Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Ten oldest Hotel buildings in the Casey Cardinia area

Whenever  a town was established one of the earliest buildings erected was a Hotel and if you travel down to Melbourne to the inner suburbs - Carlton, Fitzroy, North Melbourne, South Melbourne, Collingwood etc then you would be aware that hotels were seemingly built on every street corner from the 1850s, 1860s onwards. It wasn't quite the same out here of course, but we did have  a number of Hotels built in the 1860s - the Limerick Arms at Nar Nar Goon, the Mornington Hotel and the Cranbourne Hotel at Cranbourne, Bourke's Hotel at Pakenham to name  a few. However, very few of these buildings are still here - there are still hotels on the site in some cases but the original buildings have been demolished. So  here are what I believe are the oldest Hotel buildings in the Casey Cardinia Region - if you think I am wrong, then let me know!

1857 - The Berwick Inn or Border Hotel is not only the oldest hotel but one of the oldest buildings in the region. The Hotel was established in 1857 by Robert Bain. The  original building consisted of the  triangular single storey part which is made of hand-made bricks from local clay. The two storey  sections were added in 1877 and 1887. Robert Bain and his wife, Susan (nee Stewart) whom he married in 1859, operated the Hotel together until he died on February 27, 1887. Susan then operated the Hotel until she passed away June 26, 1908. The Hotel has since had a number of owners but is still going strong. You can read more about the Bain family and the Hotel  here.


The Ranges Hotel,  Gembrook, 1940s or 50s. 
State Library of Victoria Image H32492/267

1902 - Ranges Hotel at Gembrook is the second oldest Hotel in the area and was built in 1902 - shortly after the arrival of the Fern Tree Gully and Gembrook Railway, as the Puffing Billy line is officially known, which opened on December 18, 1900.  The Berwick Shire Rate books list Jessey and Isabella Sykes as having a Hotel at Crown Allotment A11 in Gembrook from 1894. I have reproduced the entry, below.


Shire of Berwick Rate Books, 1894/95

However in The Argus of November 27, 1901 (reproduced above)  there was an application from Jane McMahon to obtain a licence for the premises 'about to be erected'. It seems likely therefore that a hotel was on the site from 1894 and that after the Railway line came through a new and bigger hotel was erected.


The Argus November 27 1901

To prove that McMahon's Hotel was actually The Ranges Hotel, this is a report of the sale of the Hotel and some land from John McMahon to Fred Pitt in 1904. Fred and Howard Pitt operated the Hotel until 1921 when it was taken over by John and Catherine Beacham who transferred the licence to Wolf Dorfman in February 1935. Dorfman transferred the licence to Daphne and Alfred McGregor in 1946. Sadly, the Ranges Hotel was destroyed by fire on September 24, 2018 - it remains to be seen whether it is rebuilt, but I feel it deserves to stay in this blog until we see what happens.

The Argus March 15, 1904


1915 - The Royal Hotel in Koo Wee Rup.  The Hotel was constructed for Dennis McNamara by Mr A. G Oliver  for the contract price of £3,305. The finished building was a ‘fine commodious building of nearly 30 rooms’, according to the Lang Lang Guardian, and ‘one of the finest edifices of the kind in Gippsland’. The rooms were fitted out by Mr McKee of the Royal Arcade ‘in a most up-to-date and luxurious manner’.  It was officially opened on Thursday, September 9, 1915. 

1915 - The Iona Hotel at Garfield  The first hotel in the town was opened in 1904 and was destroyed by fire in 1914. The existing hotel opened in 1915. The South Bourke and Mornington Journal  from May 27 1915 reported that the Shire of Berwick Health Inspector, Dr H. White, had inspected the Iona Hotel and he was pleased with the appointments and sanitation of the place and that no expense had been spared by the proprietors to make it all respects one of the best equipped hotels in the colony.


Iona Hotel at Garfield, shortly after opening.
Berwick Pakenham Historical Society photo


1924 - Railway Hotel in Bunyip -  The Hotel is also called Stacey's Hotel after Thomas Stacey. According to Call of the Bunyip - Thomas Stacey 'purchased the block of land where the Railway Hotel is situated' so I assume he built the original hotel on this site around 1890.  Call of the Bunyip says the Hotel was destroyed by fire in 1924, but an article in The Argus (see below) says that it was demolished in late 1923 - so not sure which is correct.  The existing building was opened in October 9 1924 (or it was possibly Oct 2 - I am not sure which 'Thursday afternoon' the report refers to.)

