Pubs and Publicans – The Macquarie Hotel

The Macquarie Hotel was located on the corner of White Hills Road (Barclay Street) and Macquarie Street and said by von Stieglitz to have been built around same time as Royal Oak (1840).  Now the establishment may have been built around this time, but it is likely that it was later, because at a Licensing Board meeting in December 1861 a new license was granted to Mrs. Richards for “a house to be called the Macquarie Hotel”.

The hotel was destroyed by fire on 14 August 1887 so it had a relatively short life.  The Daily Telegraph of 15 August reported the fire this way “The Macquarie Hotel was totally destroyed by fire at 7 o’clock this morning. The building was empty except the large room, which was used by the Evandale Brass Band to practice in, and some of their forms and seats were destroyed. Mr Webber’s water-cart came in time to save the adjoining shop, and the local fire brigade worked well under the direction of the police.”  This report suggests it was not operating as a hotel at this time. 

There was some surprise around town at the time that the fire was not being investigated.  It had previously been deliberately set on fire but the flames had been extinguished. The newspaper, The Tasmanian, of the 20 August that year reported “The whole building except the brick walls was consumed in about two hours. The building belonged to Mr. R. W. Chugg, and was insured for its full value.” 

Ann Richards is known to have operated the hotel from 1862 till 1870 but she did not own it.  Solicitors were instructed by Mr. W. Atkin, Executor to the Estate of the late Wm. Richards, to sell by auction, at their Rooms, on Monday, 20th instant, at twelve o’clock, “that well-known property at Evandale, the Macquarie Hotel, with cottage at the corner of Cambock and Macquarie Streets. The Hotel which is in good repair contains 12 rooms, one of which is 41 x 16 feet, suitable for meetings or concerts, detached stable and outbuilding. The cottage contains four rooms, substantially built.  The land has a frontage on White Hills Road of 250 links, and on Macquarie Street of 200 links.  Title Guaranteed.  Terms at sale. The above property must be sold.” (Launceston Examiner 2 Feb 1865)

There is mention of the hotel in 1867 where an event was catered for and reported in the newspaper. “The large room at the Macquarie Hotel was densely crowded, and the applause was rigorous and genuine.”  (The Cornwall Chronicle 21 Sep 1867)

In December 1871, Phillip Mullane was granted a renewal of his licence for this hotel, so we know it was licensed in 1871 and 1872. The licence was also renewed in December 1873 for 1874.

In May 1874 a former policeman Peter Smith made an application to transfer the licence.  This application was refused on the grounds of poor character.  The licensee at this time was likely Phillip Mullane but it is not apparent if it was also owned by him. (We know from latter reporting that the land was at one time owned by Mr Barrett.) Smith had commenced the purchase of the property and now he was seeking the licence to operate the hotel.

It was a perilous situation; he had paid money for a hotel he could not legally run.  Therefore a subsequent application was made to the annual licensing bench in by Smith in December 1874.  “Messrs J. Whitehead and R. H. Douglas constituted the licensing bench here on Tuesday, and they renewed all the existing licenses. Mr Peter Smith applied for a new license for the Macquarie Hotel.  Mr Whitehead left the bench, and declined to consider the application. Mr Douglas could not constitute himself a licensing bench, and he also retired.” (The Cornwall Chronicle 4 December 1874) 

By May 1875, Peter Smith was before the Court of Bankruptcy in Launceston. “Before my bankruptcy I kept the Macquarie Hotel, Evandale. I was to pay £650 for the hotel to Mr Atkins, as agent for the owners. I paid £100 on account of the purchase. I gave up possession in January to Mr Richard Chugg on condition that he would arrange with Mr Atkins to take it on the same terms that I had bought it.” (Weekly Examiner 22 May 1875)

The two fires mentioned above where not the only fire to have occurred here.  The Cornwall Chronicle 3 February 1875 reports “Fire at Evandale.— On Saturday night about 11 o’clock a stable in the rear of the Macquarie Hotel, at Evandale, caught fire and could not be extinguished until it burnt down, destroying a valuable horse and a ton and a half of hay.” The horse belonged to Mr Richard Chugg.

Chugg continued to operate the Hotel through 1876 as attested by the following from the Launceston Examiner of 1 April 1876.  “PIGEON MATCH AT EVANDALE.  (From our own Correspondent.) A capital day’s sport was enjoyed by lovers of the gun at Evandale on Wednesday, the centre of interest being a much talked of match between two well known cracks, Messrs W.. Russell and Jas. Rose, for £25 aside. There were a large number of visitors from both town and country present on the ground, the spot chosen being in a paddock not far from the Macquarie Hotel, Mr R. Chugg having the management of the necessary details for the shooting. Mr Chugg had a refreshment booth on the ground and provided an excellent dinner at the hotel for the visitors after the conclusion of the sport.

In May 1877, Chugg’s licence was transferred to Alexander Wilson (The Hobart Town Gazette 22 May 1877).

The Hotel ceased to operate sometime during or after 1878.  This is known because a licence was issued to Alexander Wilson for 1878 (The Hobart Town Gazette 15 January 1878), however, a local correspondent for the town reported in the Launceston Examiner of 18 Nov 1879 “I understand an attempt will be made to get a license for the old Macquarie Hotel. We, the public of this municipality, do not require any more houses of refreshment of this kind—just now, at any rate.

The large room of the hotel was still in use for functions in 1884 because a wedding reception was known to be held in the hotel in February of that year. (The Mercury 26 Feb 1884)

The land was subsequently cleared after the fire and in 1885 Visitors to Evandale were encouraged “if they wish to note the many improvements that are being pushed forward in the building line, ought not to neglect to take a walk or drive round in the locality of the old Macquarie Hotel. They will there see the commodious premises lately erected by Mr E. Atkins. The ground on which they stand once belonged to the late Mr Barrett, and the building is a striking contrast to the former bare paddock.(Daily Telegraph 23 Jun 1885)

                                Summary of Licensees of the Macquarie Hotel

1861 – 1870 Ann Richards
1871 – 1874 Phillip Mullane