The Historical Lands Record Viewer is proving to be quite a useful tool in identifying the location of various old photographs. I have managed to confirm the location of this Ralph Snowball photograph of Thomas Bevan, Undertaker, as being at 41 Pearson St Lambton
Page 93 of the Federal Directory of Newcastle and District 1901, lists “T. Bevan” as an undertaker in Pearson St. Vol-Fol 796-107 shows that Thomas Bevan purchased the north half of Lot 6 Section K in July 1889.
Lot 6 corresponds to current day address 41 Pearson St.
In May 1910, the following advertisement appeared in Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate.
Property No 1 was the double storey house formerly owned by W T Dent, located at 18 Pearson St. Thomas and Jennet Bevan purchased the property in June 1908. (See Vol-Fol 262-127.) Although advertised for sale in 1910, the property was not sold until October 1919.
Property No 2 in the advertisement was the house and undertaker’s business at 41 Pearson St Lambton. The property sold to William James Hanlon, a blacksmith’s assistant, in July 1910.
Property No 3 was at 127 Michael Street Jesmond. Thomas Bevan purchased this property in October 1905. (See Vol-Fol 816-189.) Although advertised for sale in 1910, the property was not sold until October 1919.
This list covers hotels that were located in the area of Lambton Municipal Council (1871-1938), which included parts of North Lambton and Jesmond.
The map below shows the location of Lambton Hotels. Hotels that are still operating are shown in green, historical hotels are shown in red. I have used the ‘drinking glass’ icon, where the location of a hotel is known, and a generic placemarker icon if the location is uncertain or unconfirmed.
In documenting the history of hotels it is important to understand the roles of owners, lessees and licensees. The hotel owner is the person (or company) that owns the land and buildings upon the land. The owner may then lease the buildings to another person (or company) for the purpose of running a business such as a hotel. The hotel licensee is the person who is granted a liquor license by the government and is responsible for adhering to the liquor regulations. Sometimes the owner and licensee are the same person, but sometimes the owner, lessee and licensee are three different entities. For example, in 1893 the Reservoir Hotel was owned by John Cox, leased to John and James Toohey, and the licensee was William Rutherford.
The history of hotels can also be confusing in that not only can the same hotel can different names over time, but sometimes different hotels can have the same name. For example, there were two different hotels in Lambton called the Commercial Hotel, one operating from 1880 to 1882, and a different hotel operating from 1888 to 2018. Sometimes a hotel name and license can be transferred to a different geographical location. For example, the Miners’ Arms Hotel first opened on Howe Street in 1887, but then moved to the adjacent block of land in Howe Street in 1881.
In the list below I have an entry for each hotel operating at a specific location. The hotels appear in order of the year they were first opened. Where a hotel has had multiple names, I have used in the heading the name that the hotel was known by for the majority of its operation.
A further complication is that the variant spellings of the names of licensees. Where there are multiple spellings of a name and the correct spelling is uncertain, I have included all the variant spellings, separated by a slash character. e.g. “Lackey/Leckey”. Note that in the lists of licensees I have only included names up to about 1970, as published information about licensees after this date becomes sparse.
A helpful resource in my research for this article was Appendix 2 of “The Story of Lambton” from the Newcastle Family History Society. However I did find a number of errors, omissions and confusions in their list of hotels and licensees. My intent for this page is to build on the work of that Appendix and provide a more accurate and comprehensive reference for the hotels and hotel licensees of Lambton.
Having said that, I am conscious that this list probably contains errors, omissions and confusions of my own, and so I would welcome any feedback or additional information that would improve this page.
A note about Colonial Wine Licenses:
Appendix 2 of “The Story of Lambton” includes an entry for “Lambton Hotel”, and then lists a number of holders of a Colonial Wine License. I have not included these in the list below, as a colonial wine license was not a hotel in the commonly recognised sense of a place to buy and consume alcohol, and provide accommodation. A Colonial Wine License merely provided for the retail sale of locally produced wines and ciders, under very limited circumstances, with the holder of a license able to …
… sell and dispose of on the premises in such license specified wine cider or perry the produce of fruit grown within any Australasian colony in quantities not exceeding two gallons and not containing a greater proportion than twenty-six per cent, of proof spirits but only between the hours of seven in the morning and eleven at night.
The hotel was located on the north east corner of Elder and Grainger Streets and had a number of names in its history. From 1865 to 1915 it was variously known as …
Gold Miners’ Arms
Gold Miners’ Home
Gold Diggers’ Arms
Gold Miners’ Home Hotel
Miners’ Home Hotel
Gold Miners’ Hotel
Trying to put dates to these names has proved to quite tricky as it seems the names were used interchangeably and inconsistently. Sometimes the hotel name as it appears in the Government Gazette doesn’t match what appears in newspaper articles. It’s possible that the proliferation of names was a contributing factor to the hotel often being simply referred to as “Stoker’s Hotel”, even long after the first licensee John Stoker ceased to run the hotel in 1885.
In 1915 the name was changed to the “Central Hotel”.
John Stoker purchased Lot 1 of Section E of Lambton township in September 1865 (Vol-Fol 19-190), and was granted a publican’s license in November 1865.
The Northumberland Hotel is located on the south west corner of Elder and Morehead Streets. It is the oldest of the hotels that is still operating, and has retained the same name since it opened in 1866.
John Dent purchased Lot 10 of Section H in Lambton township in November 1865 (Vol-Fol 25-26), and opened the Northumberland Hotel in July 1866.
Northumberland Hotel page at ANU Open Research Library, which contains some photographs of the hotel from the 1920s to 1970s.
Janice Marlene Perrington and George Alexander Perrington (January 1979 to ????)
Rose, Thistle and Shamrock Inn (1868-1896)
Located on the south east corner of Elder and Grainger Streets. Also known as
Rose and Shamrock Inn
Rose, Shamrock and Thistle Hotel
Federal Hotel (July 1895 to 1896)
Michael Doyle purchased Lot 1 of Section H in Lambton township in August 1867. (Transfer noted on Vol-Fol 36-203, Title Certificate on Vol-Fol 54-38)
Michael Doyle was granted a publican’s in March 1868 for the “Rose and Shamrock Inn”. In June 1868 he began advertising his hotel as “The Rose, Thistle, & Shamrock Inn.”
From July 1882, Guiseppe Turri owned the hotel land and building while a variety of licensees operated the hotel. In July 1895 Turri became the licensee and changed the name to the “Federal Hotel”. In April 1896 a fire at the hotel caused considerable damage. The fire must have placed Guiseppe Turri in dire financial straits, for in August 1896 he was forced to sell off a “large quantity of household furniture”, and the hotel never re-opened.
Located at 103 Elder St. John Platt purchased Lot 5 of Section H in Lambton township in October 1866 (Vol-Fol 39-245), and erected a building on the land. In 1869 George Lonsdale took a three year lease on the building and applied for a publican’s license. At the license hearing in April 1869 the building was described as follows …
“A portion of the house is two-storey, built of stone and brick ; the wooden portion contain four rooms, two on the ground floor and two upstairs. The brick building is attached to a four room cottage, which house contains two front rooms of moderate size, and two small back rooms, one used as a kitchen.”
Despite police objections, a publican’s license was granted to George Lonsdale, however his tenure was short lived. By 1870 John Platt had become licensee as well as owner of the hotel. In June 1871 Platt sold the land and building to James Horton/Haughton (Vol-Fol 122-233). After the sale Platt continued as licensee, but Haughton immediately advertised the hotel as being available to let.
