A CORRECTION: DROMANA HOTEL, ESTABLISHED 1862, VIC., AUST. :: FamilyTreeCircles.com Genealogy
<< Previous - Next >>


Journal by itellya

The superb laminated place mat,detailing the history of the Dromana Hotel (and its competitor) that Ray Stella had printed has an error and it's all my fault. As my journal THE ORIENTAL COAST OF PORT PHILLIP BAY explains, a misreading of Colin McLear's information led me to believe that the Dromana Hotel was built in 1857. Ray used my information about the two hotels,adding that Prime Minister, John Curtin,had lived at the Dromana while his father was the manager and that the Stellas had bought the hotel in 1986. Ray, who has great interest in the hotel's history, could have included more information such as the internal wall (that Ray showed me)which was part of the original building, and that John Coleman died at the hotel after having sold it.

That the construction date was wrong was indicated by my seeing a reference to Richard Watkin leasing William Dixon Scurfield's hotel after 1857. I checked the first (1864) rates but found that both hotels were in operation:
William Dixon Scurfield, house,9 rooms, hotel,Dromana;
Richard Watkins (sic)12 roomed brick house, Hotel Dromana (nett annual value 110 pounds.)

The reference then must have been on trove. In looking for the information that I know is there (it's in the ORIENTAL COAST journal), I discovered that the competitors were actually partners in 1858.

On Port Phillip Bay, about 45 miles from Melbourne, at the foot of Arthur's Seat,parish of Kangerong, county of Mornington. Upset price, 8 per acre. Lot 3. Two roods, 28 the lot. Scurfield and Watkin.

(The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) Tuesday 11 May 1858 p 5.) See 10-5-1858.

This is what I was looking for.
Richard Watkin, Scurfield Hotel, Dromana. Postponed for 14 days.
(DISTRICT LICENSING COURT. (Before Septimus Martin, S.M, (chairman), P. Davis, Edward Cohen, Samuel Heaps, Walsh, Ballen, and Vaughan, Esqs., J.P.'s.)
The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) Wednesday 21 April 1858 p 6 Article.

A new thematic display at the Dromana Museum will hopefully be ready for History Week 2013. While tourism was being discussed at a planning meeting, the consultant was unimpressed with my comment that shooting (hunting) was one of the early tourist attractions. Richard Watkin would have understood me.
The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) Friday 27 August 1858 p 8. SCURFIELD HOTEL, Arthur's Seat, kept by Richard Watkin. Abundance of game. Horses and dogs always ready.

Richard was also involved with the timber trade that caused Dromana's development. The timber-getters, bullockies and ship owners involved in his supply chain are discussed in my ORIENTAL COAST journal.

TO CONTRACTORS.The undersigned is prepare to supply any quantity of POSTS and RAILS Sleepers, hewn and sawn Timber. Piles, and SquS,Timber. RICHARD WATKINS, Scurfield Hotel,Dromana, Arthur's Seat.
(The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) Tuesday 30 November 1858 p 7.)

Richard soon had competition.
-PILES, Squared Beams, Posts and Rails, or any description of Hardwood SUPPLIED in Melbourne or Williamstown, at low rates. A large quantity prepared for delivery. Orders promptly attended to. Reference-Neil M'Lean, Esq , 11 Swanston-street; or Messrs. Musson and Co., Collins-street west. No connection with Mr. Watkins, Dromana,
Survey Bay
. Post address, Dugald M'Queen, Dromana Post-office, Survey Bay, Arthur's Seat.
(The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) Tuesday 7 December 1858 p 7.)

The block for which Scurfield and Watkin paid 28 pounds on the previous day, as reported on 11-5-1858, was, without dispute, crown allotment 1, section 2,township of Dromana. On the township map the grantees are recorded as W.D.Scurfield and R.Walker. (I'm not the only one who makes mistakes!) This block was on the west corner of The Esplanade and Foote St. Consisting of 2 roods, it had frontages of 50 metres to the former (halfway to McArthur St) and 40 metres to the latter. This block is now bisected by the start of Latrobe Pde.

I believe that Richard Watkin was a builder. This belief is based on his involvement in the timber trade. He may also have been a bricklayer. I have not seen one reference to a bricklayer in Dromana's history so it is possible that he built the Dromana hotel himself. Whether he got Peter Pidoto or whomever to return with bricks after carrying his timber to Melbourne or obtained them from Walter Gibson's clay pit on "Glenholm" or Captain Adams (whose son supplied the bricks for the Anglican church at Dromana) can only be guessed. Here are Colin McLear's words which I misunderstood.

P.38.Richard Watkin is credited with having had built in 1857 the first house in Dromana as distinct from Kangerong...He also constructed a store.
P.54.In the 19th Century prospecting days, miners could sell their findings to Dawes who ran a store on the corner of Foote St and Latrobe St in the first Carnarvon which then stood there. On the counter stood his gold scales in what was the first Dromana Post Office. P.82. This building was constructed of McCrae granite. Walter Gibson later built a new post office in the centre of town...

In articles from 1861, it appeared that the Hotel Dromana had been built but further examination of election meetings revealed that "hotel, Dromana" was actually Scurfield's hotel.

(Before W. B. Noel, Esq, Chief Commissioner of Insolvent Estates.)
Certificates of discharge were granted to the following insolvents, there being no Opposition ;J. A. Creelman, of Richmond, surgeon ; William Lewis Hall, of Melbourne,agent ; Joseph Davies, of the United Company, Ballarat, miner; Louis Hirschfield, of Melbourne, bird dealer ; Kingwall and Watkin, of Dromana, storekeepers (to Watkin
only) ; etc. (The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) Tuesday 21 April 1863 p 6 Article.)

DROMANA HOTEL, Established 1862.- First class accommodation and sea bathing. Coach from Melbourne daily. Steamer Williams four times a week. Tho scenery around Dromana is unrivalled in the colony. Terms moderate Horses and vehicles at low rates . R. Watkin, Proprietor.
(The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) Friday 16 January 1880 p 3.)

Viewed: 773 times
by itellya Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2013-08-30 01:03:56

Itellya is researching local history on the Mornington Peninsula and is willing to help family historians with information about the area between Somerville and Blairgowrie. He has extensive information about Henry Gomm of Somerville, Joseph Porta (Victoria's first bellows manufacturer) and Captain Adams of Rosebud.

Do you know someone who can help? Share this:


Register or Sign in to comment on this journal.