296 Rae Street, Fitzroy North (North Fitzroy Arms)

c. 2016

“This building existing is most likely that built in 1874 but drastically remodelled and added to during the 1920’s” (Hotels in Fitzroy up to 1906, Nicola A Piccolo, 1971). Nicola notes the location as being on the NE corner of Reid and Rae Streets. The source of the various licensees below is also from Nicola’s thesis.

Francis Healey (Licensee 1874-1878)

First advert associating the Pub with football – something the Arms is still very close to today (2021) Leader, Melbourne 25 April 1874

While the current pub is largely associated with football, there was also a special relationship with cricket . The Commercial Cricket Club held its member meetings at the hotel (The Argus 11 Sep 1875).

But it was not only sporting events that used the pubs as their platform, in 1874, politicians could pub crawl from North to South Fitzroy stopping in 15 mins at a time to proclaim the benefits of a vote in their direction. Mr Delbridge did just this in April 1874, stopping at the Jika Jika Hotel at 7.30pm, the North Fitzroy Arms at 8.00pm, the Lord Newry at 8.30pm and the Evelyn in Fitzroy at 9.00pm. (The Argus, 14 Apr 1874)

Francis Colman (Licensee 1878-1879)

While Francis Colman is listed as the licensee by Nicola Piccolo (1971), the license transferred from John Winpenny Escod to Thomas Knowles on 23 September 1879 (The Argus)

Thomas Knowles (Licensee 1879-1881)

The license was granted to George D Gibson on 1 Feb 1881. (The Argus, 2 Feb 1881)

George Gibson (Licensee 1881-1882)

William Strong (Licensee 1882-1885)

Was prosecuted for placing inferior spirits in bottles bearing the label and trade mark of James Hennessy and Co. The prosecution, which was under the 4th Section of the Trade Marks Statute, was conducted by Mr. O’Connor, of the Excise Department. Mr. Lyons appeared to defend Mrs McCabe (licensee of the Roscrea Hotel, Northcote-road) and Mr. Strong. Mr. Stone conducted his own defence. After hearing the evidence of Mr. Andrews, Inspector of Revenue, and Mr. Bruce, who is an experienced expert in liquors, the bench held each case to be proved. The defendants were each fined 4 pound 4 shillings, with 3 pound and 3 shillings costs, to be recovered by distress, or in default of distress 14 days imprisonment. (Fitzroy City Press, 9 Feb 1884).

William Strong renewed his licence in December 1884 (Fitzroy City Press, 13 Dec 1884).

William O’Brien (Licensee 1885-1889)

On 24 May 1886, William and his wife brought a daughter into the world at the hotel (The Argus, 4 Jun 1886)

Wm. Jas. O’Brien, of the North Fitzroy Arms was charged with Sunday trading. Two constables saw a women approach the side door and the landlord talk to her, he then returned and she walked away. The constables stopped her and found she was carrying a bottle of ‘Castlemaine Ale’. The woman bore out the statement and the case was dismissed (The Argus, 22 Feb 1887).

The Age – 19 July 1887

A temporary licenses were granted for Saturday next to W. J. O’Brien, of the North Fitzroy Arms, for the sale of liquors on the Fitzroy Ground on the occasion of the football match – Fitzroy v Carlton (The Herald, 23 Sep 1887).

Licencing Prosecution- William James O’Brien, licensee of the North Fitzroy Arms was summoned under the 107th section of the Licensing Act for not having his bar door shut and locked during prohibited hours. The evidence of three constables was to the effect that on the night of the 30th March at about five minutes to 12 o’clock they were in Rae-street, and noticing a light shining from a window of defendants hotel, the approached it, and peeping through the half-closed blinds, saw the bar door open. Ten minutes later they again visited the place with an order demanding admission. When they went inside the key was handed to them, and they found the door locked. For the defence a Mr. Robert Read (Reade), a warder at Pentridge Stockade, said the door had not been opened once after half past 11. The Bench however, were of opinion that the bar door had been open after hours, and inflicted a penalty of 5 pounds. (The Age, 24 April 1888).

A temporary licence was granted to W. J. O’Brien, of the North Fitzroy Arms Hotel, for the Fitzroy Cricket Ground (The Herald, 21 Sep 1888).

Mrs O’Donnell (Licensee 1889-1891)

Mrs O’Donnell was not having an easy time when she became the Licensee of the North Fitzroy Arms. She was having deep trouble with her son Cornelius O’Donnell who was 20 years old. Cornelius was said to have assaulted Margaret Wren (10 year old adopted child of Mrs O’Donnell). Margaret stated that “ on Wednesday last O’Donnell came into the kitchen of the hotel in aa state of drunkenness, and asked her about some clothing. She replied that she did not know where the articles were, when he knocked her head against the wall, cutting her scalp and causing her to bleed profusely. “ O’Donnell argued that she had ran down the passage and had knocked her head, but this was disbelieved and he was fined20s or seven days. (The Age 13 April 1889)

The Argus, Fri 26 Apr 1889

William Jones (Licensee 1891-1893)

Miss M. Doyle (Licensee 1893-1894)

Miss J. Mitchell (Licensee 1894-1896) / Mrs Healey (Owner 1894-95) (Rate Books 1894-95)

“Jessie Mitchell, licensee of the North Fitzroy Arms Hotel, Rae-street, North Fitzroy, was proceeded against at the local court yesterday for two breaches of the Licensing Act, in not having her bar door locked, and permitting dancing on her licensed premises. The Bench fined the defendant 5 pounds on the first offence and dismissed the second charge.” (The Argus, 23 Feb 1894)

“Jessie Mitchell, landlady of the north Fitzroy Arms hotel, pleaded guiltily at the local court on Monday to permitting gaming on her licensed premises, also having the bar door open during prohibited hours. The bench fined the landlady 7 pounds in all and allowed costs to the extent of 20s.” (Mercury & Weekly Courier, 8 Aug 1895)

Jessie Alexandria Mitchell married Jos. Thos. Moloney in 1896.

Mrs J. Moloney (Licensee 1896-1900)

The pub was updated in 1898 by Sydney Smith and OGG, Architects (101 Queen St) (The Argus, 4 Jul 1898).

Michael O’Grady (Licensee 1900-1902)

Mrs. M. O’Grady (Licensee 1902-1906)

North Fitzroy Arms Hotel – c.1970-1974 (Committee for Urban Action, State Library)
North Fitzroy Arms Hotel – c.1970-1974 (Committee for Urban Action, State Library)
Pre 2011 – help me out if you know an exact date – North Fitzroy Arms Instagram Site
Photo of the North Fitzroy Arms, maybe c.2011 (from the North Fitzroy Arms Instagram site)
Photo from the North Fitzroy Arms Instagram c.2016
Photo from the North Fitzroy Arms Instagram c.2016
Gordon and Mike – North Fitzroy Arms – 15 Nov 2021 (Photo: Rachel Axton) – Pubs are about community, interaction and inclusivity. Afternoons are for cryptic crosswords (Guardian) to exercise the mind.

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