William B Richardson was granted the license in August 1871, but whether he ever operated the hotel is unclear, as there are no further mentions of the hotel in the papers and the “Rose and Crown” is absent from the 1872 gazetted list of publican licenses.
Located on the south west corner of Dickson and Morehead Streets.
John Martin Sawyer purchased Lot 10 of Section D of Lambton township in November 1868. (Vol-Fol 78-28). In January 1870, David Jenkyn obtained a publicans’ licence and opened the Prince of Wales Hotel. (Note in the advertisement below that the location is described as being “on the main road from Newcastle to Wallsend, as Dickson St was originally planned to be the main road.)
Lot 10 was subdivided into two halves in 1874, and in 1889 John Sheedy purchased the northern half where the hotel was situated. Sheedy subsequently became the licensee of the hotel in 1895. After he ceased to be licensee, he sold the property to Tooth and Co in 1900, but purchased the property back again nine years later in January 1909.
At the Licensing Court hearing in August 1909, “Inspector Goulder reported that the license of the Prince of Wales Hotel, Lambton, had not been renewed, and that the premises were closed on August 18.”and after the hotel was delicensed in 1909, Sheedy purchased the property back from Tooth and Co.
The hotel was located on the north west corner of Morehead Street and Young Street (now Newcastle Road). The hotel building still stands today, and is a private residence.
In February 1871 William Densley purchased Lot 1 in the new subdivision of Grovetown (DP54), just to the north of the Lambton township. (Vol-Fol 116-154). It seems he acted quickly in erecting a hotel building for within a few months in May 1871 the licensing court “granted permission to Dinah Williams to remove her license from the Red Lion Hotel, Waratah, to a new house to be known by the same sign at Lambton.” By September 1871 the hotel was operational, with a committee meeting of residents of the Commonage being held on the premises.
In January 1872, Dinah Williams was advertising “To Let, The Red Lion Hotel, Old Lambton, now doing a steady business.” By the beginning of 1872 Uriah Broom, the newly elected Mayor of the newly formed Lambton Municipal Council was the licensee of the Red Lion Inn.
In June 1896 at the Wallsend Licensing Court, the license for the Red Lion Inn was withdrawn.
The hotel was located on the south east corner of Pearson and Grainger Streets. The hotel opened as the “Lancashire Arms” in 1874, and changed to the “Welcome Home Hotel” in December 1875. It was also sometimes referred to as the “Welcome Home Inn”.
Peter and Thomas Young purchased Lot 1 of Section L in Lambton township in September 1865. (Vol-Fol 19-22 and 19-23) and retained ownership of the land and buildings for the life of the hotel.
In May 1880 the current licensee, Samuel Dawson, was charged with “committing a breach of the Publicans’ Act by abandoning his licensed house, the Welcome Home Hotel, Lambton, between the 17th and 30th April.” He was found guilty and his publican’s license was voided. The owner of the hotel, Peter Young applied at that time to have the license transferred to himself. The request was initially denied, but granted the following month in June 1880. Whether Peter Young opened the hotel for business or for how long, is uncertain. There is no further mention of the Welcome Home Hotel after the notification of the granting of the license in June 1880, and the hotel does not appear in the list of publican’s licenses in 1881.
In June 1889 the property and building was advertised for sale, promoted as …
That splendid Corner Block of Land, reaching from Howe-street along Grainger street to Pearson-street, Lambton, upon which is erected an Eight-roomed W.B. House, with Kitchen, large Yard, Stable,Washhouse, formerly known as the Welcome Home Hotel.
Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, 18 June 1889.
Located on the north west corner of Morehead and Dickson Streets. The hotel was sometimes spelled as “Marquis of Lorn” or shortened to “Marquis O’Lorne”. In 2008, after a major renovation, the name changed to “The Mark Hotel” .
Alexander Smith had been the licensee of the Rose, Shamrock and Thistle Hotel in Elder Street until July 1873. In October 1873 he purchased the east half of Lot 10 of Section A in Lambton township. (Vol-Fol 177-187), and immediately made plans to erect a hotel. Construction was underway in January 1874, and the hotel opened on 20 June 1874.
The hotel was sold in June 1876 to Joseph Thomas Morris who also became the licensee. In August 1876 to hotel was sold to John and Joseph Woods (wine and spirit merchants of Newcastle) and Richard Ward became licensee.
In November 1880, Richard Ward applied to move the license of the Marquis of Lorne hotel to premises in Elder Street, however the Wood brother (owners of the hotel) objected and the licensing court refused the application. The following month in December 1880, the license of the Marquis of Lorne Hotel was transferred to Benjamin Tonks, and Richard Ward was granted a license for the (first) Commercial Hotel in Elder Street.
In 1929 another attempt was made to move the location of the Marquis of Lorne Hotel. In September 1929, the new licensee John Thomas Quinlivan applied to move the license of the hotel “to premises to be erected on Part of Lot 2, Section A, having a frontage of 112.5 links (22.6m) to Robert Street Jesmond.”
At the licensing board hearing on 25 September 1929, the application for transfer was opposed by many. After hearing arguments and inspecting the proposed site, on 26 September 1929 the board refused the application for the license transfer “on the ground that the reasonable requirements of the district did not justify the removal.” Quinlivan stayed on as licenseee of the Marquis of Lorne Hotel in Lambton for another year, when the license was transferred to John Baptist Beisler in November 1930.
In 1960, the original hotel building was demolished and a new building erected by Tooth and Co at a cost of £67508.
Page 180 of “The Story of Lambton” indicates that the Marquis Of Lorne Hotel remained in the Beisler family until 1976, an impressively long stint of 46 years!
Pine Apple Hotel (1874-1881)
The hotel was sometimes spelled as “Pineapple”, and in the Government Gazette lists of publican licenses it is recorded as “Pine Apple Inn”. It was also referred to as “Bunn’s Hotel”.
Old newspapers report the hotel as being in North Lambton, or in Dark Creek, which is the original name of Jesmond. To confuse things further, some of the Government Gazette lists note the hotel as being in “Duck Creek”, a phonetically erroneous reference to “Dark Creek”. There are no known photographs of the hotel.
Although there is some uncertainty about the exact location, I believe the hotel was situated on one of the original allotments outlined below, which today corresponds to 300-304 Newcastle Road. (See the following section for the reasoning.)
The time that the hotel ceased trading is not known with certainty. After Charles Bunn, the last licensee, was granted the license in April 1881, mentions of the Pine Apple Hotel in the newspaper disappear. Charles Bunn entered into insolvency in June 1881, just two months after being granted the license. Presumably this marked the end of the Pine Apple Hotel.
The probable location
Almost all the contemporaneous newspaper reports (1874-1881) of the hotel state that the hotel was in “North Lambton”, which in this period refers to a very specific square block of 50 acres granted to Daniel Jones. Some reports refer to the hotel being in Dark Creek, which referred to the overall locality. (Note that the watercourse named Dark Creek flows diagonally through the “North Lambton” land grant.)
A number of articles state that the hotel was on the main road, or Hartley St, which places the hotel somewhere between Henry Street and George Street.
The first licensee of the hotel in 1874 was Thomas Bunn and the last licensee in 1881 was his son Charles, which suggests that Thomas may have been the owner of the hotel. This is corroborated by a May 1879 advertisement … “TO LET, the PINE APPLE HOTEL North Lambton. Apply to Thomas Bunn.”
