWFORD, married James MACONOCHIE here in June 1860. Ann was born in Lubas on the Isle of Bute and her husband in Rothesay in Bute. It is not clear if they knew each other before emigration or if they met through some Scots society in Victoria.
  • T – Thursday Island Hotel, Queensland: My maternal grandmother’s brother Richard (Dick) James MOORE was the manager of this hotel in 1950. He was back in his home town of Wangaratta by 1954 but had left for Coolum Beach in Queensland by the late 1960s. Dick was a well-known and successful amateur cyclist in the 1930s and 1940s.
  • U – Union Hotel, Nhill, Victoria: Simon Fraser COATES, a saddler by trade, was living here in 1919. A recently returned soldier, Simon soon after deserted his wife Catherine (nee RIDGWELL) and their only child who was born remarkably quickly after the couple’s marriage. I suspect the marriage was forced due to Catherine’s condition and neither of the couple were happy with the price of respectability. Simon died in Adelaide in 1946. I must get his death certificate to see if I have any previously unknown South Australian cousins.
  • V – Vine Hotel, Wangaratta North, Victoria: The Vine Hotel is an institution in Wangaratta even today. First licensed to Henry Silcock PARFITT in April 1865 the hotel was then passed to Charles SANDFORD in December 1885 although PARFITT continued to own it. The licensee in December 1887 was Charles PEARD, after which it had a succession of new licensees and owners.
  • W – White Horse Inn, California Gully, Victoria: Alexander CROW (1827-1922) was a nephew of my ancestor James CROW. Both Alexander, some of his brothers, and their cousin, my 4th great-grandfather, also James CROW (1826-1889) came out to Victoria from Fordoun, Kincardineshire in Scotland. Before settling around the Kyneton and Gisborne areas of Victoria, the young men tried their hands on the goldfields. We can place Alexander in California Gully near Bendigo in February 1856 when he was a juror at an inquest held there.
  • X –
  • Y – Young Fox Inn, Holloway, Bath, Somerset, England: My paternal 2nd great-grandmother Edith Jane WILLCOX was living at the Young Fox Inn where she was working as a domestic servant when she married Robert Henry CHICK in August 1860. See the New Inn Beer House, above.
  • Z –
error: Content is protected !!

Pin It on Pinterest