Rose, Shamrock and Thistle Hotel [1854 - ]

At the April 1854 session of the Annual Licensing Meeting for the District of Bourke, ex convict Charles Burrell was granted a license for a hotel on Plenty Road, named The Rose, Thistle and Shamrock.  Such a thing would have seemed unlikely in 1836 when Burrell arrived in the colony aboard the convict ship Henry Proctor.  Interestingly an article in 1916 commented that James Smith was the owner and builder of the hotel.

But Burrell did not last long and by the end of 1854 he was annoucing in the newspapers his intention to establish himself as a stock auctioneer. His decision to leave the hotel trade could well have been influenced by the death of his 27 year old wife, Ellen, leaving him with three small children.   A bush hotel was not a good career for a single parent, especially in the 1850s. By January 1855 he he had sold the hotel to James Smith and was now living across road from the Rose, Thistle and Shamrock Hotel, selling cattle and horses and an array of other sundry items. Burrell held his auctions within the hotel.

 James Smith took over the license in September 1854.  This license was renewed on 19 April 1855.   The address of the hotel was now listed as Darebin Creek, reflecting just how removed the hotel was from any nearby township.  In June 1855 Smith decided to mount some sporting events to improve trade.  These included a shooting match with a 'splendid fat pig' as the prize, a hack race (horse race) with a new saddle, bridle, whip and spurs on offer, a race between Mr Burell's horse Bally and Mr Smith's mare Kitty, as well as music, singing, dancing and a ventriolquism act by 'the celebrated R. D. Crow.'  

Barely had the sporting event finished before Burrell was annoucing his latest venture, a public conveyance operating from the hotel to the city, leaving at 8.30 am in the morning and returning at 4.30 pm.  It took an hour from the city to the hotel.  In September 1855 Smith advertised a ball to be held at the hotel on 1 October 1855, tickets were 10s. 6d for both a gentleman and lady.  A full band was to be in attendance and supper provided, with dancing to commence at 8pm.  

In October 1855 James Curtis was brought up before the Magistrates for attempting to sell fake nuggets of gold.  Mrs Smith of the Rose, Shamrock and Thistle Hotel (sic) stated she had heard the a discussion regarding the selling of the fake gold for £1.  However she stated that Curtis was a very respectable man and had in fact been fooled in purchasing the fake nugget, not selling it, and was therefore the actual victim of the crime.   The case was dismissed.

In February the following year there was an advert wanted ad for stonebreakers at the Rose, Shamrock and Thistle Hotel.  Yet the licensing board meeting shows the hotel as the Rose, Thistle and Shamrock Hotel.   There appears to be very little consistency with the naming of the hotel at this stage.  1856 was an election year and candidates for the East Bourke District would do a circuit of the local hotels to meet their potential constituates.  On the 25 August Alderman Bennett spoke at Smith's Rose, Thistle and Shamrock Hotel, followed by a second meeting at the Plough Inn in Merdna four hours later.  

Over the next few years W. H. Alsop became a regular fixture at the hotel with monthly auctions of cows, horses, bullocks, etc.   It is likely that Alsop replaced Burrell as in January 1856 Burell was advertising the lease of 15 acres of land oppostion the hotel which included

'a neat four-roomed cottage, large store, detached kitchen, servants's room, tabling, gig-house, spacious yard, tasteful flower-garden and about one acre of potatoes given in, at present occupied by Mr. C. Burrell.'

In September 1857 the license moved from Smith to Thomas Batt.   At the same time a license was granted to Charles Burrell for a new public house, the Harkaway Hotel in Nunawadding.   It is interesting to speculate whether it is the same Charles Burrell who built the Rose, Thistle and Shamrock Hotel.  Also in September the hotel hosted a pigeon shooting match.  Entrance cost was £1 10s, with the first price a silver cup valued at £10.  Pigeon shooting was a very popular sporting event in those days.   The following year Bell's Life in Victoria and Sporting Chronicle mentioned a 'capital lunch' had at the Rose Shamrock Thistle before an unfortunate dingo was released in the grass paddocks outside the hotel.   Forty or fifty mounted men then gave chase. Luckily for the dingo it crossed the road over which a mob of cattle had just passed and the hounds lost the scent.   A further victory for  the dingo was gained when several horsemen fell off their horses whilst jumping fences during the chase.   In December the hotel played host to the Oakhill Races, a two mile horse race with a prize of 25 sovereigns for the winner.  

