Charlie Napier Hotel

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The Charlie Napier Hotel was also referred to as the Adelphi Hotel. It was situated in the Main Road, Ballarat East.[1]

The People

  • In 1854 the publican was Robert Underwood. He was declared insolvent in 1855, and his business partner Mr. Gibbs, and Thomas Curle took over as part payment of the debt.[2]
  • In 1858, the publican's surname was Gibbs. He was fined 10s for having an unlicensed bagatelle table.[3]
  • Charles Dyte - Charlie Napier Leasee in 1860
  • In 1863 the publican was Edward Cantor.[4] His license application in June 1863 was postponed.

Post Eureka

THE CHARLIE NAPIER THEATRE. - We have recorded that on Thursday last the foundation stone of the new Charlie Napier Theatre was laid with the due formalities, it may be as well to give some account of a structure which is destined to prove a great architectural ornament to Ballarat East, and to exercise no little influence in enhancing the value of property in the neighborhood; besides, as the Chairman of the Eastern Municipality has said, providing a place of rational amusement for the inhabitants of a very thickly populated district. The design was prepared by Mr Eora, about six months ago, when a less successful attempt was made to rebuild the theatre. It was then intended to flank the main building with a shop on each side, to be erected in the same style of architecture. This resolve has been wisely abandoned by the new company, as the cost of erection would swallow up a large amount of the funds collected, to the detriment of the main building, while the sites being very valuable in a business point of view will now be taken up by persons willing to build on their own responsibility, it being stipulated that the architect's design shall be rigidly adhered to. In digging for foundations, the ground has been found unexpectedly safe, and a deep layer of firm clay met with at a depth of 2 ft. 6 in. from the surface towards the front, shelving away to the depth of 10 ft. at the south-west corner. The foundations have been laid by the contractors, Messrs Finch, Gray and Co., with every regard to the strain likely to be put upon such a building, and thus early afford a guarantee for the quality of the work throughout. The facade to the main street, including the shops, will be 96 feet, and that of the theatre and hotel jointly 62 feet. The centre portion, consisting of three storeys, will rise to an elevation of 50 feet. On the ground floor there is to be a large bar, with three parlors in the rear, one of which will be devoted to the use of visitors to the pit, one to those of the stalls, and the third for private parties. On the right hand side of 'the bar is to be the staircase leading to the corridor of the dress circle and boxes. On the left is a wide corridor leading to the vestibule from the pit. The entrance to this part of the house will be by means of the vestibule, and in case of need it is arranged that there shall be ii supplementary door from the corridor. On the left hand side is a large kitchen, and a right-of-way to reach the kitchen from the outside, with a private stair attached leading to the dining rooms, and the chambers on the third storey. The second storey contains the café in the front, two parlors, a dining room, and several small apartments to be used as retiring and cloak rooms, &c In the third storey are fourteen bedrooms, which are connected at the left with a private staircase with the right-of-way.
Having now described the hotel accommodation, we proceed to note, from the plans the provision made for the accommodation of visitors within the theatre itself. The dress circle contains eight tiers of seats, arranged in the shape of an amphitheatre; and the side boxes, between four and five tiers. There is not to be any gallery. The pit, measuring 50 feet by 54 feet, will seat 900 persons; the boxes, between 500 and 600 persons; in all, about 1500 persons, exclusive of the corridors. The size of the pit is exclusive of the parlor and other adjoining rooms, and the large doors between the pit and vestibule may be thrown open when an increase of standing room is required. This part of the house has a fall of 5 feet from the back to the footlights. The entire length of the theatre from back to front is 134 feet. The stage is not very deep, but may ultimately be extended, as in the rear wall a bricked-up arch 25 feet in width has been constructed for the purpose Between the wings there is a clear opening of 25 feet, with an altitude of 17 feet. Of wings thete are five pairs. The boxes have been arranged with due attention to the necessity of affording every visitor a clear view of the stage, towards which side they have a slight fall. The seats towards the back, and adjoining the proscenium, retain their level, as this arrangement has been found to afford their occupants a better view of what is going on cu the stage. The horse-shoe contour of the box line, the only recommendation of which is its elegance, has not been adopted in this theatre, and consequently the occupants of the front seats on both sides have an equal opportunity of commanding the entire width of the stage. The carpenters' workshops are on the exterior, behind the vestibule, and on the left of the stage. The cellars will be well drained, as the lowest level is fully two feet above that of the adjacent sludge channel, while sufficient working room is provided by there being left a clear space of eight feet six inches between the floor and the stage, which latter will have a slope to the footlights of eighteen inches in forty feet,
The exterior is designed in what is designated the Roman school of architecture. The exterior of the theatre consists of three bays, with a frontispiece and pediment, surmounted by allegorical figures and adjoined ? by a balustrade. The front is to be cemented with Fortland cement, with dressings of bluestone, and cannot fail materially to enhance the appearance of the street, Ample provision has been made by the architect, Mr Kora, for safe and rapid exit from every part of the house in case of fire by means of corridors, spacious vestibules staircases of easy gradient, supplementary; doors, and rights of way. We trust that the building will proceed to a speedy completion, and reward the enterprise of it i projectors.[5]

