The Queen Adelaide Inn began life as a comfortable 4 roomed brick cottage that was built by James Sly, a bootmaker, in the mid 1840’s. By 1853, it had been purchased at public auction by George Pollock for the sum of 500 pounds.
By 1856, Pollock had applied for a license to convert the building into a public house. His submission included a respectably signed petition in support of the application, arguing that another pub was needed in the area to service the populous neighbourhood that was growing around the area and concluded that his premises was around a quarter of a mile from any other licensed premises.. His application won approval by the narrow margin of 10 to 8 votes.
Later that year, Pollock sold the Queen Adelaide Inn to Mary Ann Beck, a widow. The role of publican was one of the few occupations available to women during this time but it still had its occupational hazards to go along with the work. And Mary Ann Beck was no exception as she was very soon to discover.
Around 9pm on July 29th 1858, two ticket of leave men entered the Queen Adelaide Inn and ordered a half pint of rum from Mrs Beck. When she went to get the rum, one of the men followed her behind the counter and drew a small pistol from his pocket. Mrs Beck immediately screamed and ran out into the street to get assistance from her neighbors. By the time Mrs Beck and her neighbors returned to the Inn, the two men had disappeared. However, justice would come very quickly for Mrs Beck as within a month, the culprit had been arrested, sent to trial, convicted and sentenced to 12 months imprisonment for the crime of unlawfully presenting a pistol.
Ultimately the Queen Adelaide Inn was located on a street (Adelaide Street) that never carried through traffic and so probably struggled to generate enough income to justify the business. It was considered a strange place to establish a pub. By the late 1860’s, the Queen Adelaide Inn had ceased to be licensed and the building was ultimately split into two separate dwellings and rented out.
The building still remains to this day in South Hobart and appears to be undergoing a major renovation. Fantastic that the place has managed to survive for all these years.
Main Text & Information Source –
“The Story of South Hobart – Street By Street” – Donald Howatson 2012