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

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 (12)

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yvonne avery 1 September, 2012 20:57
interesting and useful website - thanks
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?
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.
Kenneth Webb 9 October, 2012 18:16
Was interested in the "Bells Hotel" 157 Moray Street South Melbourne.
Andrea 12 July, 2015 16:48
I would like to know anything about the old Fern Hill Hotel in Victoria. Fern Hill is between Tylden and Trentham. Thanks.
Selwyn Blackstone 22 November, 2015 11:11
I am researching the All England Eleven Hotel previously situated cor Rouse Street and Princes Street Port Melbourne- 286 Rouse street Port melb .Where can I find old photos SB
Discovery Centre 22 November, 2015 14:12
Hi Selwyn - for historic photos, a great place to start is the National Library of Australia's Trove service. You can put in the street name and select photos, refine by decade or look for specific keywords, and it will search all of Australia's public photo collections. Enjoy!
Jan Caughey 27 January, 2016 17:30
I have come across a black and white photo of Miechel's hotel, with a Melbourne photographers name stamped on the back. I believe it is connected to Philip Miechel, the Victorian clarinetist and would like to get it to him, or pass it on to an historical appreciation site. Can you help?
kevin waters 3 March, 2016 21:55
could u please tell me the address of the hotel london in melbourne in the seventies
Discovery Centre 6 March, 2016 15:52

Hi Kevin

The Hotel London was located at 97-103 Elizabeth St, Melbourne between 1953 and 1970. The Museum has a great photograph of the bar in our collection which you can view online here: 

Thanks for being in touch and we hope to see you soon at the Museum.

Peter Campbell 19 March, 2017 18:02
Do you have any information about the - Farmers Arms Hotel Woodend. It was delicensed 1930 (???). also do you have a photo of this hotel. A relative of mine had the Hotel and license until it was delicensed. Thank you, Peter Campbell
Discovery Centre 26 March, 2017 11:12

Hi Peter,

Unfortunately, we have not been able to locate a photo for you. However, if you do a search on Trove for Farmers’ Arms Hotel  Woodend you will get a fair few articles on the hotel.

You may want to continue your search for information and photos at the Woodend & District Heritage Society or the Cole-Tetlow Index at the State Library which lists 21,000 names of hotel licensees. You can also access several other directories at the State Library, such as Sands & McDougall, that might prove helpful.

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