The Argus October 8 1923



The Age October 10, 1924

1924 - Motor Club Hotel (Kellys) in Cranbourne.  The Hotel began life as the Mornington Hotel around 1860. In about 1912 it was known as the Motor Club Hotel and in 1919 it was taken over by the Kelly family.  You can read more about this here. The existing hotel was built around 1924 - I am basing this on the valuation in the Cranbourne Shire Rate Books - in 1923/24 and 1924/25 the Net Annual Value was 240 pounds, in 1925/26 -it had leaped to 420 pounds and the next two years it was 400 pounds, so I believe the increase in rates was due to the erection of the new building. As the Local Government year used to run from October 1 to September 30 then the new building would have been erected between October 1924 and September 1925 to appear at the higher valuation in the 1925/26 year.

1927 - Gippsland Hotel (Top Pub) at Bunyip. There was a Gippsland Hotel in Bunyip from the mid 1880s owned by Laurence Finch, his daughter Sarah took over the licence around 1897. Sarah  married William Kraft who took over as the licensee and it was known as Kraft's Gippsland Hotel. On April 11, 1927  the Licensing Court approved the plans for the rebuilding of the Gippsland Hotel at Bunyip (see below)  It's interesting that it says that the Hotel was destroyed by fire, I haven't seen that anywhere else.

The Age April 13, 1927


1928 - Central Hotel at Beaconsfield  Janet and David Bowman opened a hotel on this site in 1855, it was called the Gippsland Hotel and later the Central Hotel. You can read more about the Bowman family and the hotel, here.  The existing  building dates from 1928. There was a Licencing Board hearing regarding the rebuilding of the hotel in September 1927 (see article below) and the new building work had to commence by February 1928, so I assume it was finished that year. The Cardinia Shire Heritage Study by Graeme Butler and Associates (1996) says that 'part of the earlier building may survive within the perimeter if this later structure.'


Report of the Berwick Shire Council meeting in the Dandenong Journal September 22, 1927

1929 - Pakenham Hotel at Pakenham   The Hotel near the Railway Station at Pakenham was  built for Daniel Bourke sometime between 1877, the year the railway arrived, and 1880 - I have seen various dates listed in various books. The Hotel was originally called the Gembrook Hotel and later the Pakenham Hotel.  The existing Hotel was built for Esther and Joseph Shankley and opened in April 1929. The Dandenong Journal described the Hotel as an 'ornament to the Main Street.' I don't have the exact date for the opening however the Pakenham Gazette had these advertisements in April 1929 - so I am assuming the opening date was between April 19 and April 26, 1929.

Pakenham Gazette April 19, 1929

Pakenham Gazette April 26, 1929


1931 - Hallam Hotel at Hallam  The Hallam Hotel started operation in 1872 or around 1879 (depending on sources) in William and Mary Hallam's General Store. A new building may have been built by Edmund Uren in 1886. The existing building opened in 1931 - and 'a portion of the old building was either modernised and extended'  or it was rebuilt completely - there are conflicting reports. Either way, it has changed so much that I am rating it as a 1931 building, so it is the tenth oldest Hotel building in Casey Cardinia. You  can read more about the Hallam Hotel, here

1934 - Palace Hotel at Lang Lang I said this was the top ten, but I will include the Palace Hotel, as it is a 1930s building. In 1893 the Flintoff family, who had previously operated the Tobin Yallock Hotel,  built the Lang Lang Coffee Palace near the station.   The building later acquired a liquor licence and was renamed the Palace Hotel. The original building burnt down in May 1933 and the new Palace Hotel was built on another site (where it is now) and opened in June 1934.

