About this blog

This blog is about the history of the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp and neighbouring areas, such as Pakenham, Cranbourne and Garfield, and any other historical subjects I feel like writing about. It's my own original research and writing and if you live in the area you may have read some of the stories before in the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society newsletter or the Koo-Wee-Rup township newsletter, The Blackfish, or the Garfield township newsletter, The Spectator.
Heather Arnold.

Friday, July 14, 2017

A trip from Dandenong to Garfield and Bunyip

I wrote this for the Garfield Spectator and wrote a companion story for the Koo-Wee-Rup Blackfish about a trip from Dandenong to Koo-Wee-Rup and Lang Lang, which you can read that here. They both start off the same, at Dandenong.

Let’s imagine we were travelling by horse and coach down the Gippsland Road (the Princes Highway) from Dandenong to Garfield in the 1800s - what hotels would we encounter on the way? We would have the need to call in to some of these hotels to get something to eat and drink for both ourselves and the horses. The journey is about 50km or 30 miles so even going by Cobb & Co coach which was a ‘fast’ and relatively comfortable service with modern coaches which had a suspension system made of leather straps, it was still a four hourjourney as the coaches travelled at about six to eight miles per hour. The horses were swapped every ten to thirty miles. So we’ll start our journey at Dandenong which had a large range of hotels - Dunn’s Hotel and Dunbar’s Dandenong Hotel were both built in the 1840s, the Bridge Hotel and the Royal Hotel in the 1850s to name a few.

The next hotel on the Gippsland Road was the Emu and Kangaroo, built in 1855 by James Mulcare near the Eumemmerring Creek. It was later taken over by Michael Hennessy and renamed the Eumemmerring Hotel although it was also simply called Hennessy’s, as he owned the hotel from 1865 to 1888. There was a race track next to the Hotel, known as Hennessy’s Course.  Other early licensees were Joseph Edmonds and Emma Birt. The original hotel burnt down, a replacement was built which was delicenced in 1917 and demolished. The Prince Mark Hotel, built in the 1960s, now occupies the site.

The next Hotel was the Hallam Hotel, which was started by William and Mary Hallam in the 1870s. They also had a general store. In 1885, Edmund Uren took over the property and he operated the Hotel until he died in July 1892 when his wife, Elizabeth, took over the licence. Elizabeth operated the hotel until June 1898.  The original single storey building was refurbished and a second storey added in 1930/31.   The double storey part of the hotel that you see today is the 1930s building. In 1855, the Mornington Hotel was established on the corner of Narre Warren North Road and the Gippsland Road by J. Gardiner and later taken over by John Payne. It was dismantled in the 1880s or 1890s.

We now come to the Berwick Inn also known as the Border Hotel - it’s still standing on the corner of High Street and Lyall Road in Berwick. It was built by Robert Bain in 1857. The triangular single storey part is the 1857 construction which is made of hand-made bricks from local clay. The two storey sections were added in 1877 and 1887. Robert Bain died in 1887 and his wife Susan took over the hotel and operated it until she died in June 1908.

We continue down the Gippsland Road and we come to the Central Hotel on the Cardinia Creek at Beaconsfield. David and Janet Bowman were granted a licence for the Gippsland Hotel (as the Central Hotel was originally called) in 1855. David Bowman died in 1860 and Janet Bowman continued running the Hotel until around 1866. It was later taken over by the Souter family. There were Cobb & Co stables at the Hotel. The existing Central Hotel was built around 1928.


Bourke's Hotel in Pakenham, 1909. 
Photo is from 'In the wake of the Pack Tracks' published by the Berwick Pakenham Historical Society. 

The next hotel was on the Toomuc Creek - the Latrobe Inn also called Bourke’s Hotel for the obvious reason that it was established by Michael and Kitty Bourke in 1849. This was a ‘hostelry of high repute’ and had good accommodation. They operated the Hotel and the Post Office together until Michael died in 1877, when Catherine continued operating both businesses, with the help of her daughter Cecelia, until she died in 1910.This was also a Cobb & Co stop. Another hotel was built in Pakenham, near the railway station, soon after 1877 when the railway arrived. This was once called Frasers Hotel after the original owners, Alexander and Eliza Fraser, and later called the Gembrook Hotel and is now called the Pakenham Hotel. The current building dates from 1929. 

In 1863, David Connor built the Halfway House Hotel just down from the corner of Abrehart Road and the Gippsland Road.  It was delicenced in 1899 and became a private house.  The building is said to have been moved to the Moe Folk Museum. 

Closer towards Nar Nar Goon was the Limerick Arms Hotel built in the 1860s by Daniel and Brigid O’Brien.  It was on the corner of Wilson Road and the Gippsland Road. Daniel, Brigid and their daughter Ellen had arrived in Melbourne in September 1841. Also on the same ship were the Dore family - John and Betty and their children Edward, Thomas, Patrick and Ellen. In 1844, John Dore and Michael Hennessey took up the Mount Ararat Run at Nar Nar Goon of 1,900 acres. The partnership existed until 1855. This was the same Michael Hennessy who had the Eumemmerring Hotel. The Limerick Arms was also a Cobb & Co stop and it was delicensed in 1908 and the building later demolished. Daniel and Brigid’s son, Michael and his wife Johanna opened the Nar Nar Goon Hotel (near the Railway Station) in 1883.


Halfway House Hotel, 1900
Photo is from 'In the wake of the Pack Tracks' published by the Berwick Pakenham Historical Society.

The next hotel was at the old town of Cannibal Creek on the Old Coach road, a bit further north than the Gippsland Road. This township was located on the banks of the Cannibal Creek, sort of in the region of Bassed Road. The Hotel was the Pig & Whistle, established by Jabez James around 1866. Kathleen Leeson then operated the hotel from 1869 to 1910.  Back onto the Gippsland Road - in 1867 David Connor established the  New Bunyip Inn  on the south side of the Highway, just east of A'Beckett Road and the west side of the Bunyip River.  His son-in-law, David Devanny or Devenay  or Deveney (I’ve seen the name spelt three ways) later took over the Hotel and he was still there in 1897, but the hotel was closed by the Licensing Reduction Board in 1917, the same time as the Eumemmerring Hotel.

If we go back in to the town of Garfield, the Iona Hotel opened around April 1904. It was built by George Ellis. Sadly, the hotel was destroyed by fire in April 1914 but the existing Hotel opened on the same site in 1915. There were two hotels that opened in the township of Bunyip around 1877 which, as we saw before, was the year the railway arrived.  The Hotels were the Butcher's Arms and the Bunyip Hotel, according to Denise Nest in her book Call of the Bunyip and they are (I believe)  the forerunners of the current Bunyip Hotels, the Railway Hotel and the Gippsland Hotel (the Top Pub).

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