The "Digby Hotel" 1856-1935
Digby (Emu Creek), South-West Victoria, Australia
Glenelg & Wannon Region, south-western Victoria, Australia.

1856 : "Digby Hotel" built for William Buckle

"The Portland Guardian (Vic.) Wednesday, 24th September 1856
NOTICE. EMU CREEK. THE DIGBY HOTEL is now open to receive visitors. Travellers will find good accommodation, the rooms are large, and finished in the best style, the liquors are of the first quality, Stabling moderate, and by strict attention to business, I hope I will give everyone satisfaction.

1857 : "Digby Hotel" leased for 5 years to Mr. White of Limestone Ridge

"The Portland Guardian" (Vic.) Friday, 19th June 1857
DIGBY HOTEL.--We have it on the best authority that the public-house, the property of Mr. Buckle, called the "Digby Hotel," has been let for five years, at a yearly rental of 200, to Mr. White, late of the Limestone Ridge, Mount Gambier. It is also stated that Mr. White is a man of the most worthy character, and likely in every respect to be an acquisition to the township. We wish him succes in his new undertaking.

1859 : "Digby Hotel" advertised for sale by William BUCKLE

"The Portland Guardian" (Vic.) Monday, 21st March 1859.
VALUABLE PROPERTY FOR SALE. --- TO BE SOLD, by private contract, All those valuable premises, known as the DIGBY HOTEL, consisting of a large well finished weather-board House, of 13 Rooms, with Out-buildinigs, Garden, and three half-acres of Land, on which the Hotel stands, in the centre of the township of Digby. There is a permanent spring of water near the house.
THE STATION KNOWN AS RIFLE RANGE, with 2,500 SIIEEP, besides a number of quiet MILKING COWS ; with HORSE and increase. Estimated area of run 16,000 acres, capable of carrying 4,000 sheep. The run is well-watered, with Garden and improvements.
Apply to W. B. BUCKLE, On the Premises ; Or to MR. C. A. DOOD.

1859 : A Murder & Suicide at John WHITE's "Digby Hotel"

"The Portland Guardian" (Vic.) Friday, 19th August 1859.
It is now our painful duty to record one of the most atrocious and cold-blooded murders that has yet been perpetrated in the colony of Victoria, the particulars of which are nearly as follows :--Thus, at about half-past ten o'clock on Saturday night last, as Mary Hall, housemaid to Mr. John White, of the Digby Hotel here, had been on some message to the kitchen, a few yards apart from the dwelling house, Alexander Stewart, a West India Mullatto, acting as cook, being then reclining in bed at one end of said kitchen, on hearing the footsteps of the unfortunate girl enter, called to her for a drink of water, she declining to go personally where he was, directed a man, by name Henry Smith, then sitting by, to fetch him the drink of water, which Stewart no sooner heard, than all on a sudden he sprang out of bed, whilst she, as readily as if apprehensive of some evil intent on his part, makes instantly for the house, but having a few steps of an outer stair to ascend, he there and then with a sharp pointed table knife, evidently prepared for the purpose, stabs her to the heart. Her piercing cries were no sooner heard by the inmates, than Mr. White, the landlord, rushes to her rescue, and with indomitable courage, seizes the miscreant by the back and arms, who still imperceptibly holding by that weapon with which he but a few moments before had committed such a tragical deed, does now again with that tact characteristic of his race, inflict upon himself such another wound, as put an end to his murderous career. Dr. Inverarity living within a short distance, was had in immediate requisition, but their wounds proving mortal, medical aid could be of no avail. It is now known that the wretched young man had been making overtures of marriage to the unfortunate young woman, which she on her part as readily rejected ; hence the main cause of this catastrophe. Dr. Radford, Coroner, with J. H. Jackson, Esq., having attended, a special jury, whose names are hereto annexed, was impannelled, viz.:
Mr. James Quinn, foreman ; Messrs. Alfred T. Farley, Walter Southern, Edward Wadley, Thos. Curby, Donald McCallum, R. Morison, W. D. Thomas, R. Healy, R. Harris, T. Day, J. Joyce.
The following is their verdict :--After a rigid examination of all the witnesses about the place, we find that the deceased, Mary Hall, met her death from a wound inflicted by Alexander Stewart, wilfully, and with malice aforethought. We also find that Alexander Stewart committed suicide whilst in a sane state of mind. The remains of the deceased Mary Hall, acccompanied by the Rev. Dr. Russell, D.L.L. and townspeople, were decently interred in the burying ground of Digby, on Tuesday last, the Rev. Gentleman giving a suitable and most impressive dissertation on the melancholy occasion. In fine, such a tragical event has cast so great a gloom over the country at large, as shall not be hastily forgotten. The deceased young-girl is supposed to have been a native of Adelaide.--Communicated.

