Charlie Napier Hotel

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The Charlie Napier Hotel was a hotel in Ballarat, Victoria, <1854-1863>.



The hotel also appears to have been known as the Adelphi Hotel. However, the Star newspaper of 9 April 1857 carries both a description of the Adelphi being in Main Road, and an advertisement for the Charlie Napier.[1] Edward Cantor is mentioned as publican of both hotels in 1863.[2][3]


A note on a drawing of the hotel in Victorian Collections states that the hotel opened November 1854, burnt down 1861, rebuilt in brick December 1861, and finally pulled down 1880.[4]

Artist S. T. Gill painted a scene in the hotel's concert room, 1855, showing Charles Thatcher singing.[5]


The Charlie Napier Hotel was in Main Road.


In April 1857 the hotel was advertising for large quantities of rendered fat to run the hotel's gasworks.[1]

Community Involvement

The Charlie Napier Hotel organised a charity benefit evening in 1855 for the orphaned child of John Law:

CHARLIE NAPIER HOTEL. CHARITABLE BENEFIT. THE sudden decease of the late Mr John Law, so well known as connected with the above hotel, having left an orphan daughter perfectly destitute, the Proprietors beg to announce that they will give a GRAND NIGHT. At the BALLARAT CASINO FOR HER BENEFIT. On Monday, 1st October Next. From the well-known charitable feelings of the Ballarat public, the proprietors of the Charlie Napier Hotel expect A FIRST-RATE NIGHT. Admission for This Night Only, 2s 6d each.[6]

In December 1858 various entertainments were provided:

CHARLIE NAPIER HOTEL.-This is the third year of the establishment of wrestling matches in the Cumberland and Westmoreland styles on Ballarat, and there is no apparent nagging in the projectors of this en tertainment on Ballarat on the present occasion. The annual match will commence to-day in the Charlie Napier Theatre, and to judge by the large number of competitors, there will be no lack of amusement. Prizes to the amount of £100 will be given, and we trust the manly sport will be duly patronised.[7]

Works Produced

Workplace Relations

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.[8]
  • In May 1857 the publican, John Gibbs, stood for election to represent Ballarat East.[9]
  • In December 1858 Gibbs was fined 10s for having an unlicensed bagatelle table.[10]
  • In June 1863 the publican was Edward Cantor.[2] His license application in June 1863 was postponed.


A replica of the Charlie Napier Hotel has been constructed at Sovereign Hill.