By April 1860 the licensee was listed as Sarah Hopkins.  Based on adverts, she had been there since at least the start of the year.  By May Sarah was listed as involvent, based on losses incurred running the hotel.  She had debts of £577 and assets of £416.   Hopkins said that her debt was due to 'misrepresentations' of the financial state of the Rose, Thistle and Shamrock.  Interestingly the same month Angus M'Kay of another Rose, Shamrock and Thistle Hotel (in Elizabeth Street Melbourne) was also declared insolvent with the same reason, that the previous landlord or owner greatly exaggerated the amount of business done by the hotel. 

In September 1860 James Smith took back the license to the hotel.  It was quite common for the freehold owners of hotels to alternate between running the hotels themselves and subleting the license to others, especially if struggling to find someone to take on the running of the hotel.   After Sarah Hopkin's experience running the hotel Smith may have had problems convincing anyone else to take on the duties of landlord.   In February 1861 John Smith advertised the sale of a farm he owned, 320 acres with creek, three bedroomed cottage, 3 acres of garden and 500 fruit trees at Whittlsea.   Two years later Smith was selling another farm in Whittlesea, this one of 70 acres.   Clearly Smith had considerable real estate assets.

In May 1863 Dr. Chandler, the district coroner conducted an inquest at the Rose, Thistle and Shamrock on Richard Johnson, resident at the hotel.   Johnson had been seen riding his horse along Plenty Road, intoxicated and sitting loosely in his saddle.   He fell from horse and was subsequently stood on by the horse.   He was carried to the hotel and attended to by Dr. Birnie but died fifteen minutes after the doctor's arrival.   His death was ruled accidental.

On 12 April 1864 James Smith found himself facing Magistrates Fawkner, Templeton, Hailes and Brennand against the complaints of Henry Bouverie that Smith had refused to serve him a drink and subsequently assaulting him.   In defence Smith argued that he had refused to serve Bouverie a drink because on a previous visit Bouverie had insulted his wife.   Smith denied any assault occured.   He was fined 1s for refusing to serve a drink and 1s for the assault with 50s for costs, clearly showing that the magistrates believed Bouverie rather than Smith.   On that particular day all fines incurred seemed to be 1s.  In July both gentlemen found themselves back in court when Bouverie, a cabman, drove another man out to the hotel and then ask for a drink.  According to Bouverie's version Smith refused and then ordered him out, then shoving him when he didn't move fast enough.  This time the magistrates thought that Bouverie had been deliberately baiting him and dismissed the case with Bouverie forced to pay £2 costs.

1865 found Smith in a better place as he was host to the Irishtown Grand National Steeplechase, held on 20 May 1865. However it ended in controversy when Mr. Cole, owner of the mare Alice was declared the winner despite claims his horse had not completed the course.   The stewards conferred at the hotel and rejected the objections of other riders.  There had been hopes that this Steeplechase would the first of many in the colony but the controversy was such that Bell's Life declared that 

'the complications which are likely to arise out of the Irishtown Grand National are calculated to inflict a serious blow to one of the most glorious sports of the British nation.'

On the 29th May 1867 James Smith passed away.   He was 56 years old.   In The Argus he was described as 'an old colonist, much respected.  In July the hotel was advertised as for sale, describing it as 

'The house contains 11 rooms, built of wood, with stone-built kitchen.  There is also a splendid garden, of about an acrea and a half of land, well stocked with choice fruit trees.  Also, eight-stalled stable, harness-room, shed, fowlhouse, piggeries, &c. all securely fenced.  The property stands upon about five acres of land.'

The property was sold at auction in August for £700.  A subsquent aution on 9 September sold the furnishings and fittings for the hotel, including 2 cows, 70 chickens, horse, hay, cellar pump and piping, bar counter and shelving, 4 pull beer engine, etc.  A second auction took place on 13 September, presumably to sell off any items not sold earlier in the week.

Local identity Mernda, who wrote his reminisecences of Northcote and Preston said of Smith

'He was a character in many ways, very good hearted but rough and ready in his manner....He was wont to boast he was the only Englishman who could live in Irishtown (as Preston was then called), but he soon drew a good trade to his hotel, in which Mrs Smith played here part....Smith, the popular landlord of the Rose, Thistle and Shamrock who, no doubt had many faults, but also many good qualities.   I have known him order and pay for a bag of flour for a poor woman with a family and who was in want, and other similar acts of kind-hearted generosity on his part common, and to judge is character we want to consider the times in which he lived.'

