Lambton Fire Station

In 19th century Lambton, fire in one form or another was the principal means of heating, cooking, and providing light. But the flames that illuminated also had a dark side. On Saturday night 6th February 1875 in Miss Jackson’s millinery shop in Elder Street, the string that suspended the window lamp snapped, the lamp fell, and the shop contents ignited.

Although the blaze was spotted and extinguished before much damage was done, this near disaster was the catalyst for the formation of the Lambton Fire Brigade. A public meeting was held, a committee formed, subscriptions collected, and a hand pumped fire engine purchased from Sydney for £40. The engine arrived in August 1875 and was housed in a shed paid for and erected by John Stoker at the rear of his hotel on the north east corner of Elder and Grainger streets. After some period of practice, the engine and crew were first put to the test fighting a fire at the Co-operative Colliery in Wallsend in January 1876.

With the addition of more equipment and new engines over the years, the location behind Stoker’s hotel became too small, and after application to Lambton Council for some of their land, a new two storey wooden fire station was constructed in De Vitre Street and officially opened in 1902. In March 1913 a violent wind storm totally destroyed this building, damaging much of the firefighting equipment inside.

In its place a new brick fire station was constructed and opened in 1914, which served the local community for over 100 years until the move to the new fire station site in Young Road in 2016. Today our reliance on fire for the basic necessities of life is diminished, but our reliance on local firefighting services in times of crisis is as great as when the Lambton Fire Brigade began 141 years ago.

Lambton Fire Brigade Station, behind John Stoker's Gold Miners' Arms hotel, Grainger Street, 1875-1902.

Lambton Fire Brigade Station in Grainger St, behind John Stoker’s Gold Miners’ Arms hotel, 1875-1902. The building with the two chimneys at the right of the photo is the rear of Stoker’s hotel.

Lambton Fire Station, De Vitre Street, 2016

Lambton Fire Station, De Vitre Street, 2016


The article above was first published in the July 2016 edition of the Lambton Local.

Miss Jackson’s Millinery Shop

The fire on 6th February 1875 that was the catalyst for the formation of the Lambton fire brigade took place in Miss J. Jackson’s millinery shop in Elder St. Below is an advertisement for this establishment in the Miners’ Advocate on 23 Dec 1874, just a few weeks before the fire.
JacksonMillinery1874
The advertisement above describes Miss Jackson’s shop as being “Next to Stoker’s Hotel”. Since that hotel was on the north east corner of Elder/Grainger streets, then Miss Jackson’s shop was probably where the Lambton Grocers is located.

The first fire station

A Hunter Water Board map from the 1890s shows the location of Lambton’s first fire station in Grainger St, behind John Stoker’s hotel.

1890s Hunter Water Board map showing Lambton’s fire station. Newcastle Region Library.

The two story wooden fire station

A newspaper article from 1921 on the jubilee of Lambton states that the reason the fire station location was moved from behind Stoker’s hotel was because

Amendments in the Liquor Act prevented the station being on licensed premises, and an application to the council resulted in the dedication of an allotment of land in De Vitre road.

This information is also repeated on page 130 of “The Story of Lambton”, but I have not yet found any contemporary evidence to support this assertion. The only reason I have found so far from the time of the move is from an 1898 council meeting where

Alderman Ward was in favour of transferring a portion of the allotment to the brigade, as he considered it would be then applied to a very good use and for the benefit, of the ratepayers. The land they occupied at present was too small, and not central enough.

The two story wooden fire station constructed in De Vitre St in 1902 can be seen in a couple of photos, for example this photo in the Newcastle Council Hunter Photobank …

LambtonFireStation1902-1913… and also in the background of a 1912 Ralph Snowball photo in the Cultural Collections site  …

LambtonFireStation1912… as well as this March 1912 photo
LambtonFireStation191203But just one year later, disaster struck …

The two storey wooden fire station in De Vitre St, collapsed during a violent wind storm in March 1913.

The two storey wooden fire station in De Vitre St, collapsed during a violent wind storm in March 1913.