1862: "Digby Hotel" licensed to Thomas BILSTON

"The Hamilton Spectator" (Vic.) Friday, 15th August 1862.
DIGBY HOTEL, DIGBY --- THOMAS BILSTON, (Formerly of the Bush Tavern, Heywood) BEGS to intimate to his old friends and the public generally that he has obtained a license for the above hotel, and furnished and fitted it up in a superior style; where, by keeping a good supply of the very best Ales, Wines, and Spirits, together with a good Larder and strict attention to business, he trusts to merit a fair share of public patronage. T. BILSTON has only to say--Come and Judge for Yourselves!

1863: "Digby Hotel" opened by Thomas BUCKLE

"The Portland Guardian" (Vic.) Thursday, 29th October 1863.
DIGBY HOTEL AND LIVERY STABLES.--THOS. BUCKLE begs to inform his friends, and the public generally, that he has opened the above Hotel, and trusts that by strict attention to business, and civility to his customers, to merit a liberal share of the public patronage. His WINES and SPIRITS are of the best brands. Digby, October 9th, 1863.

1864 : "Digby Hotel" license application by William BUCKLE

"The Portland Guardian" (Vic.) Monday, 20th June 1864.

TO the Bench of Magistrates acting for the County of Normanby at Digby.--I, William Buckle, of Digby, in the County of Normanby aforesaid, publican, do hereby give notice, that it is my intention to apply to the Justices sitting at the Court of Petty Sessions, to be holden at the Court House, at Digby, on the 30th day of June, 1864, for a Certificate authorising the issue of a Publican's License for a house, situated in Digby aforesaid, containing two sitting rooms and five bedrooms exclusive of those occupied by myself and family, which I intend to keep as an Inn, known by the name of the Digby Hotel, and occupied by me.
Dated, this 15the day of June, 1864. WILLIAM BUCKLE.

1864 : "Digby Hotel" license application by Thomas BUCKLE (not William BUCKLE)

"The Portland Guardian" (Vic.) Monday, 27th June 1864.

Miscellaneous. NOTICE.--IN the applications for Publican's licenses in the Guardian of June 20th, William Buckle was set down in error as an applicant for a licence for the Digby Hotel:--for William, read Thomas Buckle. Digby, 22nd June, 1864.

1865 : "Digby Hotel" Thomas BUCKLE Insolvent

The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.) Saturday, 25th February 1865.

LAW REPORT. INSOLVENT COURT.--Friday, Feb 24. (Before his Honour Mr Justice Molesworth.)
NEW INSOLVENTS.--Thomas Buckle, of Digby, licensed victualler. Causes of insolvency--Bad debts, and pressure of creditors. Liabilities, 322 7s. 10d. ; assets, 39 15s. 6d. ; deficiency, 282 12s. 4d. Mr. Shaw, official assignee.

1869 : "Digby Hotel" inquest into death of Joseph Joyce

"The Portland Guardian" (Vic.) Monday, 14th June 1869.
INQUEST.--On the 7th inst., Mr Geo. Trangmar, coroner, held at Digby hotel an inquest on the body of Joseph Joyce, herdsman, aged 50, who met with his death on the 5th inst., whilst in pursuit of cattle.
The verdict was :-"The deceased came by his death from asphyxia, as established by the medical evidence, on the day as stated, and was found in a creek half a mile from the township, with his horse lying on the top of him, the principal weight being on the man's stomach. Deceased was last seen about 3 p.m. on the 5th, not far from the spot where the accident occurred. He was then in search of cattle ; and it is supposed that in attempting to cross the creek the ground being wet the horse slipped and fell The deceased had no property."

1878 : "Digby Hotel" Robert HAWORTH Digby Hotel, License Application

"The Hamilton Spectator" (Vic.) Tuesday, 3rd December 1878.

Notice of Application for a Publican's License.--I, ROBERT HAWORTH, of Digby, do hereby give notice that I desire to obtain and will at the next Licensing Meeting, to be holden at Merino on the 11th day of December, 1878, apply for a CERTIFICATE authorising the issue of a Publican's License for a house situate at Digby, known as the Digby Hotel, containing ten rooms, exclusive of those required for the use of the family. Dated 25th November, 1878. ROBERT HAWORTH.

1878 : "Digby Hotel" Robert HAWORTH Digby Hotel, Temporary License Granted

"The Hamilton Spectator" (Vic.) Tuesday, 17th December 1878.