In the News

On Thursday evening Mr Humftray held a monster meeting in the large concert room be longing to the Charlie Napier Hotel, when he addressed the electors. There were between 1500 and 2000 persons present. Mr Ryce was to have filled the chair; but in his absence, Mr D. Oliver occupied it, and called upon the meeting to give every one a fair hearing.
Mr Fraser rose to propose the first resolution. He said he hoped that they would give every one a fair hearing. If they thought Mr Humffray a better man than any one else, then return him ; but if not, then they could express their disapprobation. They had had some meetings in Melbourne that did not reflect much credit upon the people of Melbourne, he hoped those of Ballarat would set a better example in this respect, and after calm discussion act on reflection, then every man would do his duty. The press had dealt in insinuations with respect to the Local Court, but had not dared to bring any charge against its members. The resolution he had to propose was:
"That this meeting is of opinion that many of the evils of past legislation for the gold fields have arisen through ignorance on the part of the law makers of the wants and exigencies of the mining community, and therefore deem it both the interest and duty of the electors of North Grant to return a man having a knowledge of, and identified with their wants."
Every one knew to what desperate resistance the tyranny of ignorant officials had formerly driven the miners. The alteration in the mining regulations had been a great benefit ; but if they sent into the Assembly a man ignorant of their wants, if they sent a capitalist he would cramp that benefit they had received for ever. Mr Fraser, after referring to questions of reform in the Local Court, wound up his speech by putting the right man in the right place.
Mr N. B. Rodier very briefly seconded the resolution.
Mr O'Connor supported the resolution - it was an insult to their intelligence to use any argument in favor of the resolution, it's truth was too apparent. No doubt there would be plenty of men come forward and try to talk them over ; but, if they sent men of that kind to represent them, they would deserve what they might get as their reward. He would not con ceal facts that were before his eyes and his mind. If they sent a man who could talk them over, when tiley were laboring under the iron heel of oppression, he would tell them that they well merited their reward. They wanted a man identified with their interests, just as a community' of blacksmiths would rather be re presented by one belonging to their own occupation, and knowing their own feelings and wants.
The resolution was then put and carried.
Mr Humffray then rose to address the meeting, and was exceedingly well received. He said he was pleased to see so large an assembly. It showed the lively interest taken in political affairs by the people. He had said before, and he said so now, that a people were always governed as well as they deserved to be. He was glad to see so large a meeting, because then they could give their approbation or disapprobation, or otherwise. He would give them his opinions and views with respect to many topics that were interesting. He had had the honor of representing them in Melbourne, and doubt less they expected that he had done his best to deserve that honor. It would be egotism in him to say that he had done what he had to do well, but he had used his best exertions to do his duty. ... [6]

Edward Cantor, Ballarat - Insolvent had been a butcher, and had contracted about £1400 debts. He paid the whole of these debts, however, prior to the 1st January, 1863. He then took the Adelphi, otherwise known as the Charlie Napier Hotel, in the Main Road, and when Edwards gave up the theatre, which is attached to the premises, insolvent opened it. Commenced on the 1st April. Lost £50 the first week. Was sold off in July under a bill of sale held by Mr Lewis, solicitor, for £260. Gave the bill of sale before opening the theatre. Lewis advanced the money to open it. The landlord took what property remained after the bill of sale was satisfied. Mr Dyte was landlord. The rent of the hotel was £8 per week, with the theatre £15. Up to the time the insolvent took the theatre, the hotel had paid. Insolvent had £260 of his own when he took the hotel. Had no money when he took the theatre. No account bad been rendered by insolvent of the amount realised under the bill of sale. Dyte, the landlord, sold the goods on his own account and Lewis. Witness had never asked Dyte for an account sales. Dyte would not allow Lewis to sell to satisfy the bill of sale until his own account was satisfied. The insolvent was ordered to file a supplementary schedule setting forth all his proceedings since he entered the Adelphi Hotel, together with all debts due to him upon the butchering business. The meeting was then adjourned to the 8th October. [7]

Also See

Charles Dyte - Charlie Napier Leasee in 1860

Adelphi Hotel

J.B. Humffray

External Sites


  1. Ballarat Star, 04 September 1863.
  2. 1855 'INSOLVENT COURT.', Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencer (Vic. : 1851 - 1856), 19 December, p. 2 Edition: DAILY, viewed 6 May, 2015,
  3. 1858 'EASTERN POLICE COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 13 December, p. 4, viewed 25 October, 2014,
  4. 1863 'BALLARAT EAST LICENSING BENCH.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 18 June, p. 4, viewed 4 February, 2014,
  5. Ballarat Star, 28 December 1861.
  6. Ballarat Star, 20 September 1856.
  7. Ballarat Star, 04 September 1863.