Special mentions
  • Pine Grove Hotel in Beaconsfield was built around 1880 and was destroyed in the Ash Wednesday fires in  1983. 
  • The Nar Nar Goon Hotel was built in 1883 and was destroyed by an explosion on May 21, 1972. 
  • Bourkes Hotel, also called the La Trobe Inn, on the  Toomuc Creek in Pakenham was opened in 1849 by Michael and Catherine Bourke - there is still a hotel on the site but I believe that there is very little of the original building left (if any). 
  • The Cardinia Park Hotel in Beaconsfield, started life as the Bush Inn, around the 1870s but has been 're-built', sometime before 1962 according to From Bullock Tracks to Bitumen 
  • Cranbourne Hotel on the site of where the Cranbourne Park Shopping Centre is now located was built in the 1860s and demolished in the 1970s. 
  • Richard Taylor's Half Way House Hotel at Lyndhurst was opened in 1871 and demolished in 1966.
  • Paradise Hotel Clematis - started by Michael O'Connor at Paradise Valley, later called Clematis - it was listed as a 'wine hall and accomodation house' in a newspaper report November 24, 1900. I am unfamiliar with this building and not sure how much of the original building remains.
  • Tooradin Hotel -  There was a hotel at Tooradin from around 1870. In 1888 Larry Basan took over the licence  and rebuilt the hotel in 1895.  The hotel was demolished in 2016 after being unused for many years.
  • Tuesday, 9 January 2018

    Cranbourne Library site - from squatter run to industrial plant to recreation complex

    The Narre Warren & District Family History Group, the Local History Archive and the Local History Librarian (that's me!) are now located at the Cranbourne Library Complex, we used to be at Narre Warren, so I thought we would take a look at the history of the Cranbourne Library site, starting from the arrival of the Squatters.

    The first Europeans in the region to occupy this site were the Ruffy Brothers.  They squatted on the Tomaque run, after having arrived from Tasmania in 1836 or 1837. Tomaque was situated between Dandenong and Cranbourne. The brothers had Tomaque until 1850, however in the 1840s they also took up the Mayune Run of 32,000 acres. Mayune was situated around what is now the town of Cranbourne. The Brothers held Mayune collectively, until Frederick took over the lease from 1845 to 1850.  You can read more about the Ruffy Brothers in a previous post.

    Back to Mayune - in 1845  Mayune was reduced in size with the eastern part being renamed Ravenhurst and taken up by John Crewe.  Crewe also later acquired Mayune from Frederick Ruffy in 1850 just before he (Crewe) died in 1850 at the age of 31.  Crewe’s widow Eliza then took over the lease of the property which was then acquired by Alexander Cameron in 1851. Who were the Crewes?  We can get an idea of the social status of the family by John and Eliza's marriage notice and Eliza's death notice (see below). According to these notices John was the second son of Lieutenant-Colonel Crewe of Madras and also the nephew of Lord Crewe of Crewe Hall, Cheshire. Crewe Hall (pictured below)  is a Grade 1 listed mansion built in the first half of the 1600s for Sir Randolph Crewe. The location has been the seat of the Crewe family since the 12th or 13th century. It is now a hotel. So clearly John Crewe came from illustrious forebears.



    Crewe Hall in 1710, the family seat of John Crewe. The Crewe's house on the Mayune property would have none of the comfort or glamour of this building. 
    Artist Unknown - Hinchliffe E. 'Barthomley: In Letters from a Former Rector to his Eldest Son' (Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans; 1856), facing p. 324



    John and Eliza Crewe's marriage notice in the Port Phillip Patriot March 30 1847.


    Eliza Crewe's death notice in The Australasian March 21, 1868

    Eliza Crewe died in 1868 at the age of 44. She was the daughter of Thomas Baynton and Eliza Arabella Smith. Thomas Baynton was the brother of Zillah Baynton who was married to Benjamin Rossiter, who took over the Ravenhurst property from Crewe after his death. You wonder was this to help out their niece, Eliza Crewe, or they just knew the area and wanted to settle here.  Benjamin and Zillah’s son, Charles Rossiter who was married to Ellen O’Shea (from the family who gave O’Shea’s Road its name) moved to Yallock around 1875 and is the source of the name Rossiter Road in Koo Wee Rup. A bit more on Thomas Baynton - he had the Darlington Run near Kyneton in 1841. Baynton the town near Kyneton is named after him. Totally irrelevant to this story but an interesting fact is that the Bourke and Wills Exhibition passed by the Baynton property on its way north - Ludwig Becker sketched the occasion (see below). Ravenhurst was  later named Tulliallan and you can read more about the Rossiters  here on my post on the Tulliallan.


