147 Napier St, Fitzroy (The Council Club Hotel)

The Council Club Hotel ran along the side of Napier St, and was eventually demolished to create Atherton Gardens (the park part between the high rise tower and the Childcare that exist today). This Council Club Hotel was the second Council Club Hotel in Fitzroy. The first hotel was on the north east corner on Condell St and Napier St (not this location) and existed from 1858 to 1872.

Looking south towards Melbourne in 1880 from the Fitzroy Town Hall tower. On the left is Napier Street and all these houses and buildings to the right were demolished. The Council Club Hotel, I believe is the building that is two story with the writing on the back of the building. The photo was taken in 1888

This Council Club Hotel was opened in 1865, but was originally known as the Crown and Anchor and was known under this name until 1882. It then changed to the Court House hotel for a short period (to 1885) and then changed in 1885 to the Council Club Hotel, which it is most well known for. So the above photo it would have been the Crown and Anchor.

The MMBW plans below confirm the shape of the Hotel at the time and aligns with the image in the photo above.

MMBW, in 1899

There were a number of licensees of the hotel, these are:

1865 – Crown and Anchor – John Matthew Boland

The 1865 Rate Book records it as “Stone hotel, 9 rooms”. Mr Boland purchased the Crown and Anchor Hotel at 103 Napier Street and commenced business as a publican on 3 April 1865. The takings averaged 45pounds a month The Age 22 Feb 1867 (from Boland’s Insolvency trial). Prior to his period at the Crown and Anchor, Boland owned land on Gore St according to the 1863 Rate Books.

The CUB archive indicates that “Nathanial Haousby, Fitzroy Hotel, Napier St., summoned J M Boland for selling liquors without a licence 15/2/1866 proved, fined 5pounds, costs 2.2.0pounds.”

On 22 January 1867, The Herald reported John as Insolvent: “John Matthew Boland, of Fitzroy, licensed victualler. Causes of insolvency : Depression in business and losses as an auctioneer. Liabilities, L794 18s; assets L115; deficiency, L679 182. Mr. Shaw, official assignee.” According to CUB’s archives Henry Steel Shaw official assignee for John Matthew Boland, signed over the licence to Joseph Jenson on 25 Feb 1867.

On the 27 February 1867, all the furniture, fixtures, fittings, stock etc were auctioned on the premises by Messrs. Naylor and Co. (The Argus 27 Feb 1867)

The CUB records also indicate that Miss Boland was a licensee in 1867, I assume that this is for the period between late January to February when it was formally transferred.

In 1867, the matter of John’s insolvency came to the Insolvent Court on 26 August 1867 (reported by the Herald on 27 August 1867) that the insolvency was in opposition to granting the certificate. Boland was questioned about transactions as secretary of the Kent Friendly Lodge, which it was believed owed him 10pounds and there were other expense due to him from a festival and annual fees. Boland “gave evidence in reference to business transactions with Mr. Grech, Messrs Wood and Ware, Mr. Stone, and Messrs. Curtain and Sherlock; and then stated that his sister had successfully prosecuted an action against Mr. Shaw, his official assignee, for distraining on the property at the hotel. The Commissioner reserved judgement.” And on 30 August, the Commissioner ruled in favour of Boland and he was declared bankrupt.

Through reviewing John’s insolvency one of those he owed was Wood and Ware, who were brewers operating out of Collingwood. They operated as Wood and Ware as well as the Yorkshire Brewery Company. In 1909, the newly formed Carlton and United Breweries (CUB) took over the business and used the Collingwood brewery as a stand-by-plant to their main brewing complexes in Carlton and East Melbourne. (Text from Collingwood History Society). The hotel also sourced bottled stout from Irvine and Co.

1867 – Crown and Anchor – Joseph Jenson/Banson

The CUB records hold Joseph’s name as Jenson, but other records such as the license records and the newspapers record him as Joseph Banson. Banson commenced at the Crown and Anchor Fitzroy in February, but by April, there was a notice in the Herald (9 Apr 1967) with a notice of the intent for him to takeover Templemore Hotel in Latrobe St Melbourne.

1868 – Crown and Anchor – Mrs. Sarah Ann Roberts

In 1865 Sarah Ann Roberts applied to be the publican at South Park Hotel, Moray Street, Emerald Hill (The Herald, 21 Jun 1865). The Hotel was 8 rooms constructed of brick and wood. After receiving the licence she transferred it in January 1866 to John Derham (The Argus 31 Jan 1866)

On 25 May 1869, Eaton Colclough, Esq. was married to Sarah Ann, widow of the late Captain Roberts. The couple were married at St. Mark’s Church Fitzroy by Rev. Robert Barlow. (The Argus, 25 May 1869).

