Duchess of Kent Hotel

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The wife of John Spanake assisted Frederick Vern at the Duchess of Kent Hotel in Ballarat East.[1]

In the News

BALLARAT BUILDING ASSOCIATION - Last night, at the Duchess of Kent Hotel, was held a public meeting of directors and others concerned in promoting the above institution.
Present :-Mr Belford (in the chair), and Messrs Rodier, Coote, Dyte, Middleton, O'Meara, &c.
The Chairman having opened the business of the meeting, called upon Mr Charles Dyte, who, followed by Dr Coote, ably set forth the objects and advantages of the institution.
The business of taking up shares was then successfully proceeded with, and the meeting separated until Thursday evening, when they will meet at the Council Chambers, Sturt street.[2]

GREAT FLOOD AT BALLARAT. - On Saturday night we were again visited with a thunderstorm of greater, magnitude, and of longer duration than that of the two preceding evenings. The thunder was loud and long continued. The rain came down in torrents, and the bed of every creek soon became a foaming torrent. The roads and streets in the lower parts were literally torn to pieces, and at half-past 10 o'clock it was apparent that the maui road would be deluged. The rush of water at Rodier's Creek was very, strong, arid the little gully was quite unable to withstand the shock, for boards and sticks, sand and sludge, and debris of every description choked up its mouth. Onward came the waters tearing up the planks on the footway, and in a few minutes the ground floor of the Star Hotel (where there were several persons playing bagatelle and attending a concert) was several feet under water. The inhabitants of the Main-road closed their stores against the invader, and in many instances bolsters and bedticks were used to keep out the foe. The people attending the Charlie Napier Theatre, on coming into the street, at the terminatian of the performance, found (those of them who wished to reach the township) that their retreat had been cut off, -and many of them with philosophic determination waded knee deep through the water. By 12 o'clock the street from the Hermists Cave to Tuxen and Co.'s store was completely under water to the extent of three feet, and near the Duchess of Kent Hotel it was more. The footwalks on either side of the road were also impassable, and a knowing 'jarvie' wishing to make a 'penny' by the event, carried hundreds of persons backwards and forwards all night for the modest charge of sixpence - each. From 12 till 2 o'clock in the morning the water had reached its highest point. The Main-road people were all busy baling out water, removing their property, and adopting such means as the exigencies of the case required, and many, of them remained up all night. The principal sufferers by tie flood are— Mr. Irwin, of the Star Hotel, who had about £70 worth of pigs nearly drowned; Mr. Bird, of the Royal Mail Hotel; the Alpaca Store, opposite, the Duchess of Kent Hotel; Mr. Emery of the Shakespeare Hotel; the Duchess of Kent Hotel, where the water got into the cellar, and the barrels, containing ales, &e., floated about; Mr. Cashmore's establishment was also flooded, and all the shops from the Duchess of Kent to the Star Hotel, with, a few exceptions. The Charlie escaped this time, owing to the forethought of Mr. Gibbs, who anticipated something of the kind during the week, and had a mini employed for several days erecting an embankment to keep out the water. Several curious incidents took place, and in two instances some 'groggy' individuals who attempted to cross the waters, missed their footing, and one of them was seen floundering in the channel. On Sunday morning, at an early hour, large numbers of persons were busy at work clearing the sludge out of their premises, and from off the footway before their doors. In the Duchess of Kent hotel there was an alluvial deposit about six inches in depth, and in fact it was the same in every place the water found access to. The Main-road itself was covered over with a coating of from six inches to a foot of sludge, and the water channels and gratings were completely choked. The old houses opposite to the Duchess of Kent hotel were half covered with water, and presented the appearance of a dismasted ship at sea. It has been said that 'Nero fiddled whilst Rome was burning,' and day after day we hear something or other about the sludge channel, or deputations, or communications to the Government on the subject, and the public have been as often assured that the thing would be done at once, and that in a few months at least the water channel would be cut, but now unless the new Government does something, we find that only a few preliminary steps have been taken in the matter, as if to lull the voice of the public on the subject. It is true that a few months ago the road engineer had the bridge of Rodier's Creek raised a little, but the planks on the footway were allowed to retain their old level, and the work at best was but a makeshift; the people on the Main-road declare that now when the water flows over the culvert it cannot find an out let, and consequently it must remain as an ornament on the principal thoroughfare of Ballaarat. We have no doubt, now that the floods are over, and the fine weather setting in, but that the Government will get the work done at once, especially as the summer months are upon us, when floods are of rather rare occurrence. We have not heard the value of the amount of property destroyed, but it must have been very great. — Star.[3]

Some unusually rich quartz specimens are now on view in the windows of Messrs Wittkowski, opposite the Duchess of Kent Hotel. The specimens are from the Enterprise Claim, Surface Gully, Little Bendigo, and afford one more proof of the occasional richness of our quartz reefs.[4]

FUNERAL NOTICE.-The friends of Mr WILLIAM ROBINSON are respectfully invited to follow the remains of his late wife, to the place of interment, the Ballarat Cemetery. The funeral to move from his residence, the Duchess of Kent Hotel, on Wednesday, the 16th November, at 2 o'clock p.m.
F. ATKINS, Undertaker, Main road, next Yarrowee Hotel and Bridge street, next Limerick Castle Hotel, late A. Marshall.[5]

BALLARAT IN THE FIFTIES - OLD LAND MARKS DISAPPEARING Melboune. May 20 - The old land marks of the Ballarat diggings are gradually disappearing. Among the historic buildings in course of removal is an old wooden hotel, known in the early fifties as "he Hermit's Cave". This place was in the early days a popular house with thousands of diggers. Another landmark in course of removal is the once well known Duchess of Kent Hotel. The public-house was the head-quarters for the great, singer; Catherine Hayes, during her visit to Ballarat in the early fifties, and the celebrated tragedian, G. V. Brooke, who was drowned with many other in the foundering of the steamship London in the Bay of of Biscay, also lodged at the hotel while playing under engagement to the late George Coppin.[6]

Also See


  1. Wickham, D., Gervasoni, C. & Phillipson, W., Eureka Research Directory, Ballarat Heritage Services, 1999.
  2. Ballarat Star, 29 July 1857.
  3. South Australian Weekly Chronicle, 12 November 1859.
  4. Ballarat Star, 28 May 1860.
  5. Ballarat Star, 16 November 1864.
  6. Adelaide Advertiser, 21 May 1908.