Wednesday, 27 August 2014

The Berriedale Inn

The Berriedale Inn was constructed by Ramsay Williamson in 1833.  The building fronted onto the eastern side of ‘the High road from Hobart Town to New Norfolk’ just over six miles from the centre of town, and backed onto the River Derwent.

Ramsay Williamson had previously been the publican at the Green Man which was located on the Main Road about a mile further to the north.  Williamson was granted a license to retail wine and spirits at the Barradale Inn in December 1833.  (During the 1830s a variety of different spellings were used including the Barradail Inn, the Berridale Inn and the Berriedaile Inn).  Williamson advertised his new premises in the Colonial Times and assured ‘his friends and the public, the best of Wines, Spirits, Malt and other Liquors will always be kept’ and advised there was ‘extensive Stabling, and good provender for horses, also strong yards for cattle.’

The lease of the Berriedale Inn was advertised in the Colonial Times in June 1838.  The premises were described as ‘substantially built, containing twelve rooms, with every convenience as an Inn of the first respectability, for traveller and visitors from town’.  William Montgomerie became the licensee later that year.

In October 1839 there was a ‘burglary with violence’ at the Berriedale Inn.  Montgomerie was awoken at quarter past one in the morning and when he went downstairs he observed a light in the bar.  Montgomerie saw a burglar at the till and told him to ‘come out of that’ as he had no business there.  The burglar then ran round the counter and seized Montgomerie by the throat, tried to draw his night-cap over his face, and strangle him.  A second intruder then came in and struck Montgomerie two or three times with an axe, drawing blood and ‘making him stupid at the time’.  Montgomerie’s wife and servant then entered the room and the burglars escaped out of the parlour window.

The police soon apprehended two suspects – John Barron and George Crosby – two convicts who had absconded from the New Town Bay station.  Montgomerie was able to positively identify Barron but had not seen the other man clearly, as Barron had been pulling his cap over his face and trying to strangle him.  The judge directed the jury that the evidence against Crosby was very slight but Barron was clearly identified, and although he did not hold the axe he was equally guilty of the charge of wounding.  The jury retired for just ten minutes before acquitting Crosby and finding Barron guilty.  The judge stated that if crimes of this description were not adequately punished, society would not be safe, and sentenced Barron ‘to suffer the extreme penalty of the law’ (a death sentence).

The lease of the Berriedale Inn was advertised in the Colonial Times in February 1845.  It was described as a ‘capacious and well known Public Inn’ and its situation ‘as a halt for travellers, either going from or returning to the city, is too well known to require one word of comment’.  John Ray subsequently became the licensee, although he had previously been refused a license for a pub in Hobart on account of his character, as he was alleged to be living with another man’s wife. A stag hunt commenced from the Berriedale Inn in October 1845 but the hounds were muzzled and participants were cautioned not to shoot or injure the stag as it was the property of Governor Eardley-Wilmot.

Francis Piesse took over the license in October 1846 and advertised that the Berriedale Inn had been ‘newly furnished, and affords every accommodation for visitors, pleasure parties, and travellers, with private apartments, beds, and stabling at moderate charges’.  It also noted that pleasure boats were available for hire.

In June 1851 some fields near the Berriedale Inn were the venue for the inaugural Glenorchy Ploughing Match.  The competition lasted for two days and there were separate events for Europeans and Native Youth (a contemporary term for colonists who had been born in Australia).  In the evening a large dinner was held at the Berriedale Inn and speeches were made.  Thomas Lowes, chairman of the Glenorchy Ploughing Association, and owner of the nearby Lowestoft property, declared that the association’s intention was to cultivate a feeling similar to that possessed by the old English peasantry.  Meritorious rivalry in farming operations was to be encouraged amongst the agricultural labourers.  Lowes suggested that labourers who worked hard could be allotted a portion of land.  He thought that this prospect would motivate labourers to work cheerfully and not become careless and indifferent.  Over time, a tenantry could be developed to provide the connecting link between the landlord and his labourers.