Timeline of events

Article Date Event DateNotes
27 Jan 1872
20 Jan 1872
A near fatal house fire at Griffiths' Flat "has caused a general feeling and desire to organise a fire brigade at Lambton."
10 Feb 1875
6 Feb 1875
Following a potentially disastrous fire in Miss Jackson's millinery shop, a public meeting has been called to take steps towards the formation of a Fire Brigade in Lambton.
17 Feb 1875
11 Feb 1875
Public meeting to organise a fire brigade.
27 Feb 1875Meeting of the Fire Brigade committee.
12 Jun 1875Momemtum for the formation of fire brigade at Lambton is waning.
17 Jul 1875Money being collected for a fire engine. Mr Stoker is erecting a shed for it behind his hotel.
28 Aug 1875
25 Aug 1875
Fire engine purchased for £40 has arrived from Sydney, and the brigade members have had some practise with it.
4 Sep 1875
2 Sep 1875
Dinner and meeting with the Superintendent of the Newcastle Fire Brigade, discussing the requirements of further acquisitions for the Lambton brigade.
2 Oct 1875Rules of the Newcastle Fire Brigade (with minor amendments) adopted by Lambton brigade.
13 Nov 1875Fire at Mr Cairns' hotel, but the brigade and fire engine do not attend because of a lack of practice and the fire bell has not yet been hung.
1 Dec 1875
27 Nov 1875
First call-out of the new fire engine, to attend a fire at the Northumberland hotel. The fire had been extinguished by the time the engine arrived.
1 Dec 1875
29 Nov 1875
Fire bell has finally been hung and is ready for use.
8 Jan 1876
6 Jun 1876
First use of the Lambton fire brigade engine in a real fire, at the Co-Operative Colliery, Wallsend.
22 Jul 1892"Another fine area of 18 acres, known as Griffiths' Flat, is also admirably situated for recreative purposes; and a movement is at present on foot to have it dedicated as a practice and recreation reserve for the combined volunteer fire brigades of the district."
10 Aug 1898Fire brigade applies to council for a portion of their land in De Vitre St to erect a new fire station. "The land they occupied at present was too small, and not central enough."
7 Sep 1898Land for the new fire station in De Vitre Street has been surveyed.
11 Jan 1899
17 Dec 1898
Portion No. 854 of the Newcastle Pasturage Reserve, containing 29 perches, and situated in De Vitre-street, Lambton, has been set apart for a fire brigade station.
22 Sep 1902
20 Sep 1902
Official opening of the new fire station in De Vitre St.
15 Mar 1913
13 Mar 1913
Lambton fire station destroyed by violent windstorm.
19 Aug 1913Tenders have been called for the erection of a fire station at Lambton, Newcastle.
1 Oct 1913The tender of F. Hickey has been accepted for the building of a new fire station at Lambton.
13 Aug 1914
12 Aug 1914
Newly constructed brick firestation commences operation.
25 Jun 1921An article on the Jubilee of Lambton Municipality has a good summary of the history of the Lambton fire brigade.

Lambton Aldermen (1871-1938)

Lambton Council was incorporated in 1871 and remained until 1938 when 11 local municipal councils merged to form the City of Greater Newcastle Council. During the 67 years of its existence, Lambton Council had 97 different aldermen, 28 of whom served as mayor.

Lambton Aldermen. 26th February 1895. University of Newcastle Cultural Collections.

Lambton Aldermen. 26th February 1895. University of Newcastle Cultural Collections.

The file linked to below contains a summary of all the aldermen that served on Lambton Municipal Council in the years 1871 to 1938.

Click the preview image above to view the full table.

Click the preview image above to view the full table in a PDF document.

Entries in the table that are underlined are hyperlinks to a relevant newspaper article in Trove. To make sense of the information in the summary document, it is helpful to understand how council elections were organised, and how I have used different text and background colours to represent changes in the council membership.