    Crossing an ancient crater from near Dr. Baynton's 25 August 1860 by Ludwig Becker.
    State Library of Victoria Image H16486


    Alexander Cameron (1815 - 1881) took over the Mayune lease from  Eliza Crewe in 1851 as we said. At later land sales he purchased 592 acres, the Pre-emptive Right, on the corner of what is now Cameron Street and the South Gippsland Highway and renamed renamed the property MayfieldNiel Gunson, in his book The Good Country: Cranbourne Shire (from where most of the following information on Alexander Cameron - both senior and junior - comes from) considers that Cameron is the father of modern Cranbourne like most Scots settlers he valued the services of an industrious tenantry and gathered a community about him which formed the nucleus of the future town.  One of his ‘industrious tenants’ a shepherd named James Mackay is said to be responsible for the name of Clyde.  Gunson says that the watercourse that was the boundary between the Mayune run and the Garem Gam  run was named Clyde creek as MacKay had ‘cut the name on a tree whilst watering sheep’ and the name was used for the creek and then the town.

    Cameron was a trustee of the Presbyterian Church in Cranbourne which opened in May 1860, he was Cranbourne Cemetery Trustee, a member of the Cranbourne Road Board from 1863 to 1867. Alexander had been one of the original petitioners to have the Road Board established which happened on June 19 1860.  He was married to Margaret (nee Donaldson, 1822-1895) and they had seven children.

    Cameron was also one of the first people to bring to a wider public the discovery of the Cranbourne meteorites. The first meteorite was discovered by William MacKay, who assumed that it as part of an iron deposit. He had made it into a horse shoe and it was displayed  at the Melbourne Exhibition of 1854.  In 1860 Cameron took the horse shoe to Melbourne to a conference to convince the powers that be that Cranbourne should have  a railway line due to the commercial possibilities of this iron deposit.  At the conference the Town Clerk of Melbourne, E.G Fitzgibbon,  thought that this was not iron but a meteorite and he then presented his findings to the Royal Society and this put the Cranbourne Meteorites on the world stage with interest from the British Museum and the Emperor of Austria!  As a matter of interest, Cranbourne would have to wait until 1888 -  another 28 years for a railway - you can read about the line here.

    After Alexander Cameron (who incidentally gave his name to Cameron Street) the land went to his son Alexander junior (1850 - 1920). Alexander was also a member of the Cranbourne Shire from  1881 to 1898 and Shire President 1883-84, 1891, 1892 and 1893. Gunson says that Cameron along with George Poole and Christopher Moody were strong personalities who dominated the Council.  In 1884 it was reported that six out the eight Councillors refused to sit 'under the Presidence of the present Chairman due to his obstructiveness and prevention of business'

    Cameron moved to Mayfield in 1883 - he was described as an ‘extraordinary speculator’ and he rented at one time  nearly every rentable property in the Cranbourne, Tooradin and Koo Wee Rup area, all up he had 5,000 acres in 1896 plus land belonging to his brother. On the Mayfield property he had nine studs of horses, cattle and sheep and also grew barley, oats and flax. Not surprisingly Cameron was also instrumental in establishing the Cranbourne Sale Yards – although arguments went on from 1883 to 1889 as to where they should be located - the rear of the Shire Offices was the eventual location and they held their first sale January 1890. In spite of what seem liked a profitable business in  1889 Cameron was forced to mortgage the estate and went to the Collie district in WA, where he died in 1920.


    We don't have a photograph of Alexander Cameron, but here's one of his Champion Ayrshire bulls. that won a prize at the 1891 Royal Melbourne Show.
    Illustrated Australian News September 1, 1891


    After that the land where we are now was leased to various people  - Charles Cochrane, James Downey, Edward Henty, John Monohan to name a few until  around 1932 when the estate was sold to a Henry Creswick, who I believe was responsible for sub-dividing the land into smaller parcels as by this time it was getting hard to trace the land owners in the Cranbourne Shire Rate Books. There is some connection between the name Creswick and the Melbourne Hunt Club, which is just to the north of the Library site - haven't quite worked this connection out yet - but the Hunt Club moved to Cranbourne in 1929.   Some of the Mayfield property (the Pre-emptive Right section) had already been sold to George Hope (around 1911) who established his model dairy  having moved from Kooyong Road in Caulfield. You can read about this here.

