Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Sir Thomas Brisbane Hotel

Murray Street, Hobart was named by Governor Lachlan Macquarie during his visit to Van Diemen's Land in 1811. It was named after Captain John Murray who had been one of the administrators who were tasked with looking after the running of the settlement during the period following the unexpected death of Lieutenant Governor David Collins in March 1810.

By 1825, retired soldiers from the Royal Veteran Company of New South Wales began receiving land grants in the area around the northern end of Murray Street. The soldiers had received the land grants and a small brick cottage in lieu of free passage back to England and a pension. There were approx 30 small cottages constructed in the area which created a small community that became known as "Veterans Row". The cottages were constructed by the Royal Engineers Department and were described a small huts consisting of only three rooms, a living room, a kitchen and a bedroom.

As the small community became established, other services began to spring up in the area. One of establishments that became a popular meeting place for the soldiers of Veterans Row was the Sir Thomas Brisbane Hotel. The hotel was first licensed by William Cleary in May 1834. Cleary was one of the veterans who lived in the area. The pub was named after a former Governor of New South Wales and became a regular meeting place for the community of veteran soldiers.

During the mid 1830's, Cleary was also involved in other business ventures and he took out a lease on the nearby Government Lime Kilns. The pub became a place for those wishing to purchase lime to place their orders.

William Cleary died in 1850 and his wife, Agnes, gained permission to continue as the pubs new licencee and keep the pub operating. When Agnes passed away, the operation of the pub was taken over by her son, James. By the late 1860's, the Sir Thomas Brisbane Hotel had ceased to be licensed and had become a private residence. It appears that this has been the situation ever since as the building still exists and is in wonderful condition although probably nothing like it's original layout. It remains in use as private units to this day.

Main Information Sources - 
Information Signs at the Site
"The Story Of North Hobart - Street By Street" - Donald Howatson 2013


  1. My Great, Great, Great Grandfather was William Cleary, Licensee of "Sir Thomas Brisbane Hotel". I have only just started researching this part of my maternal family, so it was wonderful to see your photographs of the old hotel. I have some information on William's wife, Agnes, but so far haven't been able to learn about their children. I see from your blog that they had a son named James, but I am wondering if there were more children and if anyone can tell me more. My grandfather Charles Lloyd Cleary came with his parent's to Sydney when he was 5 years of age. Approx. 1886. I will continue searching in the usual way, but would love it if anyone can shine some light on this part of my family. Thank you. Sandra Bradford.

    1. Hi Sandra, Sorry I dont have any further information regarding the family. This was all the information I could find as I was more looking for the hotel rather than the people. Good luck with your search.

  2. I to come down from Wiliam Cleary and would like to make contact with SandraBradford. Phyllis Dowling Tumut NSW

    1. Phyllis Dowling, I would very much like to make contact with you. William Cleary has quite a story. My Mother was a Cleary. Kind regards. Sandra Bradford.

    2. Sandra Bradford
      Phyllis's email address is

  3. Thank you Geoff. I will send her an email. Kind regards, Sandra Bradford.