The next mention of the Rose, Thistle and Shamrock Hotel was in April 1868 when William Ralph advertised his intention to transfer the license of the hotel from his name to Phelan.   Curiously there are two adverts one stating the license would transfer to E. Phelan and the other to James Robert Phelan.  It was James Robert Phelan who took over the hotel from May 1867, advertising lodgings in his hotel.

An inquest was held at the hotel in August 1868 after farmer Willaim Ford Cleeland was found dead on Plenty Road.  He had last been seen riding away from the Rose, Thistle and Shamrock Hotel that night.  A wound on the head suggested a fall from his horse.  Phelan stated that the deceased was not intoxicated when he left the hotel at 10pm that night.

In March 1871 a 'mob of from 25 to 30 unruly youths' caused mayhew at Mr Fieldings (also described as Mr Fielden) Rose, Thistle and Shamrock Hotel.  They had already trashed the Bird in the Hand hotel at Preston, smashing windows and stealing property after heading into the hotel and demanding drinks.   Moving up Plenty Road they reached the Rose, Thistle and Shamrock Hotel around midnight.  Fielding looked out of his hotel to find half the group on his verandah and the rest on the fence opposite, some armed with guns which they were discharging.  At that moment  mounted constable Wood arrived and after briefly threatening him, the group purchased 2 shillings worth of alcohol and headed back towards town.  Two men were subsequently arrested, William Dickins and James Burns.  

In 1875 there was another inquest at the hotel after an unknown German passing through the district hung himself.   The previous day he was worked on the farm of Mr Allan McLean of Strathallan.  That night he was observed to break into laughter without reason before running off into the night.   He was found hanging from a tree the next day and his body removed to the hotel.  The verdict at inquest was strangulation while of unsound mind.

The next few years are scattered with brief mentions of the hotel in the newspaper. For example in January 1876 Mrs Phelan won a lady's workbox for the best pair of knitted socks from the Victoria Agricultural Society at their quarterly meeting.  In February 1883 Daniel Pate, father in law to James Phelan passed away at the hotel.  Phelan was in court in January 1885 testifying against Isaac Brown who apparently used insulting language to Mrs Phelan.  Phelan told the magistrate Mr Hare that he restrained himself from 'taking the law into his own hands'.  Mr Hare replied ' is a pity you did not.'  

In September 1888 there was a sale of red gum timbers at Steward's Paddock which was described as nearly opposite the Rose, Shamrock and Thistle Hotel.   It is very common for events such as sports or auctions in the area to be described by their proximity to the hotel, clearly the hotel was the defining landmark along that stretch of the Plenty Road.

On Saturday 15th September 1888 James Phelan placed an advert in the Herald notifying of his intention to transfer his license for the Rose, Shamrock and Thistle to Sarah Gibbs Oliver of Middle Park.  Phelan had held the license for the hotel on and off since 1868.  On the 21st September a reunion was held to celebrate Phelan's retirement.  A. Short and L. Brock, prominant local citizens were delegated to purcahse a large and beautiful silver jug with tray and glasses as a recognition of the Phelan's contributions to the community.   Over 20 of the contributors were there at the presentation.  The hotel had been purchased from Mr Phelan by the West End Brewery (along with five acres of land) for £7,000.   The hotel was described as 

'....not only one of the most famous, but one of the oldest hostelrys in the district.'

Miss Oliver, formerly of Garton's Hotel in the city was the new publican.   She was an experienced licensee having held the Garton's license for several years. The owner of the hotel was Mr S. G. Sullivan who was the plaintive in a case against Robert Hughes and John Quinn for unpaid board.  He was although it seems that both men had no money to pay either the board nor the court costs.

In May 1889 an article appeared in Lorgnette which gives us a rare glimpse into the life of a country hotel in the 1890's.


To spend a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and mix the social glass that cheers - and not necessarily inebriates - to talk over old times and old friends, many of them gone never to be seen more, but whose memory awakes the liveliest sympathy, commend us to that model snuggery presided over by the hostess of the 'Rose, Thistle and Shamrock,' our worthy and respected friend, MIss Oliver.

