The old Brian Boru Hotel in Geelong

posted in: Geelong Heritage | 5

Brian Boru hotel - second from left - c.1880sThat’s the old Brian Boru Hotel in Geelong – the second building from the left in this sketch from the 1880s.

Fortunately it’s still standing at 208 Moorabool Street.

Unfortunately the City of Greater Geelong is a tad lacking in proactively saving our Heritage buildings.  In fact they have a bad track record and it would be nice to think this building will not join the list of others in a shocking state of disrepair and/or demolition for ‘safety’ reasons.

Former Brian Boru Hotel in c.1972This was the hotel in 1972 – photo taken by the late Ian Wynd.

Well I tried to do the right thing and link to the Geelong Advertiser article that prompted this post but I failed!  The link works fine from Google but when I tried to embed the link here it went to a subscription page!

Former Brian Boru Hotel - Geelong Advertiser 19 Nov 2016And this is what it looks like today!  The article is well worth reading and seeing the interior photos of this building that is being trashed beyond belief.  You may be able to pick up the article – I searched Google for ‘geelong advertiser brian boru hotel’ .  That option worked fine but the resulting link didn’t work when embedded.

An updated article in today’s (26 Nov 2016) Geelong Advertiser stated that the owner planned to restore the building and keep squatters out.  Time will tell – owners of other heritage buildings have allowed their building to deteriorate beyond repair.  Hopefully that won’t be the case with this one.

Were you related to any of the licensees?  What about John CLANCHY who was licensee for almost 40 years and by newspaper advertisements was still the owner when he died in 1917.  He transferred his license in 1895 to Sarah Jane CLANCHY – I wonder if this was John’s second wife (known as Sarah Jane as well as Sarah Mary Jane) who he married in 1890 or his daughter Sarah Jane who would have been only 23 at the time and did not marry until 1909.

Perhaps there are descendants around who have a photo of John CLANCHY – it would be great to add his image in a blog.  As he had 14 children from two marriages and at least 9 lived to adulthood, there are likely to be some grand-children and great-children around who may have photos in their family collections.

This list of licensees is from the book Geelong Hotels and Their Licensees by Bill Morrow and Ian Wynd.

  • 1851  Daniel HURLEY renewed (presumably established before 1851)
  • 1852  Daniel HURLEY
  • 1853  Daniel HURLEY
  • 1854  Daniel HURLY [sic]
  • 1855  John O’BRIEN
  • 1856  John O’BRIEN
  • 1857  John O’BRIEN
  • 1858  John CLANCHY
  • 1859  ?
  • 1860  John CLANCHY
  • 1861
  • 1862  John CLANCHY
  • 1863  John CLANCHY
  • 1864  John CLANCHY
  • 1865  John CLANCHY
  • 1866  John CLANCHY
  • 1867  John CLANCHY
  • 1868  John CLANCHY
  • 1869  John CLANCHY
  • 1870  John CLANCHY
  • 1871  John CLANCHY
  • 1872  John CLANCHY
  • 1873  J. CLANCHY
  • 1874  John CLANCHY
  • 1875  James CLANCHY [sic]
  • 1876  John CLANCHY
  • 1877  John CLANCHY
  • 1878  John CLANCHY
  • 1879  John CLANCHY
  • 1880  John CLANCHY
  • 1881  J. CLANCHY
  • 1882  John CLANCHY
  • 1883  John CLANCHY
  • 1884  John CLANCHY
  • 1885  John CLANCHY
  • 1886  John CLANCHY
  • 1887  John CLANCHY
  • 1888  John CLANCHY
  • 1889  John CLANCHY
  • 1890  John CLANCHY
  • 1891  John CLANCHY
  • 1892  John CLANCHY
  • 1893  John CLANCHY
  • 1894  John CLANCHY
  • 1895  John CLANCHY transferred to Sarah Jane CLANCHY
  • 1896  Sarah J CLANCHY
  • 1897  Sarah SHEPHERD
  • 1898  E. BOURDOFF
  • 1899  E. BOURDOFF
  • 1900  Elizabeth BOURDOFF
  • 1901  Elizabeth BOURDOFF
  • 1902
  • 1903  Michael KENNEDY
  • 1904  M. KENNEDY
  • 1905  M. KENNEDY
  • 1906  M. KENNEDY
  • 1907  M. O’CALLAGHAN


5 Responses

  1. Geoff Jones

    Hi Susie

    Just checking the address is correct? I thought the old Brian Boru was at 208 Moorabool Street!

  2. Susie Zada

    Hi Geoff – I’ve just changed it to 208 Moorabool Street as you suggested – this is the number given in the Addy and also the place that comes up on Google Maps for 208. I didn’t think that Moorabool Street properties were renumbered like that as Bill Morrow and Ian Wynd have it at 226 – they weren’t wrong very often!

    • Susie Zada

      And the Victorian Land Channel map shows it at 208A and 208B Moorabool Street – now I need to check my Geelong & District Hotels web page and correct that – I used the addresses in Bill & Ian’s book for most of that!

  3. Colleen Baines

    My 2 x great grandfather was John O’Brien who held the licence from 1855 to 1857. From Co Mayo he arrived in Australia in 1849. He married Mary Hurley, nee Doyle, widow of John Hurley, who supposedly had the licence for the Brian Boru. I do not believe that the Daniel Hurley mentioned is a relative. John and Mary Hurley had two daughters, Catherine B 1849 and Sarah Jane B 1850. John Hurley died in 1852 and Mary married John O’Brien in 1853. He took over the licence. Sadly, Mary died in childbirth on her first wedding anniversary in July 1854. The two girls went to the care of the executor of John’s will, Thomas Powell, but James Doyle, uncle, applied for guardianship as they were not being sent to school etc.
    The Doyle siblings came as part of chain migration; James, Dennis, Michael and Mary arriving over various years.

    John O’Brien married another Tipperary girl in 1855, Catherine Small from Curragh, Portroe Tipperary. she had been a witness at the wedding of Mary Doyle to John Hurley. Her siblings Honora (McSwain) Mary (McDermott) Margaret (Seymour) and brother John with wife Catherine Quinn, followed her to Victoria. Catherine gave birth to a son, George, in Geelong 1856. The lure of the goldfields saw them move to Ballarat and then Forbes and Grenfell in NSW. The remainder of their lives were spent in Grenfell and they are buried together in Grenfell cemetery with a fine headstone. They had four children and three survived.

    Sarah Jane Hurley did not go to Omeo with her Uncle James Hurley and lived in Geelong. She married John Clanchy in 1890. She was in her mid forties but gave birth to two children, Aloysius Marcus 1891-1892 and Mary Kathleen Clanchy (married name Straford) 1896-1989. She is to be found in the electoral rolls living for a time with her daughter, Kathleen, in Melbourne after 1917. Sarah Jane Clancy is buried in the Eastern Cemetery Geelong.

    Catherine Hurley worked as a house servant. She travelled to Dunedin on the ship Rangitoto for 18 months in 1870. Returning to Victoria she died in the South Ward of the Lying In Hospital, of Peritonitis, on 12 Sept 1873. Catherine is buried in the General Cemetery Melbourne.

    I do not have any photos, except for one of Catherine Small O’Brien as an old lady.

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