As well as the Seahorse Inn & Crown & Anchor, two other hotels were to have their start in Eden during the late 1840s & early 1850s.
It was in November 1848 that the Eden Bench of Magistrates granted a license to James Roberts "...for the retail of spirituous liquors & wines...", with Hugh Cameron & William McNiven, both of nearby "Panbula", named as sureties.
According to a 1930 obituary penned following the death of his second son John Charles, James had resided in Melbourne prior to his 1845 arrival in Twofold Bay, at the time when Boydtown was "...a flourishing settlement..." & the main township of Eden was also beginning to gather strength.
In addition to purchasing land in the township, James began pursuing the hotel keeping trade & in April 1849 secured a "publican's general license" for the premises known variously as the Lion & Red Lion Inn & naming Hugh Cameron & Nathanial Thompson as sureties. His 1850 license renewal noted John Love & A. McCausland as guarantors, while in 1855, Saul Solomons of Eden & Jeremiah Bryan of Maneroo were similarly noted.
Continuing to operate his hotel until just after the 1859 gold discovery at Kiandra, Roberts found himself fronting the Eden Bench of Magistrates in February 1860, charged by Chief Constable John Marshall Walker as "...being an unfit person to keep a public house, he being an habitual drunkard & failing to keep good order & rule in the house licensed by him..." However, although agreeing with the Chief Constable's opinion of the situation, the Eden Bench nonetheless opted to adjourn their final decision "...in consideration of Roberts having a large family...in order that Roberts may in the meantime let his house to a proper person..."
As a result, the license for the Lion Inn was transferred the following month to Sampson Courtney Boyland. Apparently a Bounty Immigrant from County Antrim, Ireland, Boyland had arrived in Sydney in 1841, eventually moving to Wollongong where, in 1853, he married Eliza Hoare. By 1857, when the second of their seven children was born, the family were living in Eden & when the Lion Inn's license was renewed in April 1860, Boyland was still noted as the publican.
However, after a two year battle with cancer, he passed away in March 1861, & by April, the license for what was referred to as the "Red Lion Inn" had been transferred to Thomas Matthews.
After Matthews took over the Crown & Anchor Hotel around 1862, the Lion Inn appears to have closed its doors, & no further mention of this early business has been found to date.
In the wake of Boyd's financial demise & the resultant decline of Boydtown, Seahorse Inn licensee Anthony Falkner turned his attention towards the government township of Eden & set about establishing the Shamrock Inn.
|An 1856 lithograph by Elizabeth Hudspeth. What is believed to have been the Shamrock can be seen on the hill to the right of the work.|
Occupying a site on the hill facing the wharf in Albert Terrace, according to local historian H. P. Wellings, the premises was erected after Boydtown's collapse, with Falkner transferring his Seahorse Inn license to the new premises. In December 1850 he advertised "... to inform the public & settlers on Maneroo & its vicinity, that he has entered upon the commodious building, the Shamrock Hotel, Eden, where he intends carrying on business as formerly, wholesale & retail...The Shamrock Hotel is situated near the Jetty, where the steamer lies, & offers every accommodation for the pubic & passengers proceeding to & fro by the steamer..."
Falkner had arrived in Colonial Australia, like so many others, as an English convict. As a baby, he had had a less than auspicious start to life - his 1817 baptism records show him a resident of London's St Pancras Foundling Hospital, a charity established by philanthropist Captain Thomas Coram for "...the maintenance & instruction..." of deserted infants.
|An illustration from an 1886 Sydney Morning Herald, showing the Shamrock Inn on the right of the track heading up the hill.|
By the 1830s, he was engaged as a "footboy" in London by Sir Nicholas Harris Nicholas & it was during this employment that he ran foul of the law. Aged just seventeen, he was brought before the Old Bailey, Middlesex, in 1834, charged with stealing a ten pound note from his master. Found guilty of "simple grand larceny", he was sentenced to a seven year term & transported to Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) on board the Waterloo, one of 224 male convicts on board the vessel.
Arriving in the penal colony in March 1835, within two years he had been assigned to public works, his trade being described as a "brick maker". Although the young man's conduct during incarceration was generally good, he still managed to accrue a number of strikes on his record - November 1835 saw him "admonished" for "neglect of duty & insolence", while in 1838, he was placed on bread & water for 48 hours after "...being in a Public House...& absent without leave..."
|From the Lookout across the wharf area and Ross's Bay & showing the Shamrock Inn building on the right of the track heading up the hill.|
Securing his Certificate of Freedom in September 1841, he evidently made his way to Sydney where he met Mary Byrne & in 1845 their first son, also named Anthony, was born, at which time Falkner's occupation was described a "steward". Although they didn't actually marry until 1850, the couple were eventually to have five more children.
It was during his residency in Sydney that Falkner moved to purchase property in Eden, buying a block in Bass Street at the town's first land sales in 1843. After arriving in the Twofold Bay area, he became involved, among other things, in the shore based whaling industry, operating at various times in partnership with Barclay & Rixon, & in August 1852, Mary Braidwood Mowle, wife of the local Custom's Officer, noted in her diary that "Falkner got a whale today..."
|Eden from the wharf area, showing the Shamrock Inn to the right.|
Entering the inn keeping trade, he held the license for Boydtown's Seahorse Inn during the late 1840s before transferring the permit to the Shamrock. Although originally described as being situated in Albert Terrace, by 1856 the address was noted as Imlay Street, although the actual location of the premises remained unchanged. Records from that year also show the Shamrock as being "...10 yards from the nearest licensed premises...", with an "...old..." license.
1857 saw the Shamrock receive praise in a May edition of the Sydney Morning Herald, when a writer confidently stated that "...should any Sydney gentlemen pay Eden a visit, I beg to assure you that they will...[find] as pretty a little town as any in the colony, & get as good accommodation at the...Shamrock...as the best hotel Sydney can boast of..."
|A 1900 view from the Eden wharf looking towards the township & what is today known as "Warren's Walk". The site of the Shamrock is evident only by the Mulberry trees.|
Continuing the hold the license until 1859, Anthony Falkner's wife Mary passed away in April that year & in May he advertised the hotel for sale or to let "...in consequence of a heavy domestic bereavement..." Noting that the business was in full trade, the premises was described as "...containing four parlours, seven bedrooms, bar & tap room...delightfully situated, elegantly furnished throughout, & replete with every convenience..."
Joseph Walpole Silk took over the Shamrock soon afterwards, & in April 1860 when he was granted his license renewal, he named Solomon Solomons & Joshua Blow, both of Eden, as sureties.
|Looking up the wharf hill during the C. 1920s towards the site of the Shamrock, as indicated by the grouping of Mulberry trees to the right.|
With the Kiandra gold rush making itself felt in the district by that time, hotel & inn facilities were in great demand by hopeful miners making their way to the Monaro via the port of Eden. June 1860 saw the Twofold Bay & Maneroo Telegraph describe the convenient location of the Shamrock as "...the first house from the wharf..." & the same month it was reported that "Mr. Silk, of the Shamrock, has... made considerable improvement on the road by cutting away a portion of the hill leading from the jetty past his house. He also contemplates improving his property..."
Granted a renewal of his license in April 1861, Silk drowned three years later in the Bibbenluke River, & it would seem that the Shamrock ceased to operate as a hotel around this time. Images of the area at the beginning of the 20th century indicate that the building was no longer in existence, & by the 1930s all that remained to indicate its location was a grouping of Mulberry trees.
|A later view looking from the Lookout across Ross's Bay to the old Shamrock site. The mulberry trees are still evident.|
© Angela George.
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