    So now we have a bit of a gap in ownership of the land so lets fast forward to 1980 when the Sperry New Holland era started. Sperry New Holland had commenced operations in Victoria at Dandenong in 1955. They manufactured agricultural equipment including hay balers and hay bale elevators.  In 1980, they purchased a 46 hectare site (around ten times the size of their Dandenong operations) in Cranbourne-Berwick Road, Cranbourne. They built a 2 hectare factory and it opened around 1982. Initially there were over 400 people employed  but a recession hit within 18 months and there were redundancies and layoffs. In 1985 the Company was taken over by the Ford Motor Company, but continued producing machinery and also made parts for car manufacturers. There is an interesting article called New Holland in Australia 1945 - 1987 written by Ray Smith, who held various roles in the New Holland Company from 1955 until he retired as the Marketing Director in 1991. You can read it here.

    The factory had its own spur line from the main South Gippsland Railway line. The spur line went into what is now the The Shed, a skate board facility,  so  I presume it was used a for despatch. If you are interested in railway infrastructure then there are some photographs of the old line on the Vicsig.net website, here.

    The Ford  New Holland factory closed down around 1992  as  operations were shifted to New South Wales and sadly,  workers were made redundant. The entire site was sold to the Cranbourne Shire for five million dollars. The Casey Cardinia Library Corporation moved into the Administration building in 1996 and the main factory building is now the Terry Vickerman Indoor Sports Centre.

    Terry Vickerman was the Cranbourne Shire Chief Executive for 22 years until he retired in December 1994, after the Council amalgamations. He was responsible for the purchase of the building, which was not without its critics. There was a report in the Cranbourne Sun of March 16, 1992  about the acquisition (see left). The Shire of Cranbourne Ratepayers and Residents Association threatened to stand candidates against the sitting councillors who had voted for the purchase - the gist of the complaints against the purchase were that the Council had not provided enough information on the transaction and that residents outside of the Cranbourne township would have to pay for the site but would obtain no benefit from it. You can read more about the purchase of the site and see some photos here.

    Either way, 25 years on, whether the five million dollars purchase price was a fair price or not the site and its associated buildings are now a real asset to not only the Cranbourne community but further afield. 

    Tuesday, 2 January 2018

    Plummer's International Harvester Agency in Pakenham

    I came across these photos of Plummer's International Harvester Agency in Pakenham, on the Museums Victoria website. The photos are part of the International Harvester Company collection of material relating to the operations of the Company and its subsidiaries.  They were taken on April 24, 1947. If you are searching for the photos then you will need to spell Pakenham, incorrectly as Packenham, as that is the way they were catalogued.
    The building was located in Station Street, corner of Henry Street and was later used by Pakenhma Produce.


    I am not sure when dealership started - the first advertisement I could find in the Pakenham Gazette was this one, December 24, 1943.  C.W. Plummer was Charles William Plummer, his wife was Queenie and their son, Bruce, later took over the business. They were located in Main Street until the Station Street Premises was built in 1946.

    Dandenong Journal  July 24, 1946

    The original building (which you can see in the photos, below) cost 2, 500 pounds to erect in 1946 and the showroom was added in 1949 at  a cost of 3,850 pounds (see article below)

    Dandenong Journal March 2 1949



    Plummer's International Harvester dealership, Station Street, Pakenham.
    April 24, 1947.
    Museums Victoria


    Plummer's International Harvester dealership, Station Street, Pakenham.
    April 24, 1947.
    Museums Victoria 


    Plummer's International Harvester dealership, Station Street, Pakenham.
    April 24, 1947.
    Museum Victoria


    Plummer's International Harvester dealership, Station Street, Pakenham.
    April 24, 1947. This would be looking towards the Railway Station, with the goods shed on the far left. 
    Museums Victoria


    Plummer's International Harvester dealership, Station Street, Pakenham.
    April 24, 1947. Parts Department.
    Museums Victoria


    Plummer's International Harvester dealership, Station Street, Pakenham.
    April 24, 1947. This is the workshop.
    Museums Victoria