Council elections

Elections in the Lambton Municipal Council were initially governed by the the NSW Municipalities Act of 1867. The council had 9 aldermen, who served terms of three years. Each February the term of three aldermen expired, and nominations were called to fill the expiring positions, so that over a three year cycle the terms of all nine of the aldermen expired. If three or less nominations were received for alderman, the nominees were automatically appointed to the council without the need for a ballot. If there were more nominations than positions available the returning officer would set a date within the next seven days at which a ballot would be held, where the ratepayers of the council area would vote for aldermen. The three candidates with the most votes would be declared elected.

The position of Mayor was not voted on by ratepayers, but rather on the first council meeting after the election, the nine aldermen (including the three newly elected/returned aldermen) would vote for who they wanted to be Mayor. In contrast to the position of aldermen who were elected to a term of three years, the position of Mayor had a term of only one year.

In the event of any casual vacancies, nominations for the vacancy would be called for, and an election called if there were more nominees than vacancies. Casual vacancies could be due to resignation, death, or by an aldermen being absent from council meetings for three months without leave being granted.

On 26/2/1906, the Municipalities Act (1897) was replaced by the Local Government Act (1906). The system of electing 3 aldermen each year was changed to elect 9 aldermen every 3 years. The election of a Mayor was still held each February, with the Mayoral term running from the first day of March to the last day of February.

Although there are numerous pieces of legislation relevant to local government in the period 1871 to 1938, the main acts relevant to the content on this page are:

Colour coding

In the documents I have used different colours to indicate the means by which people entered and exited council positions:

  • The foreground text color indicates how a person entered a council position:
    • Blue indicates the person was elected unopposed.
    • Green indicates the person was a successful candidate in an election.
    • Black indicates a continuation in office.
  • The background colour of a table cell indicates how a person exited a council position:
    • Yellow indicates a resignation.
    • Light pink indicates expiration of a term, and the person did not seek re-election.
    • Darker pink indicates expiration of a term, and the person was defeated when seeking re-election to another term.
    • Light gray indicates that the person died while serving their term of office.
    • Orange indicates that the person’s positon became vacant after three months of continued absence from council meetings, without leave.
  • For entries prior to 1906, where three aldermen retired each year, the names of the retiring aldermen are shown in italics.

Each new row in the table represents a change in the makeup of the council, with the exception of the February 1897 election when the aldermen and mayor remained unchanged.

Miscellaneous Observations

In the period 1871 to 1938:

  • 28 different people served as Mayor.
    • The longest serving Mayor was John Thomas Johnson, who served a total of 8 years as Mayor during the period 1912 to 1938, on five separate occasions.
    • The four longest serving Mayors have streets in Lambton/North Lambton named after them – Johnson, Charlton, Dent, and Croudace. Four other Mayors also have corresponding street names (Notley, Hill, Noble, Young) although Young Road is probably not named after Alderman James Young, as the street name was in use as early as 1871, seven years before he was first elected in 1878.
  • Approximately 99 different people served as aldermen.
    • The exact number is hard to be sure of. I have had to make some educated guesses as to whether aldermen with the same, similar, or variant names at different periods are the same person, or a different person.
      • It is uncertain whether T. Screen (1874-1876), also spelt “Screens” is the same person as Thomas Screen (1888-1890). I have assumed it is the same person.
      • The obituary of Thomas S. Jones in 1917 states that he was an alderman for eight years, thus confirming that the Thomas Jones (1872-1874) is the same person as Thomas S. Jones (1889-1894).
      • There are two people named Robert Bell, but they are clearly different people as the first Robert Bell died before the second Robert Bell served as alderman.
      • Arthur Payne (1926-1930) was possibly the grandson of Arthur Lydney Payne who served in various terms in the period 1884 to 1912, and who died in 1917.
      • Given the gap in years, I am assuming that Thomas William Smith (1926-1928) is not the same as Thomas Smith who served as alderman at various times between 1894 and 1910.
    • The longest serving alderman was Edward Charlton who served a total of 24 years and 8 months in the period 1903 to 1931, on three separate occasions.
    • The shortest serving alderman was John Simpson who was elected in February 1911, and then resigned just four months later in May 1911, along with six other aldermen in the great building ordinance brouhaha of that year.
  • This page is titled “Lambton Aldermen“, for they were all men. For most of the life of the council, this was by law, for while both men and women were entitled to vote, the Municipalities Act of 1867 and the Local Government Act of 1906 was explicit in restricting council service to men. e.g. section 69 of the 1906 act says:
    “Any male person whose name is on the roll of electors for an area shall, if not disqualified, be eligible to be elected and to act as alderman or councillor of the area.”
    By the time of the Local Government Act of 1919, this gender exclusion for office was no longer in place, however in the remaining 20 years no women were nominated for or elected to Lambton Council.
  • Two people died while serving in office, Peter Grant in 1876, and Dr. J.J. Hill in 1882.
  • On only two occasions (1885, 1897) did the regular election in February result in the same set of aldermen serving for a successive year, and only in 1897 did the aldermen and mayor remain unchanged.
  • On four occasions a vacancy occurred due to an alderman not attending council meetings for three successive months – John Beveridge in 1881, Thomas Croudace in 1886, Enoch Higgs in 1887, and Nathaniel Elliott in 1906. It is not clear on any of these occasions whether the reason was sickness, laziness, busyness, wilfulness, or some other reason.
  • There were 30 occasions when an alderman or mayor resigned their position. Sometimes this was for the simple reason that the person had left the district, but more often than not the resignation was for political reasons. A..L. Payne resigned on two separate occasions, but the champion of resignations was George E. Hardy who resigned as mayor once, and alderman twice.

