BLOCK 21 | Rose, Thistle and Shamrock

On this day, 23 January 1847,  The Port Phillip Patriot and Morning Advertiser, ran the following advertisement for Richard Browne:

Richard Browne; begs to inform his friends and the public, that he has obtained from the former Proprietor the transfer of the above-licensed premises in Elizabeth Street, a few doors from Townend’s Corner, the business of which he intends to continue and trusts from his experience and determination, to render satisfaction, that he may be considered entitled to his share of public support. The stock of Spirituous and Fermented Liquors will always be of the most approved sort, which combined with his other arrangements for the convenience of those patronising his establishment, cannot fail to induce a continuance of their patronage. N.B, An extensive bullock yard, and first-rate set of stabling are connected with the premises, which, with other advantages, hold out peculiar inducements to parties visiting Melbourne from the interior.

The former proprietor was John McColl and the licensed premises was The Rose, Thistle and Shamrock Hotel, located in Elizabeth Street where The Strand is today, in fact, the hotel stood where you enter The Strand apartments at 250 Elizabeth Street. John McColl died here on 7 August 1846, aged 41 years. Ann and Sarah McColl took over the running of the hotel until Richard Browne was awarded the new license.

250E Apartments, The Strand, 250 Elizabeth Street, looking south along the east side of Elizabeth Street. This is where the Rose, Thistle and Shamrock Hotel once stood © 32Blocks
250E Apartments, The Strand, 250 Elizabeth Street, looking north along the east side of Elizabeth Street. This is where the Rose, Thistle and Shamrock Hotel once stood © 32Blocks

‘The Rose’, formerly known as St Patrick’s Hotel when it was built in 1840, was a two-storey building with a detached kitchen, 8 rooms and a seven stall stable. It was considered to be a large hotel in those days. The licensee, Mr George Jones, was declared insolvent and John McColl became the new licensee of the hotel, which was subsequently renamed the Rose, Thistle and Shamrock Hotel.

Looking north from the Post Office, Elizabeth Street, 1867, Photographer is Charles Nettleton, courtesy of The State Library of Victoria.

The hotel had a very colourful history but it was sadly brought to an end by a calamitous fire on 30 November 1907, and when parts of the hotel collapsed in January 1908:

The Bendigo Independent, Monday, 02 Dec 1907.

‘A great fire broke out shortly after 9 o’clock on Saturday night at the warehouse of Messrs. Clark and Company, general importers, Elizabeth Street, near the Post Office. The building, which was originally erected by Messrs. Wallach and Company, furniture warehousemen, was five storeys high, of very imposing appearance, and great storage capacity. It was filled with combustibles of various kinds, including fancy goods, kerosene, and eucalyptus oil … 250 Elizabeth Street to 252 Elizabeth Street 3 storey brick building, owned by Capt. Vallange, occupied by J Holby, licensee of the Rose, Thistle and Shamrock Hotel (14 rooms), upper floor damaged by falling walls, and the rear by fire, and contents of the rest by water; contents insured for £500 in the Standard Company; insurance on the building not known.’

The Age, Monday, 06 Jan 1908:

‘A further development in the natural demolition of the ruins remaining as a result of the fire at Wallach’s buildings in Elizabeth street took place at about 7.20 a.m. on Saturday, when some rooms in the upper storey of the Rose, Thistle and Shamrock Hotel came thundering to the ground. The fall of Wallach’s middle wall on Boxing day had left several rooms in the upper storey of the hotel practically without support. The building is now standing obviously unsafe, full of cracks, and shaped like an inverted triangle. Two men were in the bar at the time of the fall, and it was only by good fortune that the whole building did not fall to pieces like a pack of cards, killing them there.’

Block 21, Melbourne © 32 Blocks