Who did run the Belgravia hotel in Nicholson Street Footscray in 1950? The answer is, George Stanley and Eva May Quinn. This reference inquiry was answered by searching the online, Tetlow index to the Robert K. Cole collection of hotel records: city and suburban hotels compiled by the State Library of Victoria’s Genealogy Team volunteer, Eric Tetlow.

The Index contains over 21,000 entries for select Melbourne and suburban hotel licencees and others taken from the original workbooks in the Robert K. Cole collection of hotel records held in the Library’s Australian Manuscripts Collection, (MS 7592). Transcriptions of entries in the workbooks are located on open access in the Library’s Helen Macpherson Smith Genealogy Centre, (G 994.5 C67H). The information covers the years c1841 to 1949 and was gathered by Robert K. Cole from various sources such as post office directories, newspaper notices and trade journals.

The Index:

Searches for licencees (and others) and hotel names can be performed using the online Tetlow index… through the Library’s website.  A search for the Belgravia hotel as a Hotel name provides the reference, Volume 2, page 149.

The transcriptions:

Following the Index entry (Volume 2, page 149) we see that George Stanley and Eva May Quinn took over the licence of the Belgravia hotel in July 1950 from Linda and George Henry Newsome. The page also presents a list of licencees of the Belgravia hotel between 1875 to 1917 (there is a gap between 1918 and 1949).

Of interest there is an annotation that reads, “Quinn’s had Rainbow hotel, Fitzroy & Grand, Warrandyte & G.S. Quinn had St Andrew’s, Queenstown”. Snippets of interest may be found for certain hotels including notices of funeral processions leaving a hotel, failed or withdrawn licence applications, fires, auctions and the occasional description of hotel interiors.  From the entry for the Barkly Arms/Oriental hotel, Williamstown we learn that licencee Biddy Walker “was one of the greatest friends the sailor men ever had.”

If you think you have a hotelier in your family history you may wish to search the Tetlow index to the Cole records – now available online through the library’s Australiana index.

Even if you don’t have a hotelier, your relatives may have had an association with a particular hotel in an area. When I was a young boy my father and uncles would meet at the Royal Oak hotel in Nicholson Street, Fitzroy after the football each Saturday. The licencees at the time were Mr and Mrs Walsh, the parents of the well known television personality, Mike Walsh.

This article has 9 comments

  1. Pauline Handley

    While conducting family history, I discovered that a family member died at the Rainbow hotel in Williamstown. That was back in 1856. There is no hotel of that name now, so assume it was changed or the hotel closed?? His name was John Lazone and he was a musician. Buried at Williamstown

    • Thank you for the post about the Rainbow hotel in Williamstown Pauline. I checked the ‘Tetlow index to the Robert K. Cole collection of hotel records’ for a possible reference to the Rainbow hotel in Williamstown. While there are 382 references to Williamstown hotels in the Index, I could not find one for the Rainbow hotel. I checked Bruce Tait’s book, ‘Pubs of Williamstown: historical guide’ and found an entry for the Rainbow hotel and a photograph of it when it was later called the Railway hotel. The entry states that the hotel was situated on the northern side of Cecil Street at number 66, a few doors down from Thompson Street and that the landlady was Elizabeth Overend. The hotel got its name due to the various colours of paint used on the facade. The Rainbow’s licence appears to have operated between 1855 to 1858. The entry informs us of a fire at the hotel in June 1856, the hotel’s association with the American Bowling Alley and an altercation between a number of men staying a the hotel which resulted in the death of John Higgins, a lighterman in September 1857. Unfortunately, John Lazone is not mentioned.

  2. My ancestor Lewis Pedrana was one of Melbourne’s early publicans (about 1839). He was licensee of several establishments. I couldn’t follow the link (above)to the Tetlow Index so I hope you can help me.

  3. I am researching my family history, where Marie Durre was the Licensee of the Belgravia Hotel in Footscray. Her brother, Henry Schober (jnr) was the barman in 1897. A TROVE article of that year – dated 16 Jan 1987, tells of a fine for allowing drinking after hours on New Year’s night.
    I would like to find out when they took over the licence of the Hotel and when they moved on. Marie Durre is my great-grandmother. Any further information would be most welcome.
    Many thanks, Marilyn

    • Thanks for your question Marilyn. I’ve transferred your inquiry to our Ask-a-librarian service.
      You’ll be hearing from us soon.


  4. Malcolm McDonald

    I would like help in finding the name or names for the licence of the Belgravia hotel in Nicholsen St Footscray during 1954. During the Royal visit in 1954, Prince Philip visited the Belgravia hotel for an evening with the licencees who had befriended Philip when they had a hotel in Sunshine during the Second World War, and Philip was a British Naval officer in Melbourne.
    Malcolm McDonald

    • Thanks for your question Malcolm. I’ve transferred your inquiry to our Ask-a-librarian service.
      You’ll be hearing from us soon.


    • Annette gladman

      My mum (96 years old) has said prince Phillip visited the FOwlers at the belgravia hotel in Footscray. I’ll ask her what else she remembers and if there is anything more to add I’ll get back to you.

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