It is situated at North Preston, on the road from Epping and may be reached by the Clifton Hill tram and a cab at the cost of about one shilling.  In this flourishing and salubrious locality, whose timbered glades and well-grassed slopes remind one of England's deer parks, where settlement in its best form is steadily advancing and enhancing rather than neutralising the sylvan beauties of nature, Miss Oliver has taken up her abode, and is ever ready, as of yore, to greet her patrons and give them the best cheer her house affords. And this is saying much.

The hotel is that, from its colonially speaking antique style of architecture might have dated prior to the fifties.  Originally, it was doubtless a pretty villa with a protruding gable and either end, and the intervening portion divided by a hall, with a series of rooms running to the right and left. Nothing was easieer that to convert the habitation into a place of rest and refreshment.   A door was knocked in the wall of the eastern gable facing the roadway, a bar was erected on the opposite side of what formerly answered the purpose of parlour, and there you have it.

The bar, though limited in its dimensions, is neat and comfortable, but luxury awaits the visitor in the room beyond.   Here, a wide chimney with a blazing wood fire causes a bright warm glow to pervade the apartment, giving a roseate tinge to the various nick-nacks, the pictures, mirrors and photos, the lounges, chairs and tables, the latter covered with reminisences and keepsakes of friends known in bygone days, while a magnificent trichord invites to sing and dance the merry spirits who may assemble.

There are dining-rooms, parlors, smoking, sitting and bedrooms attached, until in passing through them one seems lost as if in a labyrinth.   There is also an acre of garden, well laid out with fruits, flowers and vegetables, and kept in admirable order, and a large paddock contigouous suitable for picnic parties.  The poultry yard alone is worth a visit.  Miss Oliver is a connoisseur in these matters, and possesses some really superb specimens of the more highly prized fowls.

The general surroundings are no less exhilarating.   The secne looks as though one were 100 miles from the city.   The land sweeps eastward in easy undulations presenting the richest pasturage, and diversified by occasional clumps of gum trees, substantial fences, a well-filled creek which catches the water from uplands, and at times handsome residences my be seen peering through cultivated shrubberies and flower gardens.

But what would all this be without a genial hostess with all the concomitants taht go to make up the sum of human happiness.  It would be but as a painted ship upon a painted ocean.  Here the visitor wants for nothing in reason.   All is good, solid, comfortable and English except the whisky, for the sound Irish quality of which I am prepared to take an affidavit.  But possibly there may be some new chum 'pros' who exclaim who is Miss Oliver?

Not to know her proclaims yourselves unknown.  This lady for many years was the licensee of the hotel now held by Mrs Lane next to the Argus office.  There the Yorick Club was cradled.  Its infant struggles were the object of her kindly solicitude,.   Through her fostering care it was ultimately enabled to enster upon more imposing quarters, and finally became the highly aristocratic affair is now is, over Haighs the tailor's, in Collins Street.   The Yorick in those early days consisted of members neither numerous nor wealthy.    The first general banquest held was served up at an expense of 1s. 6d. per head, and the drink to be paid for.  A right royal symposium it was, and a gay old lot assembled thereat, including many whose like we shall never look upon again.

They were mostly press men, artists, and actors, who ardent natures sought the companionship of the bright spirits whos flashes of merriment were wont to set the table in a roar, while over them presided the stately figure of the worthy doctor, whose knowledge of colonial wine was as extensive as profound.   He was the Father Prout of the festive band of scribblers, his robe imparting a piquancy rather than a damper to the hilarious proceedings.  As a matter of fact, the club was the hotel, and the hotel was the club, so that virtually Miss Oliver was the presiding genius, the guide, the philosopher and friend of the Yorickers.  And a sterling friend she proved to many of them, but I shall, as she does, allow that to pass.

Many an instance of self sacrifice and kindness should I relate on her part, but this is not the time nor the place to do so.  Suffice it to say that in the course of years Miss Oliver left the old place, and took what was then known as Garton's, now Her Majesty's, which became the rendezvous of the dramatic profession.  It would have charmed a London comic to have dropped in there about lunch time and observed the motley crowd as huge glasses of beer and acres of sandwiches disappeared like the morning mist before the sun.   

Then Miss Oliver, unfortunately for herself, we believe, became the lessee of the Theatre Royal bar.   Her first act was to shup up the 'Saddling Paddock.' an institution handed down from the days of diggerdom, and a reproach to the city.   The result was not cheering to the lady.   The revolution caused by extinguishing this den of iniquity told so seriously upon the takings that she soon relinquished her lease.  Being, however, possess of considerable means she paid a visit to the old country, and on her return invested a large sum of money in a company which took a tour of New Zealand.