Note on “Mc” names

In the old newspaper articles, Scottish surnames that begin with “Mc” are typically printed with an inverted comma to represent a superscript “c”. So for instance McEwan is printed as M‘Ewan. In my compilation of names I have used the superscript “c” in names of this form.

Lambton Aldermen, 1871-1899

Thomas CroudaceMy latest article for the Lambton Local is out, this month on Thomas Croudace, the father of Lambton.

Thomas Croudace served as alderman and mayor on both Lambton and New Lambton municipal councils at various times, and as part of my background research for the article I have been summarising who served as aldermen and mayor of Lambton Council from when it was incorporated in 1871, through to the end of 1899 when the council was bankrupt and virtually defunct amidst the ructions of the commercial failure of the electric light system.


Authors note: Since writing this blog post I have completed the task of summarising the Lambton alderman for all the years of the council and more complete and authoritative information can be found on my Lambton Alderman (1871-1938) page.


I had made a couple of attempts at the task of documenting council representatives on previous occasions, but struggled to work out what details to include and what format to present the information. This time I’ve worked out a nice compact way of presenting the data, with colour coding to indicate additional information.

AldermenSnip2The list of aldermen is available in two formats:

Entries in the table that are underlined are hyperlinks to a relevant newspaper article in Trove.

To make sense of the information in these documents, it is helpful to understand how council elections were organised, and secondly how I have used colour coding to represent changes in the council membership.

Council elections

Elections in the Lambton Municipal Councils were governed by the the NSW Municipalities Act of 1867. The council had 9 aldermen, who served terms of three years. Each February the term of three aldermen expired, and nominations were called to fill the expiring positions, so that over a three year cycle the terms of all nine of the aldermen expired. If three or less nominations were received for alderman, the nominees were automatically appointed to the council without the need for a ballot. If there were more nominations than positions available the returning officer would set a date within the next seven days at which a ballot would be held, where the ratepayers of the council area would vote for aldermen. The three candidates with the most votes would be declared elected.

The position of Mayor was not voted on by ratepayers, but rather on the first council meeting after the election, the nine aldermen (including the three newly elected/returned aldermen) would vote for who they wanted to be Mayor. In contrast to the position of aldermen who were elected to a term of three years, the position of Mayor had a term of only one year.

In the event of any casual vacancies, nominations for the vacancy would be called for, and and and election called if there were more nominees than vacancies. Casual vacancies could be due to resignation, death, or by an aldermen being absent from council meetings for three months without leave being granted.

