175 years ago – Retreat Inn

Retreat InnThe Retreat Inn was opened in 1840 in the “first” Geelong which is now South Geelong on the Barwon River.  Newspaper reports then referred to North Geelong which is NOT today’s North Geelong but today’s Geelong!  Confused?  Just think this through logically – most new towns were located on a river providing a source of fresh water.  So Geelong was initially created on the Barwon River.  It’s port was actually on the bay which was to the north of Geelong [now South Geelong] and hence was referred to as North Geelong.  North Geelong grew to become the centre of the thriving city, hence it was then called Geelong and not North Geelong.  So if you find a reference to North Geelong in newspapers and local records, be aware that it could mean Geelong and not the North Geelong we know today.  Some important buildings have been referred to in the Geelong Advertiser as being in North Geelong, and the SAME building has been referred to as being in Geelong.  An example of this is the Immigration Depot.  It was always in Geelong and not North Geelong (now, not then!).  But, I digress, albeit with interesting snippets – be prepared for more of these digressions in this 175 years ago series.

The Retreat Inn was located on the south west corner of Fyans Street and Bellerine Street in South Geelong … errrr … Geelong but now South Geelong … understand?

As with many hotels in Geelong / South Geelong / North Geelong [understand?] it had more than one name.  The name change sometimes coincided with a new licensee.  The Retreat Inn / Hotel was also known as the Valley Inn and the Factory Inn / Hotel.

On 30 December 1840 a preliminary meeting was held at the Retreat Inn to form a Cricket Club – this was formed in 1841.  There was no official oval – any large open space would do.  And these were “exhibition” matches held during the 1840s – such as one between the bricklayers and the carpenters of the district.

The photo above is a recent one of the Retreat Inn.  Over the years the Retreat Inn has been extended, renovated, rebuilt and everything in between, however it has continually operated on the same site since 1840 when the first licensee was Joseph GRIFFIN.  Other early licensees included Patrick McKEEVER, William PERREN, James Henry KNIGHT, Francis BALFOUR, James McINNIS, William McGUINNESS and Robert McPHERSON.  The latter had an interesting notation in Geelong Hotels and their Licensees – in 1855 Robert McPHERSON was granted a license with caution to abstain from fiddling and dancing!  How outrageous!

Another digression – the book Geelong Hotels and their Licensees by Bill Morrow and Ian Wynd is just one of hundreds of local books indexed in the Geelong & District database – why not search for your names or places?  It’s free and there are more than 1.89 million entries!

Enough digressing – from the Geelong Advertiser, Saturday 30 January 1841, page 3 …

J GRIFFIN, Geelong Retreat Inn, Is happy to have it in his power to inform the Settlers of this district, that he has secured the services of one of the best FARRIERS in the Colony, so that he can now undertake orders of every description, either in Farriery or general Smith Work ; and he is confident of giving complete satisfaction to all who may honor him with their commands.

Don’t you just love the words and phrases used?

175 years ago!

Old Geelong Advertiser buildingAnyone researching in our Geelong & District region who doesn’t know that the Geelong Advertiser is THE paper to use must have been hiding under a rock!

You can read some of the history of this wonderful newspaper or visit the paper’s current web site.  This newspaper has been published continuously since 1840 and still going strong today.  In the earlier years the Geelong Advertiser was the newspaper for ALL areas of Western Victoria and south east South Australia.  It carried important news and VERY personal news – some that they wouldn’t be allowed to publish today for fear of being sued!

It’s full of wonderful articles and snippets for local and family history researchers so it’s a wonderful candidate for “On This Day”.  BUT it wasn’t published every day in the early years and I’m certainly not up to doing a daily blog.  Instead I’ve decided to do a semi-regular blog with entries from the newspaper 175 years ago.  Not on a specific date but sometime during the year 175 years ago – so this year that means 1841.

And of course you can do your own research as the Geelong Advertiser is searchable on TROVE – currently up to 1926.

So this is the beginning of a series of blogs for “175 years ago!”

Congratulations to Jan Parker

Jan ParkerJan isn’t a Geelong “local” although she definitely has ancestors in our region.  However many of you will know Jan from her involvement in the family history world – President, Victorian Association of Family History Organisations together with her ongoing involvement with the Yarrawonga, Cobram and Goulburn & Murray Family History associations.

Australia Day 2016 was a special day for Jan who was named the Yarrawonga Citizen of the Year and gained a special mention in the Moira Shire’s Citizen of the Year – both well-deserved for this hard working community contributor.

Congratulations from all your Family History cohorts.

DIFFERENT free Victorian records to search!

Australia DayBy now everyone knows that Findmypast and Ancestry have offered free access to some of their Australian records in celebration of Australia Day.

More than 40,000 entries from a myriad of different sources have just been added to the Geelong & District Database.

Big bonus:

  • You DON’T have to give any credit card details
  • It’s ALWAYS free to search
  • That offer doesn’t end after Australia Day!

The Geelong & District Database now contains more than 1,689,267 entries from more than 9,811 sources!

Have fun!

Demanding? Fresh bread!

BANT's Bakery, cnr Moorabool StreetThe Investigator, the Geelong Historical Society’s magazine, has been published since 1965.  It is always full of great articles, regular features, and wonderful snippets.

A delightful snippet originally published in the Geelong Advertiser, appeared in the September 2014 issue of the Investigator.

Geelong bread carters are finding a considerable percentage of unreasonable housewives who want fresh bread, must have it, and won’t take any other.  The objection would not be so bad if it were not supplemented by absurd reproof and argument directed against the offending carter.  Generally, the men are not working any later through the change in hauling, but they are chaffing under the tongue-wagging of some of their clients.  The remarkable part of it is that the bulk of the offenders are the wives of unionists, who should be glad to see the conditions of fellow-unionists improved.  The system of day baking is on its trial and already it is admitted by sympathizers that it will never be satisfactory till made compulsory by Act of Parliament.

 

Do you enjoy the Antiques Roadshow?

bellhsfIf so, you won’t want to miss this special event at the Bellarine Historical Society!  Come along and bring your bottle(s).

What: Free Bottle Appraisal and Valuations

When: Sunday 14th February, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Bellarine Historical Society, Old Court House Museum, 11 High Street, Drysdale Vic 3222

Details: Bottle Valuations Event and contact details.

About: Paul and David Bruce, well respected collectors and traders in antique bottles, will appraise and value your bottle(s).

Cost: No charge however a gold coin entry donation would be must appreciated.

The Bellarine Historical Society will also be supporting the 2016 Festival of Glass in Drysdale on Sunday 21st February.