Roscrea Hotel (1857 - 1872)

The first mention of the Roscrea Hotel is in The Argus on 3 December 1857 when Denis Bowes applied for a license for a new hotel.    There were three objections to the hotel; the building was incomplete, the area was already served by four hotels and it was in close proximity to a church.  Mr.MacDermott led the opposition which included a number of “influential inhabitants.”

 Mr. Miller who supported the hotel stated the hotel was complete and only the stables were unfinished.   He denied that there were four hotels in Northcote, saying there was only one and that was two miles away (presumably he meant the Peacock Hotel).    He was a little disingenuous here as immediately across the Merri Creek less than a stone’s throw away was the Scotch Thistle and Northcote Arms Hotel, technically in what was considered Collingwood (now Clifton Hill).   As to the church, Mr. Miller argued that as Denis Bowes was a subscriber to the All Saints Church they could hardly object to him and his hotel!

 The license was refused.

 The license must have been granted shortly afterwards as Bowes was advertising for a boy to assist him at the hotel.

 In May 1859 the hotel was in the newspapers when an assault case ended in court.   Robert Quail was sitting in the kitchen of the hotel one Sunday morning in April when Richard Ryan stopped at the hotel.   Ryan overhead Quail making comments he took offense to and went over and hit the seated man several times.   Quail returned the blow, knife in hand.  Ryan left the hotel and did not realize until the following morning that he had been stabbed.   He was drunk at the time of the incident.   Ryan returned to the hotel and informed the landlord who then sent for the police sergeant.

 The surgeon at Melbourne Hospital, William Howitt, stated that the wound was about ½ an inch deep and two inches long and was potentially dangerous.   Ryan made a complete recovery and the jury found Quail not guilty.

 About 1863-1864 Denis Bowes took over as the publican at the Scotch Thistle.   He renamed it the Roscrea, causing instant confusion with the original Roscrea Hotel across the north side of the Merri Creek.   It became a habit with Bowes as he moved hotels, with two Roscrea Hotel’s in 34 Bourke and 106 Bourke Street, another in Brunswick Street Fitzroy and yet another in Essendon.

 In December 1865 an inquest was held at the Roscrea Hotel after the drowning deaths of three youths in Merri Creek on Christmas day.   Two brothers, Samuel and William Carne and their cousin Henry Carne being the unfortunate individuals.   Their ages ranged between 13 and 17 years old.   Two of the boys had dived into a deep pool just upriver of the hotel and one had got into difficulties.  The third boy dived in fully dressed to assist.   Unfortunately they became entangled together and all three drowned.

 In January 1869 held an inquest into the murder of John James Maguire who was found dead at the Roscrea Hotel on the 26th December 1868.    The suspect was Bartholomew Ellis, a cabman.  On the previous day two separate witnesses had asked Ellis about the whereabouts of Maguire.   To the first witness Ellis replied that he

 “…would never come back” and to the second witness “I have given him a good thrashing.”   Both witnesses stated that they believed Ellis was drunk at the time.

 Other witnesses stated that Maguire had been drinking at the Rifle Brigade Hotel when Ellis came out and left.   He returned shortly afterwards in his cab and Maguire left the hotel and jumped onto the cab and grabbed Ellis by the neck.   The two men then seemed to settle down and left together, seemingly at peace.

 Police searched Ellis’s cab and found a number of articles of clothing with blood stains and rips indicating a struggle.

 Ellis stated he had taken Maguire, also know as “The Duke” to a place where nobody could interfere and given him a “….good hiding.”    After a prolonged inquest it was determined that Maguire was found in the Merri Creek with a fractured skull but that it was not possible to determine how he got there.    It was also noted that the creek bank was in a dangerous condition with the implication that Maguire may have fallen accidently after his beating.

 The directories of 1871 and 1872 indicated that James Hennessy ran the Roscrea Hotel in Clifton Hill (then listed as Fitzroy) and John Delahunty ran the original Roscrea Hotel. In March 1871 John Delahunty, publican at the Roscrea Hotel was fined 20 shillings for having sold liquor on a Sunday.  Delahunty had held the license since January 1870 when he took over from Margaret Delahunty whose license had expired.   John Delahunty had previously been the publican at the Punt Inn in Footscray.

 In April 1872 the hotel, descripted as ‘original Roscrea Hotel, Northcote’, was listed amongst the intestate estates of John A. Jackson being valued at £27 and 15 shillings.   Presumably this referred to the Roscrea Hotel on the north side of the Merri Creek. 

 Bowes reappeared in 1871 when his wife was charged with removing property from the Roscrea hotel which was the property of H. Wolfe, a Melbourne accountant.  At the time Bowes was operating another hotel in Essendon, also called the Roscrea.   During the court case Mrs. Bowes stated she believed her husband may be in Seymour.  The Court was told that Mr. Bowes had rented the hotel from Mr. Wolfe but had never paid the rent and the goods had been seized in lieu of payment. Mrs. Bowes was sentenced to two months imprisonment.

 The same year the hotel was advertised for let.

The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. 1848-1956), 3 December 1857, p.5
The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. 1848-1956), 17 May 1859
The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. 1848-1956), 17 April 1860
Te Argus (Melbourne, Vic. 1848-1956), 4 May 1864
The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. 1848-1956), 27 December 1865
The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. 1848-1956), 27 March 1866
The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. 1848-1956), 31 March 1866
The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. 1848-1956), 16 July 1867
The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. 1848-1956), 3 August 1867
The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. 1848-1956), 9 December 1867
The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. 1848-1956), 11 January 1868
The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. 1848-1956), 30 March 1869