Colour coding

In the documents I have used different colours to indicate the means by which people entered and exited council positions:

  • The foreground text color indicates how a person entered a council position:
    • Blue indicates the person was elected unopposed.
    • Green indicates the person was a successful candidate in an election.
    • Black indicates a continuation in office.
  • The background colour of a table cell indicates how a person exited a council position:
    • Yellow indicates a resignation.
    • Light pink indicates expiration of a term, and the person did not seek re-election.
    • Darker pink indicates expiration of a term, and the person was defeated when seeking re-election to another term.
    • Orange indicates that the person’s positon became vacant after three months of continued absence from council meetings, without leave.

Each new row in the table represents a change in the makeup of the council, with the exception of the February 1897 election when the aldermen and mayor remained unchanged.

Observations

In the period 1871 to 1899:

  • 14 different people served as Mayor.
  • 56 or 57 different people served as aldermen.
    • The exact number is hard to pin down as it is unclear whether T. Screen (1874-1876) is the same person as Thomas Screen (1888-1890)
    • The obituary of Thomas S. Jones in 1917 states that he was an alderman for eight years, thus confirming that the Thomas Jones (1872-1874) is the same person as Thomas S. Jones (1889-1894).
  • Two people died while serving in office – Peter Grant in 1876, and Dr. J.J. Hill in 1882.
  • On only two occasions (1885, 1897) did the regular election in February result in the same set of aldermen serving for a successive year, and only in 1897 did the aldermen and mayor remain unchanged.
  • On three occasions a vacancy occurred due to an alderman not attending council meetings for three successive months – John Beveridge in 1881, Thomas Croudace in 1886, and Enoch Higgs in 1887. It is not clear on any of these occasions whether the reason was sickness, laziness, busyness, or wilfulness.

Thomas Croudace

Thomas Croudace

Thomas Croudace

15th June 2016 marks 110 years since the death of the man justly known as the father of Lambton.

Thomas Croudace was born in 1838 into a coal mining family in Chincliffe in the county of Durham, England. At the age of just 23 he was sent to Australia to be the manager of a new coal mine of the Scottish Australian Mining Company. To this colliery Croudace gave the name “Lambton”, in honour of John George Lambton the Earl of Durham, who had personal and business connections with the Croudace family back in England. The “Lambton” name went on to be used by several collieries, townships, and suburbs.

Croudace’s skill as a mining manager was unparalleled, guiding the Lambton colliery with commercial success over 44 years. He introduced innovative mining technologies, and was committed to keeping a close rein on the costs of production, often with a very hands-on approach. In 1867 when miners accidentally dropped a bucket down a shaft they were digging, it was reported

“Notwithstanding that there was some twelve feet of water in the shaft, Mr. Croudace coolly descended, and by letting himself down (through the water) to the bottom, he succeeded in recovering the bucket. This act is regarded here as a very daring one.”

Croudace’s commitment to the local community was also unstinting. He served many years as an alderman on both Lambton and New Lambton councils (sometimes on both at the same time!) and was elected as Mayor on numerous occasions. He was a generous man, both personally to those in need, and in his capacity as mine manager gifting land and resources to the community for churches, parks, and other public benefits.

Thomas Croudace retired from active work in 1904 due to ill health, and died in his residence in New Lambton Heights on 15th June 1906. He was buried in Sandgate cemetery, attended by a large crowd of mourners.

The grave site of Thomas Croudace, in Sandgate cemetery.

The inscription on the grave monument at Sandgate Cemetery reads “In Loving Memory of Thomas Croudace. Died June 15th, 1906. Aged 68”

View site of grave in Google Earth (kmz file)


The article above was first published in the June 2016 edition of the Lambton Local.

Further information

Thomas Croudace, as a mine manager, represented the interests of commerce and industry. Although he would often be in dispute and disagreement with the miners and the unions, it seems they often had a respect his character. Matthew Charlton, a miner and later on a union leader and Labor party parliamentarian, on the occasion of his 70th birthday in 1936 reminisced on the actions of Thomas Croudace during a miners’ strike in the 18th century.

About 7 o’clock the manager of the colliery, the late Mr. Thomas Croudace, mounted on a fine horse, came down the hill on the other side. There was a rush across the railway to meet him. To the surprise of everyone he continued straight towards them. At last he halted and was at once surrounded by a threatening body. He kept his horse circling in a ring, tendering sound advice at the same time, until from a menacing attitude the crowd became subdued and reasonable. One could not help admiring the courage he displayed.

