Melbourne hotels & pubs

08 August, 2010

Elizabeth Street, cnr Collins & King Sts, Melbourne, c 1890
Elizabeth Street, cnr Collins & King Sts, Melbourne, c 1890
Image: Nettleton & Arnest Studio
Source: Museum Victoria

Question: My grandmother was licensee of the Federal Club Hotel on Elizabeth Street from 1908 until 1913. How can I find more information about the hotel?

Answer: Here are some resources to help start your research into the history of licensed hotels in Melbourne; many are also useful for tracing the history of other businesses. Establish the address of the business first and also use this to search archival material - the establishment may only be listed under its address and many hotel names changed regularly.

    ·         Cole/Tetlow Index – State Library of Victoria (SLV)
         Over 21,000 names of hotel licensees from the Robert K Cole collection
         of hotel records.

    ·         Sands & McDougall Melbourne Directories – SLV
         Get an idea of the history of the site by examining the address year by
         year. Also contains business directories and advertisements.

    ·         Trove – National Library of Australia (NLA)
         Explore historic newspaper articles (1803 – 1954) for mention of
         businesses and/or ancestors.

    ·         Public Record Office of Victoria (PROV) 
         Search records related to hotels and other businesses in which you might
         find information.  

    ·        Victorian Births, Deaths and Marriages information resources (NLA) 
         Lists other useful family history resources that might assist with research.

    ·     Picture Australia and other photo websites
        Look at old photos of the street as you may find the business in these
        scenes.

Many of these records will be fairly fragmentary pieces of information, but may help you develop a picture of the history of the business and, perhaps, the licensee.

Comments (4)

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Kenneth Webb 9 October, 2012 18:16
Was interested in the "Bells Hotel" 157 Moray Street South Melbourne.
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Mal Shurey 8 September, 2012 16:52
There used to be an old pub on the corner of Romsey Road (Woodend - Wallan Road) and Boundary Road, Woodend/Newham. It was apparently named 'The Farmer's Arms' and was burned down in 1930. Can you give me any information about this?
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Discovery Centre 9 September, 2012 09:48
Hi Mal, the research tips above mostly hold true for pubs in regional Victoria as well as Melbourne. You might also want to contact the local council and the Woodend & District Historical Society as they may have further information. It would also be worth searching the Trove website for online newspapers as there is likely to be some information there about it also.
yvonne avery 1 September, 2012 20:57
interesting and useful website - thanks
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