The 1872 Rate book shows that William Dyer is the Publican at this time, which may mean the information from Piccolo is incorrect that he was the publican in 1875). By 1872 the address had also changed to 125 Napier Street due to the street number changes.

By 1879 Sarah was living on Gore Street in a Brick House.

1873 – Crown and Anchor – Elizabeth Dixon

Elizabeth Dixon was granted the licence in December 1872 (The Herald, 5 Dec 1872). Prior to this she had been the publican of the Foresters Arms, Fitzroy St, Fitzroy (The Herald 26 Oct 1969). While she was at Forester’s Arms, Fitzroy St, was summoned for allowing Sunday Trading (The Herald, 19 Jan 1871). Other notices suggest she moved to Brandon Hotel, station Street and Leeds St, Carlton and left there in Nov 1878.

1875 – Crown and Anchor – W Dyer

1877 – Crown and Anchor – J Hynes

While J Hynes is recorded as the licensee, the rate books for 1874, record Miss Bridget Smith as the publican and it is described as a Stone Hotel with 8 rooms plus bar. The owner of the Hotel is Peter J Martin.

1878 – Crown and Anchor – Thomas Skinner

Rate book of 1878 shows a care taker as resident and 1879 records T Skinner as the publican and P J Martin as owner.

1879 – Crown and Anchor – Charles McDermott

The 1879 Rate Book shows that Charles McDermott is the person at the rated address but records his occupation as Boot salesman. Peter J Martin remains the owner

1880 – Crown and Anchor – William Lane

The 1880 Rate book confirms William Lane is the Publican and that PJ Martin is the owner. Recorded as a stone hotel of 8 rooms.

1882 – Crown and Anchor / Court House – Walter G Cook

In 5 Dec 1882, Walter G Cook took over the licence for the Court House Hotel in Napier St. (The Argus 5 Dec 1882). The 1883 Rate Book confirms that Walter G Cook is the publican. By this time the stone hotel (8 rooms) is owned by Carlton Brewery.

1884 – Court House – William Keating

The 1884 Rate book confirms that William Keating is the publican of the brick hotel (8 rooms).

1885 – Council Club Hotel – Mary Cox

The 1885 Bill of Sale held with Prov confirms that Mary Cox is the owner.

1885 – Council Club Hotel – Margaret Ann Crilly

The 1885 Rate book confirms that Margaret Crilly is the publican of the brick hotel of 8 rooms.

1886 – Council Club Hotel – William Blanchfield

On the Bill of Sale (1885) (sourced from Prov, thanks Robyn), the Hotel is still called the Court House Hotel. A description of the Hotel on the Bill states that the Bar included counter and fittings, 3 pull beer engine, match stone, washtub, 6 pewters, 3 spirit measures, 2 decanters, 2 water bottles, 18 glasses, mirror clock, 4 pictures, 2 venetian blinds, 2 light gasifiers and an old chair (there are a few other things but these are the main items – only 18 glasses!). In the Bar Parlour, there is a table with a cloth cover, 2 horse hair couches, a cedar chiffonier (a chest of drawers), a piano, 3 chairs, mirror, 2 ornaments, 6 pictures, some blinds, curtains and 2 light burners. The Passage was pretty bare, and in the dining room there was a deal table and cedar table, a colonial sofa, 2 pillows, 4 chairs, a mirror, 5 pictures, blinds . The kitchen contained a minimal number of cooking gear. Outside there was a clothes line and an old boiler. The pub contained 5 bedrooms with a mix of furnishings.

In December 1886, William Blanchfield applied to have the six rooms not required for use by his family and servants licenced (The Herald 2 December 1886). It is around this time that the numbering of the hotel changes again, this time to 147 Napier St.

In January 1890, Constable Coakley was proceeding down Napier St, when he observed smoke from a room at the rear of the Council Club Hotel. He raised the alarm, but failed to arouse anyone. He then climbed a fence and broke down the door before rescuing a young man named Taylor who was asleep and was dragged with great difficulty from the place. He said before he fell asleep he was reading a newspaper and must have forgotten to extinguish the candle. Summary of text from Mercury and Weekly Courier, 9 Jan 1890.

The Rate Books confirm that William Blanchfield was the publican until at least 1892. Thanks to Robyn Stephens, it appears that the license transferred at this time to Mrs A Carroll who was William Blanchfield’s daughter.

It is also worth noting that up until William’s ownership the pub was associated with the Melbourne Brewing and Malting Company Limited. During his ownership, this changed to Carlton and West End Breweries Limited.

1893 – Council Club Hotel – Mrs Annie Carroll

The Age on 5 April 1895 records the transfer of the Council Club Hotel from Annie Carroll to Teresa Dwyer.