A drawing of Mr. Croudace from a profile piece in the Newcastle Morning Herald, 2nd April 1898.

A drawing of Mr. Croudace from a profile piece in the Newcastle Morning Herald, 2nd April 1898.

Lambton Park

Thomas Croudace was instrumental in the founding of Lambton Park, and there is an inscription to him on the memorial gates on Morehead St that reads

THOMAS CROUDACE

MAYOR 1884 – 5

FOUNDER OF THIS PARK

(There is a minor error here, as Croudace was actually Mayor 1883 -1885, and again in 1893.)

Inscription on gate pillar of Lambton Park: “Thomas Croudace Mayor 1884-5 Founder Of This Park”

Council Service

Elections in the Lambton and New Lambton municipal councils were governed by the the NSW Municipalities Act of 1867. Each council had 9 aldermen, who served terms of three years. Elections were held in February each year, with ratepayers electing three aldermen each year. At the first council meeting after the election, the current aldermen elected a mayor for an ensuing one year term.

Thomas Croudace served as an alderman and Mayor on both Lambton and New Lambton Councils at various times.

Positon Duration of service
Lambton alderman 7 years, 2 months
Lambton Mayor 4 years, 1 month
New Lambton alderman 5 years, 2 months
New Lambton Mayor 3 years, 1 month

The diagram below shows the periods that Mr Croudace served on the councils, including the years 1891-93 when he was on both councils simultaneously. The changes in shading show the terms of office. i.e. each change of shading indicates a re-election.

croudacecouncil-2

Newspaper articles

Council service

Article Date Event DateNotes
29 Jul 1871Nomination of candidates for the first Lambton council election. Thomas Croudace at the top of the list.
3 Aug 1871
2 Aug 1871
Nominees for the first election of alderman in Lambton address a public meeting. Thomas Croudace appears to have withdrawn as a candidate by this date.
6 Feb 1879
4 Feb 1879
Thomas Croudace runs for Lambton Council but is unsuccessful, coming in at 5th place.
13 Feb 1882Thomas Croudace elected as an alderman on Lambton Council.
14 Feb 1882
13 Feb 1882
Having just been elected as an alderman on Lambton Council, Thomas Croudace is nominated for the position of Mayor, but Alderman J. Hill wins the position.
28 Dec 1882After the death of Dr. J.J. Hill the sitting Mayor of Lambton, Thomas Croudace is elected as Mayor in his place. [Note that while this newspaper article correctly states that it was the manager of the Lambton Colliery that was elected, the article incorrectly names Mr. Neilson, who was the manager of the Wallsend Colliery.]
14 Feb 1883
12 Feb 1883
Alderman Croudace re-elected as Mayor of Lambton for another year.
13 Feb 1884
11 Feb 1884
Alderman Croudace re-elected as Mayor of Lambton for another year, in spite of his expressed misgivings on the poor state of his health.
9 Feb 1885
7 Feb 1885
Thomas Croudace re-elected as an alderman on Lambton Council for another term.
20 Mar 1885A letter to the Mayor of Newcastle shows that Thomas Croudace was re-elected Mayor of Lambton the previous month.
12 Feb 1886
9 Feb 1886
Thomas Croudace's term as Mayor of Lambton ends when Thomas Grierson elected as the new Mayor.
6 May 1886
4 May 1886
This council meeting seems to be the only meeting that Thomas Croudace attended since he ceased to be mayor of Lambton in February. His non-attendance eventually led to his position being declared vacant in August 1886
20 Aug 1886Mr. Croudace's position on Lambton Council declared vacant, as he has not attended meetings for three months.
4 Sep 1886
3 Sep 1886
A public meeting for nominating candidates to fill the position on council left vacant by Thomas Croudace's absence.
9 Sep 1886
7 Sep 1886
Joseph Palmer elected as alderman in place of Thomas Croudace.
27 Feb 1889Thomas Croudace nominates as a candidate for the first New Lambton Council election.
9 Mar 1889
7 Mar 1889
Thomas Croudace elected as the first Mayor of New Lambton.
12 Feb 1890
11 Feb 1890
Thomas Croudace re-elected as Mayor of New Lambton for another year, even though he is currently absent in New Zealand.
5 Mar 1890
4 Mar 1890
Alderman J.W. Oldham elected as mayor of New Lambton, replacing Thomas Croudace who was unable to accept his election as mayor the previous month due to his being absent in New Zealand.
9 Feb 1891
7 Feb 1891
Thomas Croudace elected as alderman to Lambton Council.
8 Feb 1892
6 Feb 1892
In New Lambton, Thomas Croudace re-elected as an alderman for another three year term, and re-elected as Mayor for another year. [Alderman Thomas had been acting Mayor during the absence of Thomas Croudace.]
11 Feb 1892Thomas Croudace nominated as Mayor for Lambton, but he immediately seconds a nomination for Joseph Palmer to be Mayor. Croudace was already Mayor of New Lambton and presumably didn't want to be Mayor of two councils simultaneously.
15 Feb 1893
14 Feb 1893
Thomas Croudace elected Mayor of Lambton, replacing Joseph Palmer.
12 Feb 1894Retired from Lambton Council as mayor and alderman.
18 Apr 1894Thomas Croudace retires from New Lambton council, with 11 months of his three year term remaining.