William Mason, a licensed victualler, purchased the Berriedale Inn and 21 acres of land extending around the northern side of today’s Berriedale Bay for ₤1,950 in April 1858.  Mason operated the Berriedale Inn until his death in June 1862.  The license was then transferred to his widow, Ellen.  Working as a publican was one of the few occupations available to women at that time.

The Berriedale Inn was advertised for auction in The Mercury in December 1865 and again in August 1868.  The notice stated that ‘This favored hostelry is most substantially built of stone, in excellent condition, and the outbuildings consist of stabling, cow sheds, summer house, skittle sheds, and all the requisites for a complete and comfortable establishment’.  The pub and adjoining 21 acres were purchased by Thomas Lowes, owner of the nearby Lowestoft property.

Henry Elliss was the publican at the Berriedale Inn from 1869 until his death, at the advanced age of 88 years, in November 1888.  In the early 1870s the Main Line Railway was constructed and this dramatically reduced the volume of coach traffic along Main Road which had provided a good proportion of the trade for roadside inns like the Berriedale Inn.  The Traveller’s Rest public house which was located about a mile to the north of the Berriedale Inn closed in 1877, shortly after trains services commenced, but the Berriedale Inn continued.

The Berriedale Inn had been owned by John White, a storekeeper from Bothwell, since September 1872 and his son, Lennard White, became the licensee in 1889.  White appears to have changed the pub’s name from the Berriedale Inn to the Berriedale Hotel, although both names were used interchangeably for a number of years.  White advertised the Berriedale Hotel in The Mercury in February 1892 highlighting that the pub backed onto the Derwent ‘where fish are to be caught in large numbers’ and advised that boats were kept for the convenience of visitors.

Throughout the early 1900s, drinking in pubs on Sundays was prohibited but there was a bit of a loophole – ‘bona fide travellers’ who were at least three miles from their place of residence had a right to demand refreshment so that they could continue their journey.  The Licensing Act required publicans to exercise the greatest care in ascertaining the addresses of people representing themselves as travellers and they were not to be satisfied by a bare statement.  This arrangement meant that Hobart residents were eligible to drink at Glenorchy pubs on Sundays provided they had a legitimate reason to be travelling past (wanting to have a drink on a Sunday was not accepted as a legitimate reason).  The police prosecuted a number of people for drinking at the Berriedale Hotel on a Sunday after falsely representing themselves as travellers and fined the licensee for not making adequate inquiries into their patrons’ circumstances.

William Hawkes was the owner and licensee of the Berriedale Hotel from 1923 until 1930 and during this period the pub was the venue for a number of sporting events including: a wood-chopping contest where ‘a good exhibition of axemanship’ was expected; a clay bird shooting match for 50 sovereigns and a gold medal; and a 50 mile cycling championship that extended from the pub almost to Melton Mowbray and back again.

Hawkes died tragically in June 1930 when he ‘left the train at the wrong station’.  Hawkes had intended to alight at the Berriedale station which had a platform on the left-hand-side of the train.  Rosetta, the previous stop, did not have a platform and passengers were required to descend from the right-hand-side of the train.  Hawkes confused the Rosetta stop with Berriedale and when he stepped off the left-hand-side of the train, he fell and struck his head on a concrete culvert.

Joseph Pybus became the licensee of the Berridale Hotel in October 1931 but his application for renewal in March 1933 was refused because he had been ‘conducting his house in a very loose manner’ and there had been a number of convictions in a short period of time for drinking after hours and for drinking on a Sunday.  The police even argued that the pub was not required in the neighbourhood and was used by persons passing along the Main Road rather than by residents.  Nevertheless, a new licensee was approved.

The Berriedale Hotel subsequently had a long series of short-term owners and licensees before it finally closed in the early 1970s.  The building was extensively refurbished and now serves as a community centre.
The central section of the building’s front façade is apparently unchanged since it was constructed in 1833.  It is the oldest surviving former pub in the Glenorchy municipality and a good example of the inns that were built along the Main Road from Hobart Town to Launceston in the coaching era. The surrounding suburb was named after the pub and has been known as Berriedale since the 1890s.  The bay at the rear of the building is known as Berriedale Bay.
Main Text & Information Source - Australian Heritage Database