Searching the Land Titles at the Historical Land Records Viewer site, reveals that in September 1873, Thomas and his wife Elizabeth purchased Lot 13 (See Vol-Fol 169-220) and Lot 14 (see Vol-Fol 169-219) of Section D of North Lambton. The timing of these purchases fits with the opening of a hotel the following year.
The final clue is from the Miners’ Advocate and Northumberland Recorder of 11 August 1875 where Edwin Griffiths advertised the commencement of his business as an undertaker “in North Lambton, near Bunn’s Hotel.”
The Historical Land Records Viewer in Vol-Fol 236-94 shows that Edwin Griffiths purchased Lot 15 of Section D of North Lambton, adjacent to the Bunn’s two allotments. As the Deposited Plan of the subdivision of Section D is not available online, I have created an overall map showing the lots between Arthur and Albert Streets by splicing together the lot boundary maps from each individual Title Certificate.
The improbable location
A September 1929 newspaper article states that “Bunn’s Hotel was situated in Hartley-street, at the intersection of Steel and Robert Streets.” The article is reporting the reminiscences of local residents nearly 50 years after the Pine Apple Hotel closed. I am almost certain that they were confusing the Pine Apple Hotel with the Coal Miners’ Home Hotel, which was located at that intersection during the same period that the Pine Apple Hotel was operating.
There is no other evidence I could find, in newspaper reports or government gazettes or land sale information, either before or afterwards that corroborates the 1929 suggestion that the Pine Apple Hotel was in Steel/Robert Street.
The hotel was located at 52 Robert St Jesmond. Because Richard, Isabella and John Sneddon were licensees for over 20 years, it was also known as “Sneddon’s Hotel”.
William Hellier purchased a block of land between Robert and Michael Streets in Jesmond in March 1875. (Vol-Fol 206-27) In August 1875 he was granted a publican’s license for “The Jesmond Hotel”.
In July 1887, Hellier sold the property to Richard Sneddon who also became licensee of the hotel. In Februray 1900, Sneddon sold the hotel to Castlemaine Brewery and Wood Brothers, but remained as licensee.
The growing influence of the temperance movement led to the “Local Option Vote” in NSW in September 1907, a referendum where people could vote whether to continue, reduce, or eliminate licensed premises in their electorate.
When the result had been tallied, of the 90 electorates in NSW, 25 voted for a continuance of licenses, while 65 voted for a reduction in licenses, including Kahibah electorate which contained Lambton township. A special licensing court in July 1908 decided to reduce the number of hotels in the Kahibah electorate by 7, some to be closed immediately, and some given a few years notice. The Jesmond Hotel was one of the hotels selected for closure, and given three years notice.
One interesting side notes, is that some months prior to this decision, in May 1908 an advertisement had appeared in the paper, calling for tenders for the rebuilding of the hotel in brick. This may have been a pre-emptive move by the hotel owners to ward off possible closure by demonstrating the go-ahead nature of their enterprise. Needless to say, with the licensing board’s decision to close the hotel in three years time, the brick re-build never eventuated.
The Jesmond Hotel continued to trade until July 1911. Two years later in July 1913 the hotel land and buildings were put up for sale and purchased by James Stevenson, a miner from Jesmond.
The Royal Hotel was situated on the north west corner of Elder and Grainger Streets. Joseph Hunter purchased Lot 14 of Section F in Lambton township in November 1865. (Vol-Fol 25-7) Ten years later in July 1875, Hunter was granted a publican’s license and opened a hotel on the site. After Joseph Hunter died in May 1880, his widow Ann ran the hotel for a year until Martin Durham became licensee in 1881. The hotel seems to have lasted not very long after this, with the last mention in the papers being a brief reference to “Durham’s Hotel” in June 1882.
Also known as the “Coal Miners’ Arms”, there is very scant information and no photographs available for this short-lived and unsuccessful hotel.
Lewis Haines, a miner from Lambton, purchased Lot 1 of Section B on the corner of Robert St in the township of Jesmond in December 1873. In June 1876 he was granted a publican’s license for “The Coal Miners’ Home Hotel” in Jesmond.
Within a few months, in September 1876 Haines was advertising the hotel for sale or to let.
A sale did not eventuate at this time, the land records showing that Haines retained ownership of the land until 1883. There was another attempt to sell in June 1877, the agent describing the hotel and property as …
…. being nearly a new house,and doing a large business. This stands upon one acre of fine cultivating land; has six chains frontage to the main road, with kitchen, stable, outhouses, and a splendid orchard. This is the most compact place, on the main road to Wallsend.
The “six chains” (=120 metres) frontage to the main road matches the dimensions of Lewis Haines block, with 60 metres frontage on each side of the corner block. No sale occurred, with the agent withdrawing the property from sale “as there was no bid covering the reserve price.”
Sometime before October 1878, it appears that the licensee was Robert McBain (or possibly McBlain) who advertised the hotel and attached orchard for let. The last licensee was Young Bedford, who for reasons unknown abandoned the hotel in March 1879, resulting in the cancellation of the license. The hotel never re-opened. The following month in April 1879 the property was put up for auction, but like the previous two attempts, no sale eventuated.
Henry Johnson, a miner from Lambton, purchased Lot 8 of Section L of Lambton township in March 1873. (Vol-Fol 154-25)
By July 1874 Johnson was operating a boarding house on the site. In January 1877 the Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate reported that …
Mr. James Bradley has opened the premises lately occupied by Mr. Johnson as a boarding house, in Howe-street, as an hotel, under the sign of the Miners’ Arms. Mr. Bradley has been employed at the Lambton Colliery for many years, and is held in the greatest respect by his fellow workman, and for that reason alone, no doubt, will receive to [sic] share of support.
By August 1878 Thomas Stokes had become the licensee, and ran the Miners’ Arms in Henry Johnson’s premises for the next three years. This situation with Stokes as licensee and Johnson as owner was one that suited neither of them, and each had their own plans to be both owner and licensee of a hotel on Howe Street!
In January 1876 Henry Johnson had purchased Lot 10 of Section L, on the corner of Howe and Morehead Streets, and in January 1880 Thomas Stokes purchased Lot 9, the block of land between Johnson’s two properties. On 15 February 1881 at the Lambton Police Court, Stokes “applied for a transfer of his license for the Miners’ Arms Hotel, Howe-street, to another house in the same street.” Johnson’s legal representative Mr Dart objected to the application …
“… on the grounds that the applicant [Stokes] taking the license from the [Johnson’s] house and closing it would reduce the capital value of the same, and also that the house to which he [Stokes] applied to have the license transferred was not fitted for a licensed house.”
Stokes’ legal representative Mr G Wallace countered the objection by pointing out …
“… that his client had, as the lease had expired, a perfect right to transfer the license to another house. Mr. Johnson was about to apply for a license for a new house in Howe-street, and had it in his power to eject Mr, Stokes at any time if he wished, and in the event of his doing so Mr. Stokes had no redress.”
It is a little difficult to ascertain the exact motivations here, but it seems that with Henry Johnson about to set himself up as both owner and licensee of a hotel, he was keen to prevent Stokes doing the same. Johnson had a win on this occasion, for after inspecting the Stokes’ premises the Bench “refused the application on the ground that the house was too small to be licensed.”