Other articles

Article Date Event DateNotes
19 May 1863
14 May 1863
Blasting accident at Lambton Colliery. Thomas Croudace and Mr. M'Avery suffering eye injuries.
18 Jun 1868Mr Croudace descends a shaft to retrieve a dropped bucket, which impresses his workers.
19 Jun 1869
16 Jun 1869
Thomas Croudace purchases 290 acres of Crown land on the east bank of Lake Macquarie.
29 Mar 1876"A collection was made at the Lambton Colliery office on Friday last, in aid of an old and respected resident of this district, William Thompson, who has been unable to work for more than two years, through illness. … I am informed that Mr. Croudace, the manager of Lambton Colliery, gave the sum of £5, which speaks volumes in thatgentleman's favour."
2 Apr 1898A profile in the newspaper of Thomas Croudace, including a summary of his involvement after the Dudley Pit disaster the previous month.
16 Jun 1904
15 Jun 1904
Death of Thomas Croudace, aged 68.
18 Jun 1906
16 Jun 1906
The funeral for Thomas Croudace at his late residence on Lambton Heights, followed by interment at Sandgate cemetery.
28 Jun 1906An obituary for Thomas Croudace in "The Worker". This being a socialist newspaper, one wouldn't expect too much sympathy on the death of a mine manager, but the final paragraph is interesting.
"Tyrannical and grinding was the general manager of the Scottish Australian Mining Co., and the bitterness of industrial conflict burns long, but I — I see only the ruins of the Dudley pit top, after the explosion on that gloomy Monday morning of March, 1898, the broken ropes beating a dirge of disaster on the ruined iron work, and Croudace, the Man, who stood with stern-set, resolute face, calmly calling for volunteers to form a rescue party. And so I like to leave him."

Stoker’s Hotel

John Stoker opened the “Gold Miners’ Arms” Hotel in Lambton in 1865 and was the licensee up until 1885. In 1869 Mr Stoker extended his premises and built a large upstairs hall (40 feet by 24 feet) that was often used for various meetings or social gatherings. This hall was often referred to as “Stoker’s Hall”, “Stokers Long Room” or “Druids Hall”. From around 1871 the hotel is also known as the “Gold Miners’ Home” hotel.

In 1916, the new licensee George Malbon changed the name of the hotel to the “Central Hotel” and continued to run it until 1921 when the Licenses Reduction Board delicensed the hotel, paying £1460 in compensation. George Malbon died later that year in September 1921, aged 63. The hotel building was subsequently demolished in 1926.

The University of Newcastle Cultural Collections has a couple of photos of this hotel, and by comparing these with one of the frames from a 1904 panorama of Lambton taken from the North Lambton hill, I was able to confirm that Stoker’s hotel was situated on the north-east corner of Elder and Grainger streets.

