406 Napier Street, Fitzroy (The Rose Hotel)

“Opened in 1886, the hotel, if indeed built in that year, displays amazing restraint in the use of decoration save for the free standing pediment above the parapet and cornice – however, the semi-circular arch over the windows are contemporary” (Hotels in Fitzroy up to 1906, Nicola A Piccolo, 1971).

The original Rose Hotel was on the south side of Rose St between George and Napier Street. It was created in 1861 as a hotel but had no license. The Publican was A.W. Sandstrum in 1862 and this passed to J Page in 1863, Thomas McClean in 1864 and W Bond in 1865. At this time the Rates books described the hotel as a Stone building with a bar and 9 rooms.

The haphazard licensing continued with new publicans almost every year throughout its time in this location – William Monteith (1867), no licensee (1868), Lawrence Murphy (1869), William Hensley (1870), William Peachey (1871), no licensee (1872), Mary Hogan (1874), PC Hardy (1875), George Byrne (1876), no licensee (1877), Patrick Buggy (1878), EJ Stenning (1879), Michael Mulhall (1880), A Nicholson (1885) and then finally the hotel closed in 1886.

Curing this crazy unsettled period it was known as the Hit or Miss Hotel (1865-1866), the White Horse (1867), the Murphy, vainly named after the publican (1869) and Reefers (1870-1871). It then became the Rose from 1872 onwards.

After the new building was built the pub was initially run by J McMahon until 1889. It was then taken over by Mrs M Donovan and the 1891 Rate Book recorded it as a Brick Building with 18 rooms. From 1890, the houses started to extend north. The East side of the street was developed much later than the west. Mrs Donovan ran the pub till at least 1906.

I haven’t yet looked in detail for the period to the 1930’s, but know that in 1933 Percival Seymour Gray was the publican. At some point prior to 1938 this transferred to Mary Frances Mathieson. Mary was married to John Joseph Mathieson who was also a Hotel keeper. They lived at 113 Wellington St Collingwood.

There two great photos from May 1938 at the Rose Hotel – I will need to get a copy to scan at some point.

On 3 September 1938 she tried to transfer the pub to Reginald Gilford Mann, but this must have failed and it was transferred on 24 September 1938 to Elizabeth O’Brien

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