Henry Johnson then proceeded with his plan of setting himself up as a licensed publican in his premises on Lot 10 (corner of Morehead and Howe Streets). On 8 March 1881 at Lambton Police Court …
“A license was granted to Henry Johnson for a house in Morehead-street, Lambton, to be known by the sign of the Exchange Hotel.”
Not to be outdone, the very next week on 18 March 1881 Thomas Stokes again made application to transfer the Miners’ Arms license to his own premises. Again, Henry Johnson objected, but this time in vain, his objection …
“… was ruled informal as he had not given the applicant the usual seven day’s notice of his intention to object.”
Stokes’ application was granted, and he moved the Miners’ Arms from Johnson’s house on Lot 8 into his own property on Lot 9, right next door to Johnson’s new Exchange Hotel on Lot 10!
In July 1908, the Local Option Court for the Kahibah electorate handed down their decision on seven hotels to be closed. The Miners’ Arms Hotel at Lambton (Thomas O’Malley, licensee) was given three years notification to close. With no long term future for the hotel, O’Malley almost immediately had his license transferred to William Harney. The hotel only traded for another two years, at the Newcastle Licensing Court in July 1910 …
Inspector Goulder reported that the license of the Miners’ Arms Hotel, Lambton, had not been renewed, the premises having closed on June 30th.
Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, 8 July 1910.
This very short lived hotel was located somewhere in Dickson St, with John Edwards being the one and only licensee. Edwards’ wife Hannah purchased a block of land in Dickson St in 1872, and it is possible the hotel was located on this site, which is now 59 Dickson St. There are no known photographs of the hotel.
In January 1881 John Edwards advertised a six-roomed dwelling house to let, with instructions to apply at the Royal Oak Hotel. After the license renewal listed in the Government Gazette in September 1881, there are no further mentions of the hotel.
Opened in Elder St in July 1878 as the Race Horse Inn, in premises owned by William Reay, and Henry Doherty as the first licensee. The name changed to Reay’s Hotel in June 1881 when William Reay acquired the hotel’s license.
William Reay purchased the western half of Lot 8 Section H in Lambton township in April 1876. (Vol-Fol 260-76) This is 91 Elder Street today.
In November 1880 Richard Ward, the licensee of the Marquis of Lorne hotel, made application to move his license to premises in Elder Street. The owners of the Marquis of Lorne Hotel (Wood Brothers) objected and the licensing court refused the application. In December 1880 Ward then successfully “applied for a license for a house in Elder-street, to be known as the Commercial Hotel.”
There is very little further information available on the hotel and by April 1882, the Commercial Hotel premises occupied by Ward was advertised for sale, and there is no further mention of the hotel operating after this time. Interestingly, it is the subsequent property sales that allow us to identify the probable location of Ward’s hotel.
From this advertisement we know that the hotel was on the north side of Elder Street as it was …
“… erected upon a quarter of an acre of land, fronting Elder-street, and running through to De-Vitre-street, thus having two frontages to the principal streets.”
In August 1882 the Newcastle Morning Herald reported that …
“Messrs. W. Lightfoot and Son have removed to Lambton, and commenced business in the premises in Elder-street, lately known as the Commercial Hotel, as grocers, drapers, ironmongers, dealers in colonial produce, etc.”
A few years later, in January 1885, the property was again advertised for sale, split into two allotments.
The first allotment is described as having a frontage to Elder St of 33 feet. Note however that the second allotment has a frontage to Elder St of 18 feet but a frontage to De Vitre St of 35 feet. The difference in frontages can only occur if the block is either wedge shaped, or has an irregular shape. Searching through the chain of land sales on the north side of Elder St shows that there is only one allotment of land sold in this period that has an irregular shape with a frontage to Elder St as described, that being the west half of Lot 5. (The actual frontage is 32 feet 5 inches, not 33 feet – but we all know that real estate agents like to talk things up.)
This site is at address 102-104 Elder St, where Raine & Horne Real Estate was formerly located, and Williams Artisan Bread & Espresso is currently located.
The hotel was located on the north east corner of Ralph and Robert Streets in Jesmond. The hotel building still exists today, and is a private residence.
In May 1876 George Smith purchased Lot 10 of Section C in the private township of Jesmond. (Vol-Fol 266-98)
Within a few months, the newspaper reported that …
“Mr. George Smith is erecting a splendid store and dwelling-house. The building is two stories, and composed of brick, containing about ten rooms in all. It is now nearly completed, excepting the doors and windows and inside fittings. When finished, it will be one of the most imposing buildings in the district.”
However it seems that Smith (or his building contractor) wasn’t careful about where the Lot boundary was, and part of the building encroached into the then vacant and unsold adjoining Lot 9. In 1883 when James Mitchell purchased Lot 10 from George Smith, he also needed to purchase a little triangular wedge of Lot 9.
The encroachment of the building over the original Lot boundary can be graphically seen in the Title Certificate of a later sale of Lot 9.
James Mitchell having acquired the land and building in 1883 “expended a large amount of money on the house” and applied for a publican’s license in April 1885. Mr Perrott, the magistrate at the licensing court refused the application “on the ground that the reasonable requirements of the place did not justify the granting of it”, adding “the spending of a lot of money on a house did not entitle it to be licensed.”
It is not clear what (if anything) changed, but six months later in October 1885, Mitchell submitted the application again before the same licensing magistrate, but this time the application was granted, and the Marquis of Midlothian hotel was opened.
James Mitchell remained as publican until November 1891, when the license was transferred to Bartholomew Davison. Davison renewed the license in November 1892, but there is no mention of the hotel operating after this time. It is probable that it had ceased trading by February 1893 when the property was advertised for sale. This was but one of many unsuccessful attempts by Mitchell to sell his property in June 1888, April 1891, February 1893 and January 1900.
In April 1902, Thomas Henry Armstrong applied to re-open the hotel under the new name of the “Sportsmans’ Arms”. After hearing arguments for and against the granting of a license, the Newcastle Licensing Court reached their decision …
“The application was refused on the grounds that the requirements of the place did not justify a license.”
The property was sold later that year on 23 August 1902 to John Henry Mitchell. In 1929 when there was a proposal for a new hotel in Jesmond, residents opposed to the application recalled Jesmond hotels of bygone days …
“The building which was known as Mitchell’s Hotel is still intact, and is occupied as a private dwelling. Mitchell’s Hotel was regarded as a sporting place, and could boast having one of the best ball alleys in the district. A large crowd usually assembled on what was recognised as the miners’ pay-Saturdays, and witnessed many exciting handball matches and handicaps, which were commenced early in the morning and continued until nightfall.”
How many hotels does a mining township need? In the boom years of the 19th century the answer was ‘lots’. But after World War 1 the answer was ‘less’, for these were the years of the Licenses Reduction Board. The Reservoir Hotel on Newcastle Road at Lambton was one of the casualties of the board’s deliberations 100 years ago.
In 1864 Robert Cairns opened the “Lambton Arms” in Pearson St, the first of many hotels in the town. As the population grew, so did the number of hotels, reaching a peak of 16 in 1881. In 1888, John Cox commissioned a new hotel on the main road opposite the town’s recently installed water reservoir. The two-storey weatherboard building, designed by architects Bennett and Yeomans, contained sixteen rooms and a cellar, and opened for business in July 1888 with Jacob Dent as the first licensee.
Fourteen publicans ran the hotel in the following 33 years, until the Licenses Reduction Board brought an end. The board was born out of the Prohibition movement, but not in the way you might expect. In the face of growing activism from groups wanting to ban all alcohol, a citizen’s association was formed in 1919 to “oppose the extreme and ruinous legislation proposed by prohibitionists”, and to instead promote a policy of “moderation and temperance”.
