Pubs and Publicans – The Imperial Inn

Karl Von Stieglitz (1946) suggests the Imperial Inn was the first “inn” in Evandale but was never licensed.  This author states that it was owned and built by John Williatt (1792 – 1875) who subsequently established the second licensed establishment in the town, the Patriot King William IV in 1832. 

Von Stieglitz asserts the Imperial Inn was later called Ingleside.  It had been a comfortable home in its day but had fallen into disrepair and was eventually demolished and only the stables remain.  Von Stieglitz reports that during demolition, “reminders of its original use, including the Imperial Inn sign, were found, and among the litter under the floor was one of the old fashioned, square, black gin bottles, still corked and full to the neck with gin.  In his surprise at this discovery, the man at work on the job dropped his hammer on to the bottle, and then to his horror saw its contents slowly gurgle away in the dust, leaving behind only a tantalising aromatic smell.”

New evidence now casts doubt on the existence of the Imperial Inn.  Mr Williatt did not own the land encompassing Ingleside Homestead until after the Patriot King was established and if the Imperial Inn was operated by a previous owner, then it would have been nothing more than an opportunistic sly grog shop and likely not to have been as brazen as to display an advertising sign.  Licences to operate a public house were required from at least 1816 (The Hobart Town Gazette and Southern Reporter 6 Sep 1817).