MERINO. MERINO LICENSING BENCH. Wednesday, 11th December.
(Before Mr. J. P. Hamilton P.M., and Messrs. Silvester and Fulton, JJ. P.)
Hannah Tait applied for a colonial wine license. Sergeant Kennedy objected, and said it was not wanted. A petition very numerously signed by the inhabitants, in favour of the applicant, was put in and the Bench granted the license.
James Tait applied for a Billiard Table license. Sergeant Kennedy also opposed.--Granted.
Robert Howarth [sic Haworth] applied for a publican's license for a house at Digby, called the "Digby Hotel." There was no opposition, and the application was granted, conditionally that the house be put in thorough repair within 14 days. The following publicans' licences were renewed :--Andrew Fyfe, Digby ; Ann Clarke, Farmers' Arms, Merino ; Thomas Mackwood, Merino Hotel, Merino ; George Northcott, Commercial, Merino ; Angus M'Pherson, Waterloo.
Grocer's license.--F. Ford.
A temporary license was also granted to Andrew Fyfe, for the race course, Digby, on Boxing Day.

1905 : Wedding Breakfast provided by Mrs. MILNE at the "Digby Hotel"

"The Portland Guardian" (Vic.) Friday, 20th January 1905.
WEDDING AT DIGBY.--A wedding which was very quiet owing to a recent death in the bride's family was celebrated at Digby on Thursday between Miss E. Hawkins, eldest daughter of Mr Hawkins, of this town and Mr John Fife [sic FYFE] of Ballarat, formerly of Merino. The ceremony was performed by the Rev J. W. Davidson. in the Church of England, which was packed. The bride, who was given away by her father, and looked charming, was dressed in cream cardide chine, with white satin yoke and cream lace, wreath and veil, and carried a beautiful bouquet, presented to her by Miss L. Radley, of Karabeal. The bridesmaids, the Misses Possie and Maude Hawkins, sisters of the bride, wore dresses of cream voile, trimmed with silk insertion and blonde lace, black picture hats, and carried white sunshades. Mr E. Hiscock was best man, and Mr E. H. Clark groomsman. The wedding breakfast was spread at the hotel in Mrs Milne's best style, and to those who know her it is not necessary to say it was both sumptuous and plentiful. The usual toasts were drunk, and responded to. The happy pair left in the afternoon to catch the evening train for their home at Ballarat. The bride's travelling dress was of grey material, trimmed with shot silk, with grey felt hat to match. They departed amid a shower of rice, and carry the best wishes of all for their future happinees and prosperity. The bride received numerous beautiful, costly and useful presents, including a cheque from her uncle in New South Wales.

1935 : "Digby Hotel" destroyed by fire

"The Portland Guardian" (Vic.) Thursday, 21st February 1935.
Digby Hotel Destroyed.--Further particulars of the destruction by fire of the Digby Hotel have been furnished by the "Spectator's" correspondent at that township. The licensee, Mrs. M. A. McDonald, was awakened at 4 o'clock on Thursday morning, and found that the place was on fire at that portion comprising the bar and bulk store room and close to the bedrooms of the staff. The bulk store department contained a large quantity of spirits which formed the stock carried for use at booths at outdoor sports and shows, Mr. McDonald having occasion to convey supplies for long distances, so that his stock was usually large and complete. A gas cylinder in the bar exploded when the flames reached that part of the building, scattering blazing pieces of timber in all directions, most of the embers falling on other parts of the house, so that in a very brief space the building was a mass of flames, and there was no hope of saving it from ruin. Many people who hurried to the scene were comparatively helpless. Some few personal effects were retrieved, but Mrs. McDonald is a heavy loser. The hotel was one of the oldest landmarks in the district, having been erected in 1856, when the main road, or at all events the greater volume of traffic between Portland and Casterton and the north, passed that way. It was the chief stopping-place in the fifties for the bullock teams. In the old coaching days the track was close to the hotel. When, however, the present road was surveyed in later years, its course was about 200 yards to the east of the hotel, and its early associations became a memory. The latest owner of the property was Mr. H. Walsh.

1943 : Death of Bessie BARNES former licensee of the "Digby Hotel"

"The Portland Guardian" (Vic.) Monday, 12th July 1943.
PERSONAL NOTES.--The death occurred recently at Ballarat of Mrs. Bessie Milne, who was well known, throughout the Digby and Condah districts. She was in her 75th year, being born at Lower Crawford, and for many years conducted the Digby hotel, later going to Condah, where she acquired the licence of the Green Hills hotel.

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