In December 1919 the NSW parliament passed a bill that instituted the Licenses Reduction Board. Their purpose was to reduce the number of licensed premises to a maximum based on population, by closing hotels with a history of liquor act convictions, or those in poor physical condition. Compensation was to be paid to owners and licensees.
During 1920 the board inspected 152 hotels in the Newcastle area, and on 28 January 1921 announced its decision that 23 licenses were to be revoked, including the Reservoir Hotel at Lambton. In August 1921 John Baptist Beisler, the final publican of the hotel, closed the bar for the last time. The building has been a private residence since that day.
The article above was first published in the January 2021 edition of The Local.
A report in the Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate on 31 May 1888 provides details of the newly opened Reservoir Hotel …
The completion of the new hotel built to the order of Mr. J. Cox, of the Yacht Club Hotel, Newcastle, by Mr. George Froome, of Wallsend, Messrs. Bennett and Yeomans being the architects, was marked by Mr. Cox inviting some of his Newcastle and district friends to inspect the building, and after wards do the usual honours in favour of Mr. Jacob Dent, of Lambton, who will be the lessee on opening. The hotel is splendidly situated, near the reservoir on the Lambton Wallsend-road, commanding a splendid view of at least three fourths of the district. It is a weather-board building, containing sixteen rooms and commodious cellar, out-houses, stable, &c., being built on an entirely improved plan, which reflects great credit on the architects and builder. All the rooms are well ventilated and lighted, a splendid balcony runs around half of the building with a frontage to George-street and the main road; in fact all that can be desired, in the way of an hotel in the strictest sense of the word is to be found in the building.
There were a total of 14 licensees of the Reservoir Hotel in its 33 year history.
It is important to remember when researching old hotels, that the licensee of the hotel is not necessarily the same as the person who owns the land and hotel building. Regarding the ownership of the Reservoir Hotel, Volume-Folio 806-208 in the Historical Land Records Viewer shows that John Cox purchased the land in August 1886, being Lots 1 and 28 of Section B
Volume-Folio 806-208 shows that the property was then leased to “John Thomas Toohey and James Matthew Toohey of Sydney, Brewers”, in February 1893.
John Cox owned the land until his death in 1900, and then his widow, Ellen Jane Cox sold the land to “Castlemaine Brewery and Wood Brothers and Company, Newcastle” in June 1902. They retained ownership of the property for the remainder of the working life of the hotel.
John Baptist Beisler, the final licensee of the Reservoir Hotel, held the license for less than a year. In 1930 Beisler obtained the license of the Marquis of Lorne Hotel in Morehead St, and he and his wife and his family held the licence of that hotel for an impressive 46 years, until the family sold the business in 1976.
The Licenses Reduction Board
In Sydney in March 1919, a the Citizens’ Rights and Liquor Reform Association was formed, to advocate a middle ground between ‘prohibition’ and ‘business as usual’ in the alcohol trade. The report in The Sun newspaper on 20 March 1919 explained the association’s objectives, one of which was the establishment of a Licenses Reduction Board..
A number of Sydney citizens believe that liquor reform is one of the most vital problems before the people of Australia at this time. There have hitherto been only two alternatives — continuance of the liquor traffic and its palpable abuses or absolute prohibition. These men also believe that the real solution lies in neither of these extremes. They prefer the means of moderation and temperance … the new organisation will “oppose the extreme and ruinous legislation proposed by prohibitionists, aided and abetted by the money and the professional, agitators of the American Anti-Saloon League, who, by an impertinence and arrogance unparalleled in Australian history, have injected themselves and their theories into an arena hitherto regarded as inviolably domestic.” On the other hand, the association will use all its power to bring about real temperance reform.
Some of its objectives are: — The elimination of unnecessary and undesirable hotels through a Licenses Reduction Board; cancellation of the licenses of unscrupulous licensees and their permanent disqualification; making all hotels actually and in fact places of public accommodation and reputable social entertainment; and reduction of alcoholic strength of liquors.
There was much debate throughout 1919 in the papers and in Parliament about how the Liquor Act should be reformed. Finally, in the early hours of Wednesday morning 18 December 1919, the Parliament passed the final stage of the “Liquor (Amendment) Act 1919”.
The Act covered include a number of reforms, including …
Establishment of a Licenses Reduction Board
No new liquor or publican’s licenses to be granted
Reduce the number of publican’s licenses over a period of three years
by a number not exceeding one fourth
to a maximum number based on a formula involving the size of the electorate.
The board to hold hearings to assess which licensed premises might be closed.
Premises to consider for delicensing to include those where
there have been convictions for selling alcohol to minors, selling to intoxicated persons, gaming or prostitution offences
“the business in the premises is so badly conducted as to be a serious inconvenience to persons requiring accommodation, or a nuisance to the neighbours, or insufficiently provided with proper sanitary conveniences”
Assess the amount of compensation to be paid to owners and licenses
In Newcastle, “the board carefully inspected each of the 152 licensed premises in the electorate” and in January 1921 announced their decision that the following 23 hotels were to have their license removed.
Selbourne Hotel, Newcastle
Royal Crown Hotel, Adamstown
Strand Hotel, Newcastle
Railway Hotel, West Newcastle
Federal Hotel, Stockton
Carrington Hotel, Wallsend-Plattsburg
Grapes Inn Hotel, Wallsend-Plattsburg
Imperial Hotel, Wallsend-Plattsburg
Northumberland Hotel, Wallsend-Plattsburg
Miners’ Arms Hotel, Young Wallsend (Edgeworth)
Bonnie Doon Hotel, Minmi
All Nations’ Hotel, Newcastle
Masonic Hotel, Newcastle
Newcastle Hotel, Newcastle
Australian Hotel, Newcastle
Mafeking Hotel, Newcastle
Miners’ Arms Hotel, Newcastle
Clyde Hotel, Carrington
Central Hotel, Lambton
Reservoir Hotel, Lambton
Royal Hotel, Wallsend
Railway Hotel, Minmi
Tattersalls Hotel, West Wallsend
The licenses weren’t revoked immediately, but simply not renewed at the expiration of the current annual license. The board also determined compensation to be paid, and announced their decision in May 1921. For the Reservoir Hotel in Lambton, compensation was decided to be “£1450 to owner, £190 licensee; total, £1640.”
Other Lambton hotels
In the article I wrote that the number of hotels in Lambton reached a peak of 16 in 1881. The graphic below charts the evolution of hotels in Lambton from 1864 to the present. In compiling the list I am including hotels that were in the Lambton Municipality, so that includes hotels that were in Dark Creek, that is the area of Jesmond east of the inner city bypass.
Application by Jacob Dent for a "Conditional Publican's License for premises proposed to be erected at the intersection of George and Young streets, Lambton, to be known by the sign of Dent's Reservoir Hotel."
At the Licenses Reduction Board hearing for the Reservoir Hotel ... "Inspector Cook produced certificates of
two convictions, one in May, 1919, and the other in October, 1919. Sergeant Harrison said the hotel was an old weatherboard building in a fair state of repair. Four bedrooms were available to the public. The conduct was good. Travellers did not use it a great deal, but it served a population of about 1000."
The Licenses Reduction Board delivers its report at the Newcastle Courthouse, announcing that 23 hotels in the Newcastle Electorate should be deprived of their licenses, including the Reservoir Hotel and Central Hotel in Lambton.