1895 – Council Club Hotel – Miss. Teresa Dwyer

Miss T Dwyer advertises for a young lady pianist to play and assist with house work. (The Age 12 Dec 1895)

1897 – Council Club Hotel – Miss Katherine Whitty

The City Directories confirm that she is residing at the Council Club hotel in 1898. The Prov record also confirms that the Brewery is now ‘Carlton Brewery Limited’.

1897 – Council Club Hotel – Florence (Florrie) Shannon

In 1898, Florence Shannon is recoded as the Publican by the rate books, the owner is Carlton Breweries and the hotel described as a Brick Hotel of 8 rooms. At this stage there is very little indication that any substantial modification of the Hotel has occurred since it was built in 1865.

In 1902, a memorial notice for Eily Shannon (passed away in 1898) in the Age suggests Hugh and Florrie Shannon are resident. They appear to still be there in 1908 when they post another memorial for their daughter and Florrie’s mother who passed away in 1906.

In 1912, 1917 and 1919, the Australian Electoral Rolls has both Hugh James Shannon and his wife (Publican) as residing at the Council Club Hotel.

Held by Fitzroy Library. The above photo is the laying of Napier Street, looking south. Taken c. 1929. I think that the building to the right beyond the factory is the Council Club Hotel.
This photo ‘appears’ that it could be the Council Club Hotel in Fitzroy. My learned friend Mike Moore believes it is by way of its name, its aspect and the Stone’s Timber Yard Chimney in the background. All of these are perfect and would suggest an extension on the original hotel as photographed above. In addition the building on the left corner could be 40 Webb St. The pub was owned by Carlton Breweries and has similar characteristics of other such hotels. But I am still struggling to connect the above three photos! 🙂

(somewhere between 1920-1928) – Council Club Hotel – Violet Mary Carroll

In Jan 1928, Frederick Whiting a bootmaker in Collingwood was charged with having forged a cheque. The bootmaker had been a former employee of Smith and Compton (Wellington St) as a foreman and had forged the cheque. He used the cheque at the Council Club Hotel to get a loan for 2 pounds. The cheque had a value of 12 pounds. Summary of text from The Age, 27 Jan 1928.

In Oct 1929, Percival Thomas Carroll, hotelkeeper (husband of the Licensee Violet Mary Carroll) of the Council Club Hotel, was charged with assault by William Libbis, night watchman of Napier St. The two were not friends and on 26 September the two had a fight. Libbis was a teetotaller and alleges that Carroll made comments as to the colour of his nose. When Libbis resented this, Carroll knocked him down. Libbis asserted that Carroll was always calling him a ‘pimp’ and ‘scab’ for the police. Carroll’s evidence was the opposite, noting he was talking to a young woman at the front door of his hotel when Libbis passed and said he was using insulting words. According to Carroll, Libbis removed his coat and hat and started to swing punches, with a blow striking one of the witnesses. Carroll then knocked him down. Daniel Carroll (unknown if he is related), a retired railway servant, gave similar evidence and the court found against Libbis. Summary of text from The Age, 8 October 1929.

Is it a coincidence? On 23 January 1930, that the Police (Constable McKean) had the hotel under observation for the evening. McKean states he saw Carroll speak to a woman, who handed him a bag and later Carroll came out with the bag. When intercepted it was found to contain four bottles of beer which Carroll was for a card party he was attending. The Licensee (his wife) said she had been upstairs and knew nothing of the matter. Carroll was fined 2 pounds. Summary of text from The Argus, 21 February 1930.

Violet Mary Carroll was fined again for trading after hours in July 1935, for “having had persons on the premises during prohibited hours”. She was fined 2 pounds. The Argus, 12 July 1935.

The most famous event of the Council Club Hotel, however is not around the hotel at all, but surround the Licensee of the Hotel who was found in his car with one of his dog’s at the bottom of the Yarra. It is believed he was going to take the dogs for a walk and may have suffered a heart attack slamming his foot onto the accelerator and plunging into the Yarra (The Argus, 20 January 1955). Tyre marks and Sarah (his other dog) alerted police where to look. I have included the most graphic of the articles below.

8 December 1954, The Herald, page 1
8 December 1954, The Herald, page 1
8 December 1954, The Herald, page 3

On 29 January 1955, The Argus run the notification that the Victualler’s licence for the Council Club Hotel was to transfer to Alfred Alexander Ward of 177 Reynards St, West Coburg.

The hotel was removed in 1969 as part of the clearance of the slums for the Atherton Towers project.

3 thoughts on “147 Napier St, Fitzroy (The Council Club Hotel)

  1. Mrs A Carroll who took over the license of the hotel in 1882 was daughter of William Blanchfield who had the license before her.

    1. That is fantastic Robyn, I couldn’t find the transfer and that is probably why! Do you have any further information?

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