See also


The Main Road of Ballarat East has a prodigious recuperative power of its own. We have no very precise evidence touching the appearance of the mythological salamanders or phoenixes, after a good roasting in the flames, and cannot say therefore whether or not they looked any the fresher, and handsomer, and livelier, for the burning process they underwent. In the absence of any proof to the contrary, we incline to the opinion that they would look decidedly the worse for the fire, and in this respect we suspect the modern phoenix; yeleped the Main road, beats the antique ones hollow. Anyone who knew what the Main road was two or three years ago, before the largest of our conflagrations took place; and looks at it now, will quite understand our meaning. It has been "purified by fire" over and over again, and once it was apparently in danger of being, purified out of existence, some 50 or 60 houses being swept off at once. But it has sprung up in such renovated smartness as takes the shine out of all the phoenixes all the poets ever sung about, and has led to the conclusion with many that of all the strokes of good for tune that ever could happen, to the Main Road, none is equal to a fire. The long line of dark and desolate ruins that marked the site of the great fire of January last has been almost entirely changed into a series of handsome and substantial shops, offices, and dwellings. The site of the old "Charlie" is, it is true, occupied in part only by a mean wooden shanty; but next to it there rises the handsome two storied place be longing to Messrs Godfrey and Abrahams, the jewellers, and designed by Mr Korn. There is not a better looking building any where along the road. The next place of substantial material was that just burnt down in the occupation of Mr Bade the tobacconist. Then we come to a good looking two storied build ing belonging to Dr Hobson, consisting of shop, consulting room, and dwelling. The material is brick, tuck pointed, and is plain and substantial in appearance. A one storey brick shop, belonging to Mr Skardon, boot maker, leads us onto Burridge's Cornwall Arms Hotel, a two-storied brick building, neat and smart in appearance. Anwyl Brothers' drapery establishment is the next in the line, and is a strongly built one storied brick building. Already our readers will perceive that the denizens of the Main road appear to be as independent of uniformity in street architecture as they are invincible by fire. Two-storied and one storied buildings alternate, with delightful irregularity, and each one is built with an apparent aim at as great a dissimilarity to its neighbor as possible. But to digress to further, we pass on to the wide frontage occupied by the two-storied brick building known as the Great Britain Hotel, occupied by Mr Morwitch. All the buildings we have noticed have an air of strength about them but all, except the one belonging to Messrs Godfrey & Abrahams, are deficient in height and ornament. We next come to a block of three two-storied buildings for shops, now in course of erection by the representative of Mr Groves, one of the victims in the wreck of the Royal Charter. If this block is carried up a sufficient height, and is fairly finished, it will be one of the very best-looking places in the street. A one-storied, then two-storied brick building, come next, built on the site of the shop formerly occupied by Messrs Cotterell & Asher. The two-storied ironmongery store belonging to Mr Cohen comes next, at the corner of Main street and Eureka Street south and is a very sightly ornament to the corner. Passing the cross street and the ugly wooden buildings that cover the site of the old "Monte," where the great fire originated, we come to Mrs Plummer's Greenock Hotel, a two storied brick building, plain and substantial in appearance. Mr Heath's one-storied brick shop comes next, and next to that a two storied building in course of erection by Mr Samuels or Levinger, and which promises to rival that of Messrs Godfrey & Abraham in architectural appearance. The architect in this case also is Mr Korn we believe, who indeed seems to have had nearly all the designing work in connection with the improvements we are now noting. The one storey shop belonging to Messrs Roberts Co., drapers, aud one or two other one-storied places of smaller dimensions, complete the list, including that known as Harris' Dining Rooms, on the site near the John o'Groat once occupied by Messrs Evans Brothers booksellers and stationers. Mr Lazarus has also a small one-storied place farther west; and farther west still, next Dyte's auction rooms, are two other one-storey shops, occu pied as an ironmongery and general goods store. At the corner of Victoria Main, and Bridge streets, Messrs Smith & Co. are about to erect a handsome and substantial block in lieu of the wooden premises so long known as drapery and outfitting establishment there. The design, which is by Mr Korn, will be somewhat ornamental, and will involve an outlay of some £2000. The many handsome one and two storied buildings in Bridge Street, on sites where fires have raged, and where they have not raged, we have noticed on previous occasions; but we may again mention, without being dis agreeably invidious, the ornamental places of business belonging to Messrs Baird & Co., decorators ; Messrs Wittkowski Brothers tobacconists; Messrs Draper and Tabel upholsterers and furniture dealers; Mr Dunk, British Queen Hotel; Messrs R.B. Gibbs, Great Western Hotel; Mr Levinson, jeweller, and Mr Steinfeld, furniture dealer. The rather long list of substantial erections we have thus noticed as sprung up, or springing up, along this old thoroughfare, proves, we think, the proposition with which we started, that Ballarat East has already beaten the fabulous phoenix; and perhaps we should not be hazarding too much if we were to say "the men of the East" are ready to beat it again. We only hope, however, that they may never have the opportunity, a hope in which, doubtless, our readers will heartily join.[11]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1857 'Advertising.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 9 April, p. 3, viewed 28 December, 2015,
  2. 2.0 2.1 1863 'BALLARAT EAST LICENSING BENCH.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 18 June, p. 4, viewed 4 February, 2014,
  3. 1863 'GEELONG INSOLVENT COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 4 September, p. 4. , viewed 03 Aug 2016,
  4. Victorian Collections: Charlie Napier Hotel - Victorian Collections, accessdate: September 4, 2016
  5. Gill, Samuel Thomas. 1855, Concert room, Charlie Napier Hotel, Ballarat, June, '55, Thatcher's popular songs , viewed 4 September 2016
  6. 1855 'Advertising.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 22 September, p. 1, viewed 28 December, 2015,
  7. 1858 'CHRISTMAS AMUSEMENTS ON BALLARAT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 27 December, p. 2. , viewed 12 Jun 2016,
  8. 1855 'INSOLVENT COURT.', Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencer (Vic. : 1851 - 1856), 19 December, p. 2 Edition: DAILY, viewed 6 May, 2015,
  9. 1857 'Advertising', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 29 May, p. 1. (ADVERTISING SUPPLEMENT TO THE STAR), viewed 24 Jul 2016,
  10. 1858 'EASTERN POLICE COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 13 December, p. 4, viewed 25 October, 2014,
  11. Ballarat Star, 20 August 1861.

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