A few weeks ago I attended a Zoom seminar run by Newcastle Family History Society, at which Jeff Madsen explained how to navigate and search the Historical Land Records Viewer to find old land title certificates, which can contain valuable historical information, as well as the occasional map.
I had used this service before to find some old maps, but was never able to find anything when searching the Torrens (land titles) records. I learnt that the reason why I never found anything is because none of the contents are indexed. The only way you can find a land title certificate is if you know the Volume and Folio number. This is often referred to as the Vol-Fol, and is searched for by entering the numbers separated by a hyphen as shown below.
Without a Vol-Fol number, your chance of finding what you want is literally millions to one. However, having found a title certificate (that’s a story for another post), it will often contain a reference to the previous certificate, and possibly one or more references to following certificates. These links then form a ‘Chain of Title’ that shows the progressive changes of ownership and subdivision of land. Using this concept of ‘chain of title’, starting with my own property in Lambton I was able to trace the chain back to the original mineral lease granted to Morehead and Young in 1863 (Vol-Fol 2-4), and then trace the chain forward to Vol-Fol 3-156 from 1864 wherein the plan of the township of Lambton appears on page 3.
Finding this map was very exciting. It is the oldest map I had found of Lambton, more than 30 years older than what I had seen before. The map revealed a few interesting details:
It confirmed my previous suspicion that the original name for Howe St was How St, almost certainly named after Robert How, an investor in the Scottish and Australian Mining Company.
The main road from Wallsend to Newcastle was originally going to be Dickson St.
The section of Grainger St between Dickson St and Young St (Newcastle Rd now) was originally called Reservoir St.
Grainger St appears on this map as “Granger” without the ‘i’. Unlike the ‘How/Howe’ discrepancy, this is almost certainly a mis-spelling on the 1864 map. Newspaper reports and Government Gazettes overwhelmingly and from an early date spell it as “Grainger”. The street is named after “Charles Garston Grainger” which returns 454 results in Trove, whereas searching for “Charles Garston Granger” returns no results.
This month’s photograph, taken at the border between Lambton and New Lambton looking along Howe Street invites the question “Why is a large group of well-dressed adults and children walking along the tram track towards Lambton?” The answer turns out to be related to transport, but not to trams.
Afterwards the Lambton Colliery railway was occasionally used to convey passengers to special events. One example was the Lambton Public School annual picnic day on Wednesday 25 February 1903. At 9am a train of seven cars left Lambton colliery with 500 children and 400 adults on board and headed for Toronto. On arrival there were refreshments, sports competitions, musical entertainments, and Ralph Snowball was on hand to take group photographs.
At day’s end the picnickers returned by train to Lambton and disembarked near the bridge over the tram line. In the fading light of a summer’s evening as they headed for their homes, Snowball took a final photograph, capturing one of the last occasions a passenger train arrived at Lambton.
The article above was first published in the November 2020 edition of The Local.
In the article published in The Local, I stated without qualification that the Snowball photo was taken on 25 February 1903 on the occasion of the Lambton Public School Picnic. It is important to note that the photo has no direct attribution to this date and event, but this conclusion is based on indirect evidence. Behind this story was an interesting case of how to locate and date a photograph.
When the University of Newcastle Cultural Collections first uploaded Snowball’s photo to their Flickr site, somehow it was mistakenly captioned “View from a train, Singleton”. In 2013 both John Shoebridge and Robert Watson identified that the scene was Lambton, and not Singleton. Robert in particular confirmed the location as being Lambton by comparing a number of houses on the top of the hill with another old photo of Lambton.
The next step in unravelling the mystery came six years later, when Robert revisited the photo and made two key observations.
The people in the photo are almost all women and children, with very few men.
A couple of the children are waving flags.
I did a careful count of the people in the photo and found that adult women outnumbered the adult men, three to one. This would indicate that the event being captured took place on a weekday, when the majority of men would be at work. The large number of children would then suggest that this is a school event. This is supported by looking at one of the flags being held aloft, which appears to be the NSW State flag, suggesting that the event was connected with the Lambton Public School.
Prompted by Robert’s observations I then made a third key observation – that the crowd in the photo is not random or dispersing. With one lone exception there are no people in the side streets. Everyone is heading in the same direction. This would indicate that the people are moving as a group, having come from a particular point and heading towards a particular destination. This would be consistent with the idea that the group has just disembarked from a train on the colliery railway and are heading home to Lambton.
One final and compelling confirmation of this dating, came from Newcastle Library’s Hunter Photo Bank collection. Knowing that the collection had quite a number of Ralph Snowball picnic photos, I searched the collection and found a photo that Ralph had taken at the school picnic at Toronto on that day. It is quite probable that Snowball travelled with the school group in the chartered train, and took a photograph of the disembarked passengers from the train carriage up on the embankment before the rail line traversed the bridges over Hobart Rd and Howe St.
There is one other documented occasion, on 23 November 1900, when Lambton Public School travelled by train to a picnic at Toronto. It may be that Snowball’s photo was from this earlier picnic, but given the Hunter Photo Bank picnic photo, I think it much more likely that it is of the February 1903 picnic.
The Waratah Company Rail LINE Passenger Service
Passenger train services to and from Lambton on the Waratah Coal Company’s railway commenced on Monday 25 April 1874, with a special train on the Queen’s birthday public holiday. Regular weekly Saturday evening services then commenced the following Saturday 30 May 1874. By March 1875, falling patronage meant that services were reduced to alternate Saturdays. The last passenger train on the line ran on Saturday 19 August 1887.
Passenger pick-up and set-down was at a location known as “Betty Bunn’s Crossing”, which was the point where the road between Lambton and Waratah crossed the coal company’s railway.
I have never seen an old map with Betty Bunn’s Crossing marked on it, but all the evidence of many newspaper articles points to it being the crossing of the Waratah coal rail line with the Lambton to Waratah road. Another reasonably clear indication of the location is the death notice for Thomas George Griffith who died “at Betty Bunn’s Crossing” in 1918. The 1906 map shows his property adjacent to the crossing.
By August 1863 the Lambton colliery railway was almost completed : "… the Waratah and Lambton Collieries, whose branch lines are already formed, only requiring some further slight addition being made to their permanent ways."
"A meeting of miners was held at Pit Town, for the purpose of expressing the disapprobation of themselves and the inhabitants of Lambton and Pit Town generally, at the recent raising of the passenger's fares on the Lambton railway from 6d. to 11d. The meeting resolved that a deputation of four wait upon Mr. Croudace, the colliery manager, and ask him to represent to the Government the following requests, namely: 1. That the fares be lowered to 6d ; 2. That return tickets be issued on the railway ; 3. That a carriage in lieu of the present break van be substituted for passengers."
"Within the past few days a memorial has been taken round the city, to which the names of a large number of the inhabitants have been attached, for presentation to the Minister for Works, with reference to having a regular passenger train to run between this city and the various coal mines, on a Saturday, for the convenience of the people residing in those localities who are desirous of visiting Newcastle."
Call for a passenger train on the Lambton railway … "Why not, in order to give the enterprise a fair chance, have a thorough special train for Saturday afternoons, to leave Old Lambton (which would suit the requirements of the neighbourhood of Dark Creek and New Lambton, too) say, at, from four
to half-past four o'clock."