The speculation did not proved renumerative.   On her return to Melbourne Miss Oliver took the Cleal's Hotel, and here again she had to undertake the task of purging the moral atmosphere.  This she accomplished effectually, and under a different name, and a renovated business, she built up an admirable business which she disposed of at a satisfactory figure prior to purchasing the lease of the hotel the subject of our notice.  Miss Oliver, it may be added is the agent for Scudamore dramas in the colonies and she takes as lively an interest in the drama as though she had been born and nurtured on the stage.

One of the more noticeable comments in this article was the idea that the hotel was originally built as a house and had been converted into a hotel, presumably by Charles Burrell.  

In January 1890 the hotel had a narrow escape when a fire broke out in the chimney.  Luckily Mr George was passing by and raised the alarm, saving the hotel.  In August of the following year, Miss Jane Gordon of the Rose, Shamrock and Thistle Hotel was thrown from a horse and suffered a severe head injury.  Miss Gordon was the barmaid at the hotel but in the following year she took over from Miss Oliver as the publican.  

Mrs Mary Murphy took over from Miss Gordon around 1897 and by the early 1900s Mrs Elizabeth Pretty was in charge.  Sadly she passed in February 1906, aged only 46.   Her husband Walter Pipe Pretty took over as the publican.  The following year Walter found himself in front of the Magistrate for serving alcohol on Sunday.  Five youths from Fitzroy were each fined £2.  Legally Pretty could have sold them alcohol if they were travellers and Pretty told the Magistrate that he did and they had confirmed they were.   However as the lads were from Fitzroy they clearly were not travellers.   Pretty coped a £5 fine.  It was a common defence for publicans that they honestly believed that they were serving travellers not locals.   It was rarely believed.   At the same time James Hazell was also charged with drinking at the hotel on a Sunday.   His defence that it was 'a very hot and dusty day, and he just thought he would like a drink', did not impress the Magistrate, fined £2.

In 1912 Pretty again found himself in front of the Preston Court for trading on Sunday.  He protested theat the persons on the premises were either bona fide travellers or people stopping for a meal. Pretty had stated that the people were returning from a picnic at South Morang, however the magistrate stated their drivers should not have been in the hotel because they were working not travellers. As usual in these cases the publican lost and was fined 40 shillings.

It was also around 1912 that the original hotel was demolished and a brick building built in its place.   Interestingly the new hotel matched the same shape as the previous hotel with the addition of dormer windows above the main entrance.

On June 13 1916 Mounted Constable Rowley of the Police Depot, St Kilda Road, and colleague Constable Bertram went up to the back door of the Rose Shamrock and Thistle and asked for breakfast.   They were in disguise.   After being knocked back for breakfast due to the early hour they asked if they could have a drink.   Mrs Pretty asked if they were travellers and they confirmed they were, she then said 'I suppose you are not police?'   Of course not replied our gallant policemen.  But of course they were and Pretty was charged with serving alcohol on Sunday.   The Magistrates stated that this was clearly a trap and imposed the minimum fine of £5 for having the door open!   Interestingly it was Mrs Pretty who let the police in, did Walter remarry or was it his mother?

 It seems that Pretty was slow to learn his lessons because December 1917 found him back in court for Sunday trading again!   He was fined 40s with 12s 6d in costs.

In February 1922 thieves broke into the hotel and stole 3 bottles of spirits, 80 packets of cigarettes and a £1 in loose change.  Then in September the following year Pretty was back in court for Sunday trading.  A £2 fine was imposed.  Also in 1923 the land land opposite the Rose, Shamrock and Thistle was opened up as Doolan's Tramway Estate.   The estate which had frontage to Plenty Road, Tyler Street, McColl Street, Hamilton Avenue and Kinkora Road offered 22 shop sites and 90 building sites.   The hotel was no longer a country hotel, the suburbs were catching up to it.

In August 1924 the hotel was the starting point for the Coburg Cycling Club whose race went from the Rose, Shamrock and Thistle to Whittlesea and back.  Meanwhile at the same time the Preston Cycling Club rode from Reseervoir to Epping, Woodstock, Whittlesea and South Morang before finishing at the hotel.  Pretty must have had plenty of thirsty customers that day.