StokersHallND StokersHall1904

Stoker's Hotel. Photo by Ralph Snowball. University of Newcastle Cultural Collections.

Stoker’s Hotel. Photo by Ralph Snowball. University of Newcastle Cultural Collections.

The photo above is not dated but is probably in the period 1884 to 1885, as Ralph Snowball only started his photographic career in 1884, and John Stoker ceased to be the licensee in 1885.

Note at the extreme right in the photo above can be seen a sign advertising “Druids’ Hall”. The hall was constructed in 1869.

Sign for "Druids' Hall"

Sign for “Druids’ Hall”

The "Gold Miners' Home" hotel 1893. Licensee W. Baker. Photo by Ralph Snowball. University of Newcastle Cultural Collections.

The “Gold Miners’ Home” hotel 1893. Licensee W. Baker. Photo by Ralph Snowball. University of Newcastle Cultural Collections.

One frame from a panorama of Lambton in 1904. The "Gold Miners' Home" hotel is visible in the extreme left of this photo. University of Newcastle Cultural Collections.

One frame from a panorama of Lambton in 1904. The “Gold Miners’ Home” hotel is visible in the extreme left of this photo. University of Newcastle Cultural Collections.

Article Date Event DateNotes
30 Dec 1865First newspaper reference to the Gold Miners' Arms hotel - "On application a license for bagatelle, was granted to John Stoker, landlord of the Gold Miners' Arms, Lambton."
20 Mar 1869First newspaper reference to "Stoker's Hotel"
15 Jun 1869"Mr. Stoker himself is going to extend his premises by building an assembly room sufficiently large to contain 500 people. Such an edifice is very much wanted here, as there is not at present any place in the township (chapels excepted,) able to contain 150 persons."
17 Jul 1869 Mr. Stoker, of the Gold miner's Hotel, is about commencing a large concert-room, forty by twenty-four feet, to be fitted up with a stage, and other necessaries
27 Nov 1869First newspaper reference to the "Druids' Hall".
24 Jun 1871First newspaper reference to the "Gold Miners' Home" hotel. "TO LET in the rising township of Lambton, a Shop and Dwelling-house, with stabling, opposite the Gold Miners' Home. Apply to JOSEPH HUNTER on the premises."
1 Jul 1871First newspaper reference to "Stoker's long room".
18 Jul 1871
15 Jul 1871
Public meeting held in Mr. Stoker's long room, to nominate people for election to the first Lambton Council.
9 Dec 1873First newspaper reference to "Stoker's Hall".
5 May 1875Adding five extra bedrooms for accommodation.
10 Oct 1878Coronial inquest held at Stoker's Hotel into the death of Thomas Syemour and Robert Brown in Lambton Colliery's Mosquito Pit.
27 Nov 1885
25 Nov 1885
The license of the Gold Miners' Home Hotel, Lambton, transferred from John Stoker to William Ralph.
10 Dec 1903The "Gold Miners' Home" hotel is still referred to as "Stoker's Hotel" even 18 years after John Stoker ceased to be the licensee in 1885.
8 Oct 1907
6 Oct 1907
Death of John Stoker, aged 75.
3 Jul 1914License was transferred from Charles Nelson to George Malbon.
21 Jan 1916G. Malbon changes the name of the hotel from "Gold Miners' Home Hotel" to the "Central Hotel".
24 Jun 1916Reduction in licensing fee for the Central Hotel.
17 Jan 1921Central Hotel up before the Licenses Reduction Board.
18 Jan 1921At the license renewal hearing "Sergeant Harrison stated the building was composed of weatherboards, very old, but in a fair state of repair. Of the seven bedrooms, four were for the public use. Practically no catering was done for travellers."
20 May 1921Central Hotel to be delicensed and compensation paid - £1100 to owner, £360 licensee; total, £1460.
28 Sep 1921
26 Sep 1921
George Malbar [Malbon], the former licensee of the Central Hotel dies aged 63.
10 May 1926Gold Miners' Arms hotel demolished.