The letter writer also notes the bad state of the roads … "Lambtonians have to wend their way
betimes up to their knees in mud through a nasty road, extending over a distance of from two to five miles, to reach the Government six o'clock train at Waratah, which is by no means a pleasant undertaking, particularly after a hard day's work, and which few, from mere choice, care about tackling, I can tell you. "
In regard to "a petition from the inhabitants of Lambton, praying that a goods and passenger train may be run to Newcastle" the Commissoner of Railways writes that "by a special arrangement with Messrs. Morehead and Young, a passenger train used to run to Lambton, but in January, '67, they asked to be relieved ; this was consented to, and the traffic then ceased. I cannot, therefore, reintroduce the practice without, the consent of Messrs. Morehead and Young."
It appears that there are occasional passenger services on the Lambton line on pay Saturday's … "This being pay-night, the principal street in the city was more thronged than we have seen it for a considerable time past. The various trains from Wallsend and Lambton brought in a large number of passengers, and these added much to fill our main street."
"Here is the case of the people living at Lambton and New Lambton ; and so far as railway communication is concerned, they are completely isolated, although when the pits are at work they have from four to five trains per day running to each of the collieries; but being private ones, and the
proprietors refusing to allow passenger traffic on them."
A one-off experiment of a passenger service to be tried. "The committee appointed to agitate for a train to run between Newcastle and Lambton have at last succeeded, after great exertions and through strenuous efforts … A special passenger train will run from Newcastle to Old Lambton Crossing on Saturday night, the 28th February, 1874. The train will leave Lambton for Newcastle on or about 5 o'clock p.m., and returning from Newcastle to Lambton on or about 11 p.m. The fares will be 9d. for the return ticket and sixpence for the single fare."
"A Saturday night train commenced to run from Lambton to Newcastle on the 28th ultimo, and over 500 return tickets were taken, besides single ones; the brass band accompanied the excursionists, amounting in number to about 900. "
"Saturday last was a new era in Lambtonian history. The passenger train, as announced, arrived here about 4 p.m. with fourteen carriages and the van, and long before the appointed time for starting almost every available seat was occupied. We have heard that there were more than 500 tickets sold. If this train is to be permanent, as we hope it will, there will have to be some other arrangement for giving out the tickets, for it will never do for people to have to climb up into the guard's van, as was the case on Saturday."
"This train is a fine thing for the business people in Newcastle, but quite the reverse for our town's business folk, who are considerably down in the mouth about so much ready money going out of their
hands … the next step ought to be to agitate for a goods train to be run here."
Newcastle Chronicle's report of a public meeting to discuss getting a passenger train service to Lambton. An allegation is made that business people agitated against aregular train service as it would hurt their trade.
Mr W Goodhew “observed that the Lambton line was a good and convenient one no doubt, but when they were allowed the use of it on one night, and deprived of it the next what dependence could be placed on it. He moved that application be made to the directors of the Waratah Coal Company for permission to run the train on their line of railway to the new tunnel, to Betty Bunn's crossing.”
The Newcastle Morning Herald's report of the public meeting regarding a passenger train service to Lambton. The report notes that "Mr. Croudace, the Manager, has granted permission for a passenger train to be run from here to Newcastle on the demonstration day and also for a Saturday night's train for four Saturdays ; and if it proves payable, the train will run regularly." Despite this promising sign, a regular train service on the Lambton line never eventuated.
"Great disappointment was felt at the non-arrival of the passenger train last Saturday evening. There were about 200 or 300 passengers waiting, who had to return to their homes annoyed. The blame is attributed to Mr. Croudace, for, I believe if he would consent to the train's running, the Government
would; and, the advantage the inhabitants would derive would be very great."
"The subcommittee appointed to conduct the application to the Waratah Coal Company, for a passenger train to be laid on, have received a reply from the directors, expressing their willingness to
grant the request … The sub-committee accordingly waited upon Mr. Higgs, the traffic manager, to
gain the required Government permission, and that gentleman has informed them that there were some arrangements pending respecting a train to be laid on by the Lambton Company, which had not yet been decided upon."
"A meeting of parties interested in the Lambton train movement was held at the Lambton crossing, Mr. T. Hardy in the chair, when it was determined to send a deputation to the Minister for Works, to impress upon him the necessity of running a passenger train to this town at once."
"I have been instructed to inform you that the directors of the Waratah Coal Company have no objection to the Government running, for the convenience of the inhabitants of the district, on Saturday nights and holidays passenger trains on the Waratah Coal Company's private line of railway,
from the junction with Great Northern Railway to the Company's new tunnel, at the same rate as it is
done on the Wallsend Coal Company's line, provided arrangements are made so as not to interfere with the Waratah Company's coal traffic, and that the Government construct at its own cost all sidings,
platforms, landing places, &c., which may be required for passenger traffic."
The following Monday, being a public holiday for Queen Victoria's birthday, "arrangements were made for the train to leave Bunn's crossing on Monday, 25th May at half-past 10 o'clock a.m."
First passenger train on the Waratah Company railway.
"The Railway Auditors laid on a train from Bunn's Crossing, on the Waratah Company's line, on Queen's Birthday, which was moderately patronised."
In the same week that passenger trains start running to Lambton on the Waratah Company line, promises are being made to run passenger trains on the Lambton colliery line … "The following arrangement was made, between Mr. Croudace, on behalf of the Lambton Company, and the Minister,
viz., that [Government] trains should be run ... that the Company give their line free and keep it clear of their own traffic ... The Government to take all other responsibility … this arrangement to come in force immediately after the holidays."
In spite of this arrangement being made, nothing came of it.
"Although the Minister for Works promised that a passenger train should be run to this town on the first Saturday after the holidays, no communication whatever has been received by the Traffic Manager on the subject. The arrangement made between the Minister for Works and Mr. Croudace was that four trains should be run, commencing on the first Saturday after Queen's Birthday."
"On Saturday, the first evening train for passengers ran from the Waratah Co.'s Tunnels to Newcastle, for the accommodation of a large population in that neighbourhood. The number of passengers by whom it was availed of, amply testified the necessity for the convenience. We take it for granted that the train will be continued, as otherwise the people of Grovestown and Lambton would have to give
up all idea of getting into Newcastle during the winter evenings, either by way of the Broad Meadow or Waratah, the former being a sheet of water, and the latter a perfect slough of mud."
"Nothing further has transpired here with reference to the granting of a passenger train [on the Lambton line], and many are now of opinion that it will not be allowed, as the one from the
Waratah Tunnels is so central."
After the death of Andrew Tunney on the railway line, the passenger service to Lambton is halted. A conspiracy theory arises that storekeepers on the inquest jury had a vested interest in stopping the passenger service in order to keep business in the town.
"I believe that it is also intended to make another effort towards getting a passenger train on the Lambton line, and with some chance of success. Mr. Croudace has been heard to express his willingness to allow it, and no doubt the Government will have seen by this time the fallacy of running the train to the Waratah New Tunnels. As a proof that they have seen their mistake the train is now only run on alternate Saturdays, and then with very few passengers, the majority of the people preferring to walk to Waratah station or down the line to Hamilton rather than go to the new tunnels, which is very little nearer."
A public meeting to petition the Governemnt "asking them to construct a branch line of railway from the Great Northern, through Lambton, and thence to Wallsend."
"It was one of the anomalies of the coal-mining district of Newcastle that a line of railway came into the centre of each township, and yet the residents could not travel on these lines at all, or they did so as a favour, granted by the coal companies, which they could withdraw at any time."