Some time between August 1924 and August 1925 Pretty left the hotel after twenty years.  He died in 1930  

There is a brief record in the Cole Index to Hotels of S.C. Pinkney being there in July 1924 (presumably Stanley Clare Pinkney) formerly of Tuson's Hotel in Ararat.   Pinkney had attempted to take over the Victoria Hotel in Horsham but had face strong police resistance due the the manner in which he had run Tuson's Hotel previously.  Police said that Pinkney had numerous fines against his name for serving alcohol outside hours, he failed to keep his hotel clean,  he would lurk outside his hotel outside hours (presumably looking for police), he would not say no to drinkers wanting alcohol outside drinking times and his wife was an alcoholic!  Mrs Annie Pinkney strenously denied the latter claim, stating she was teetotal.   Whether Pinkney briefly operated at the Rose, Shamrock and Thistle Hotel is not proven but certainly by the following year Benjamin John Hughes was definitely the publican.

Hughes, of Irene Street Preston, had in May 1924 been charged with driving under the influence after a car accident. He was found not guilty of being drunk although he was fined for dangerous driving.

In August 1925 Hughes faced court charged with Sunday trading at his hotel the Rose, Shamrock and Thistle Hotel.  The publican's son, also Benjamin, claimed no alcohol was served and the charge was withdrawn on the payment of 5 shillings costs.  Constable Clark had stated in court he had seen a number of men entering the premises at 11.50 am on the Sunday morning.  In October Constable Clark  tried again and this time secured a conviction and a fine for serving alcohol after hours.   A £3 fine was imposed.   

In March 1926 the Rose, Shamrock and Thistle Hotel was offered up for sale.   It was described as 

'Well-constructed one-story brick building containing 14 rooms and conveniences.  Splendid outbuildings.'  

The terms of sale were 1/3 cash and balance over 5 years with 6.6 per cent interest.

The property was finally sold in January 1927 for £11,500 from the estate of the late John Dunne, Esq.  In March the same year there was a sale of the household goods within the hotel including,

'...grand upright Studeburg pianola, billiard table, walnut leather suite, Axminister carpets, single and double bedsteads, carpet sweeper, tables and chairs, trotting sulky (a light two wheeled horse drawn vehicle), glassware, etc.' 

A note from the auctioneer stated that all goods had to be sold as the lesses is giving up possession, presumably this being Benjamin Hughes.

By September 1927 there is the first mention of M.C. Negri of the Rose, Shamrock and Thistle Hotel donating £1/1/,  to the L.V.W. Cyclists Union.   As the hotel was still being used as a start and finish point for bike racing this donation makes sense.   Mary Cora Negri was in the first year of her 58 year association with the hotel.

In July 1928 the 'Preston Star' cycling race started from the hotel.   Curiously the hotel was described as Pretty's Rose,Thistle and Shamrock Hotel.  Note both Pretty and the flipping of the Thistle and Shamrock in the name.   Given that the hotel had been sold and Pretty had finished at the hotel several years before hand it shows how much Pretty and the hotel were identified with each other.

In April 1929 solictor Samuel Amess was struck off the roll of barristers and solictors after being found guilty of miappropriating money from the sale of the Rose, Shamrock and Thistle Hotel back in 1927.  He had taken £3,838 paid by Cora Negri for the purchase of the hotel and failed to account to the trustees about the whereabout of the money.  It was reported that Amess had become insolvent and clearly was trying to steal his way out of debt.

There was drama in September 1930 when Mr Benedict Alfred Negri heard the bar bell late in the night.  Upon investigation he found a would be burgular had accidently pressed the button whilst climbing into a window next to the bar.   There was a brief tussle before the want to be thief was able to escape.

In 1939 Benedict Negri found himself involved with the sensational murder of Miss Annie Wiseman (aged 62) and her niece Annie Wiseman (aged 17) who were killed in their Glenroy house on 21 November 1938.   George Green, a chimney sweep, had been found guilty of their murder and sentenced to death.   In an appeal, Negri stated in an avidavit that on the morning of the murder he had served Green a few beers at the Rose, Shamrock and Thistle and given his permission to store his sweeping brushes at the hotel.  A key element to the crime was the discovery of a milk docket, previously belonging to Green was found at the scene of the crime.  Green admitted that the docket was his but he had given away to two men he met whilst walking.  Both Negri's avidavit and a second by Norman Ray of Coburg who stated the saw two men matching the description of the two men given by Green, were used to support Green's alibi.  Green was hanged on the 17 April 1939.