The movement pushing for this railway never gained momentum. Instead, in the next decade the push was for a tram line rather than a train line to Wallsend.
The possibility of running a special passenger train on Lambton line to take patrons to see a performance of “Little Nell” at the Victoria Theatre is discussed. "I am sure that Mr. Croudace would allow a train to run on his railway for this purpose. He has obliged Mr. Bennett in this way before
and would do so again."
A rather tongue-in-cheek one sentence report of a minor incident on the Waratah Tunnels line … "The gates on the Waratah Railway were closed when the Passenger train was coming up from Newcastle on New Year's night, but the engine opened them without a key."
"The alteration in time of the Pay-Saturdays' passenger train to the Waratah Company's Tunnel, from 2 o'clock p.m. to 11 o'clock a m., does not meet with the approbation of the public. The housewives especially are dissatisfied with the alteration, as 11 o'clock is too soon for them to leave home, having their domestic duties to attend to."
"At the last Municipal Council meeting Alderman Thornton very properly drew attention to the want of accommodation, in the shape of a platform, at the Waratah Company's tunnel, for the use of passengers travelling from there to Newcastle on pay Saturdays."
Lambton Public School picnic to Toronto. "About 9 a.m. upwards of 600 children, all nicely dressed in holiday attire, with their flags and banners, presented themselves at the school grounds, and formed a spectacle well worth witnessing. A procession was then formed, and the little ones marched along Elder-street and through the park to the Lambton Colliery railway, where, thanks to the kindness of Mr. T. Croudace in granting the use of the line, a train of seven cars awaited them."
Planning meeting for the Lambton Public School picnic. "It was decided to hold the picnic at Toronto, entraining the children at the Lambton Colliery railway, as in the previous year, if Mr. Croudace and
Mr. Kitching will permit the train to run on the colliery line."
(The reference to a picnic train "in the previous year" is a little puzzling, as I can find no record of that event. It may be that it is a time-inaccurate reference to the picnic in November 1900, two years previously.)
"The annual picnic of the Lambton Public School will be held on Wednesday, the 25th instant. The train will leave Lambton Colliery at 9 a.m., calling at all stations on the way to Toronto. There has been an energetic committee at work for some months, preparing for the event, and it is hoped that the parents will show their appreciation of the good work done by attending in large numbers on that day."
"The annual picnic of the local Public School, took place at Toronto on Wednesday, and was largely attended by the parents and the general public. A train of seven cars left the Lambton Colliery railway at 9 a.m., containing about 500 children and 400 adults … The return journey was made in time to allow
the little ones to get home before dark."
I’ve seen it written before (but I can’t recall where) and seen it again recently, an assertion that Thomas Croudace was a megalomaniacal mine manager who built his house (Lambton Lodge) at the top of the hill so that he could watch his workers go to and from the mine, monitoring their movements.
Apart from this being an unfair and very one-sided representation of Croudace’s character, it’s also a topographical absurdity. The Lambton colliery was in a valley (where Lewis Oval is today) that is not visible from the site of Lambton Lodge. Similarly Lambton township is in a valley, and a large proportion of the town is not visible from the Lambton Lodge hill 1.6km away.
Google Earth Pro has a neat feature called viewshed analysis, that shades in green areas that are visible from a specified point. Even from a height 10 metres above the ground at Lambton Lodge, both the township and colliery are hidden from view.
Lambton may have begun as a mining town, but it takes more than miners to make a town. Among the first of hundreds of people who came to Lambton after the mine opened in 1863, were Scottish immigrants Daniel and Ann Morgan. Daniel is reported to have built the fourth house in Lambton. Around 1866 he started a grocery and drapery business, leasing a building appropriately known as “The Pioneer Stores”.
In 1873 Morgan had his own premises erected in Grainger St. Within two years he had a larger store and residence erected at 127 Elder St, to accommodate a growing business and the raising of three sons and seven daughters. The sign on the front advertised the store as a grocers and drapers, a common combination in those days. Often associated with drapery was millinery, and a close inspection of the right-hand window of Morgan’s store reveals a collection of ladies’ hats on display. This is a reminder that although only the “Sons” appeared in the store name, the daughters were an integral part of the family business.
Daniel Morgan suffered poor-health for his last 20 years, and died on 22 August 1896, aged 62. Two days later he was conveyed by train from Waratah station to Sandgate Cemetery for burial. The Lambton correspondent for the Newcastle Morning Herald reported that “The event cast quite a gloom over this town, as the deceased and his family held a high place in the esteem of all classes of the community.”
Following Daniel’s death, his wife Ann and his children continued to operate the store. Ann died in 1915 aged 76, and was buried at Sandgate with her husband. In 1918 the children sold the business, which continued to trade as “G Spruce and Sons”. The sale brought to end over 50 years of commercial contribution to Lambton by a pioneering family.
The article above was first published in the October 2020 edition of The Local.
The University of Newcastle Cultural Collections Flickr site has three photographs of Morgan’s store (photo 1, photo 2, photo 3), all obviously taken on the same day. While two of the photos are captioned with a year of 1909, the third is captioned as 1904. I can only assume this is a transcription error, someone mistaking a written digit 9 to be a 4.
Morgan’s store can be seen in a 1904 panoramic photograph of Lambton, taken from the North Lambton hill looking south. Also in the photo, can be seen the Commercial Hotel (demolished 2019) at 121 Elder St. Note that there is a bit of an optical illusion here that makes it look like Morgan’s building is further back than Elder St, maybe on Kendall St.
However, Elder St is rising in elevation as you move west from the Commercial Hotel, which means that Morgan’s shop is several metres higher than the hotel. This lack of vertical alignment with the hotel, Morgan’s building being smaller than the hotel, and the compressed depth of field of the photo, makes it appear as though the building is further back on Kendall St.
Elder Street renumbering
In the article, I state the address of Morgan’s store as 127 Elder Street. This is the modern address. When Morgan built the store around 1875 streets in Lambton were not numbered, numbering only being introduced to Lambton in 1927. In Elder St the numbers commenced at 1 at the east end and increased travelling westwards, so that Morgan’s Store was 47 Elder St. In 1934 a bankruptcy notice for the subsequent proprietors of the store, G Spruce and Sons, states the address as 47 Elder St.
Some time later around 1948, in order to accommodate the houses built on Elder street extension to the east of Lambton park, Elder street was renumbered, adding 80 to existing numbers on the south side. Thus the site of Morgan’s store became 127 Elder Street.
"Mr. Daniel Morgan, aged 62 years, an old and highly respected resident of this town, after an illness extending over a number of years, passed over to the great majority on Saturday last, at his esidence, Elder-street."
"The death has occurred at Lambton of Miss Margaret Morgan, from congestion of the lungs. She was born at Minmi 58 years ago, and since her infancy had lived in Lambton. She was the third daughter of the late D Morgan, and was employed in the business of Morgan and Sons as milliner up till within a few years."
Note that this article erroneously referes to Margaret Morgan as being the third David Morgan is an error. The tombstone inscription at Sandgate cemetery clearly shows that she was the daughter of Daniel Morgan. (The error probably arose because she had both an uncle and a brother named David, and it had been 24 years since her father Daniel had died in 1896.)
Bankruptcy notice for "G. Spruce and Sons, 47 Elder-street, Lambton".
Note that at some later time, Elder street was renumbered, adding 80 to existing numbers on the south side, so this address became 127 Elder St.