Even during the Second World War, the cycling races still continued to run from the Rose, Shamrock and Thistle Hotel.   A notice in The Age for July 1941 informing competitors they could change for the race behind the hotel and that the hotel would provide accommodation for the race officials.  

In 1943 Patrica Grace Negri, only daughter of Benedict and Mary Negri, announced her engagement to George L.P. Goudie, a member of the U.S. Army.  Two years later Patricia Negri was engaged again, this time to Craig Middleton, formerly from Queensland.  They were married in April 1946.

In 1948 Mrs C. Negri and patrons of the Rose, Shamrock and Thistle Hotel donated £140 to the Royal Children's Hospital Appeal.  Next year they did even better with £220.

In 1952 the licence for the Rose, Shamrokc and Thistle passed from mother to daughter, with Patricia Middleton becoming the new publican.  Three years later the hotel was remodelled with a new bar and bottleshop.   Further work took place in 1969 which added a suite of rooms for accomodation and a bigger bottleshop.

The hotel was sold to Keith Staples in 1978.



1854 Charles Burrell

1854 James Smith

1857 Thomas Smith?

1857 Thomas Batt

1860 Sarah Hopkins

1860 James Smith

1867 John Emery (agent appointed to operate hotel after Smith's death and upto the sale of the hotel)

1868 Mr. J. Sullivan 

1868 William Ralph

1868 James Robert Phelan

1871 Fielding? Fielden

1873 James Robert Phelan

1888 Miss Sarah Oliver

1891 Miss Jane Gordon

1897 Mary Murphy

1905 Elizabeth Pretty

1906 Walter Pretty 

1924 S. C. Pinkney

1925 Benjamin J. Hughes

1927 Mary Cora Negri

1952 Patricia Middleton

1978 Keith Staples

Some time after this the hotel dropped Thistle from its name to become the Rose Shamrock Hotel.  As of 2017 the  license was held by the Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group.

Cole, Robert K. Index of Hotels 1841 – 1949. Unpublished manuscript.

Edge, Gary (2004). Surviving the six o’clock swill: a history of Darebin’s hotels. Melbourne: Darebin Libraries.

Preston Historical Society (1971). Centenary of local government in Preston: 1871 – 1971: a pictorial record with a brief review of Prestons’ progress and achievements. Preston, Vic: City of Preston.

 Annual General Licensing Meeting for the District of Bourke.  The Argus, 19 April 1854

Obituaries. The Argus.  21 June 1854, p.4

Notices.  The Argus.  10 January 1855

Transfer of licenses.  The Argus, 7 September 1854, p.5

Advertising  The Argus, 18 June 1855

Spurious nuggets.  The Argus, 13 October 1855, p.5

Advertising.  The Argus, 5 January 1856, p.8

Bell's Life in Victoria and Sporting Chronicle. 14 August 1858, p.3

New insolvents.  The Age, 8 May 1860, p.6

Inquests.  The Age, 14 May 1863, p.5

Tuesday, 12 April.   The Age, 12 April 1864, p.7

The Argus, 25 May 1865, p.5

Bell's Life in Victoria and Sporting Chronicle. 27 May 1865, p.3

Advertising.  The Argus, 4 July 1867, p.8

The Age, 8 March 1871, p.4

Suicide at Bundoora.  The Argus, 7 December 1875, p.6

Mercury and Weekly Courier, 24 January 1885, p.2

Notification of application for transfer of license from one person to another.  The Herald, 15 September 1888, p.5

Mercury and Weekly Courier, 28 September 1888, p.3

Modern Hostelry.  The Lorgnette, 11 May 1889, p.6

Drags party's refresher cost £2 apiece.  The Age, 6 November 1907, p.10

A wet Sunday.  Bad for hotelkeepers.  The Age, 29 May 1912

Preston Police Court.  Preston Leader. 5 August 1916, p.4

Northcote and Preston remininisceneces.  Preston Leader.  3 August 1918, p.4

Abstract of sale by auction.  The Argus.  11 March 1926, p.2

Sales by Auction.  The Age.  9 March 1927, p.2

Money misappropriated.  Weekly Times, 20 April 1929, p.10