The "Woolpack Inn" 1843-1887
Digby (Emu Creek), South-West Victoria, Australia
Glenelg & Wannon Region, south-western Victoria, Australia.

Woolpack Inn, Digby, Vic (1843-1887)
[click to enlarge]
The "Woolpack Inn" at Digby (Emu Creek), built by Richard LEWIS in 1843.

1843 : "Woolpack Inn" License issued to Richard LEWIS

"The Portland Guardian" (Vic.) Saturday, 29th April 1843.

PUBLICANS.--On Tuesday last, Mr. Blair, (no other qualified magistrate being then in attendance,) granted licenses to the following persons :--Mr. Samuel Hutchinson, Steam Packet Inn, Portland ; Mr. John Cronin, Golden Fleece, Portland ; Mr. George Dale, Commercial Inn, Portland ; Mr. Donald Cameron, Portland Bay Hotel, Portland ; Mr. John Wiggins, London Inn, Portland ; Mr. Robert Herbertson, Union Inn, Portland ; Mr. Richard Lewis, Woolpack Inn, Emu Creek ; Mr. Archibald M'Neile, Merrijig Inn, Port Fairy ; Mr. David Edgar, Bush Tavern, Fitzroy River. Mr. Dan. O'Neil, of the Crawford Inn, at the Smokey River, obtained his certificate from Mr. French, of the Grange, on the 18th instant.

1843 : "Woolpack Inn" built for Richard LEWIS

Noel Learmonth in his 1934 book "The Portland Bay Settlement" wrote...

On Emu Creek, Richard LEWIS opened the Woolpack Inn on July 1, 1843; it was on the creek bank below modern Digby. LEWIS is famous as the importer of the great thoroughbred jumper, King Alfred." Richard LEWIS who later bought "Rifle Downs" had the "Woolpack Inn" built at Emu Creek and it was comprised of 14 rooms, a kitchen, dairy and outhouses, a brick stable with 20 stalls, a permanent well in the front yard, three acres of land and a garden plus an attached store of four rooms and a 40 foot loft above. This inn was burnt down in 1887 and Mrs SOUTHERN who held the licence was jailed for two years for deliberately burning it down, but she was later found to be innocent.

1844 : Aborigines and Richard LEWIS

"The Geelong Advertiser" (Vic. : 1840-1845) Monday, 22nd January 1844.

COLD KIRRAP.--This aborigine, the supposed murderer of the much lamented Mr. Donald M'Kenzie, has been for some time past visiting Mr. Richard Lewis, at Emu Creek, that gentleman having prudently encouraged him by giving him provisions, &c., until he communicated with the police magistrate. As his tribe, consisting of about 300, are always near the premises when Cold-Kirrap calls, it has been deemed most advisable, not to attempt securing him until a sufficient number of mounted police and others can be collected to render his capture certain, and avoid the risk of loss of life in the affray which may ensue upon the occasion. A day or two will decide the matter.--"Mercury."

1846 : Portland Bay Immigration Society. 1st Meeting at the "Woolpack Inn" 4th Feb., 1846

"The Geelong Advertiser and Squatters' Advocate" (Vic.) Tuesday, 28th March 1846.

Portland Bay Immigration Society. --- AT the first meeting of the Committee of the above-named Association, held at Mr. Richard Lewis' the Woolpack Inn, Emu Creek, on Wednesday, the 4th day of February, 1846, the following resolutions for the guidance of the Association were agreed upon :--
First, That every stockholder wishing to participate in the advantages of the above Association shall first become a subscriber to the List No. 1.
Secondly, That every member of the Association shall subscribe the sum of 1 for every thousand sheep, or five hundred head of cattle, depastured on his run, the sum of 1 being the estimated cost per man of passage money from Van Diemen's Land.
Thirdly, That whereas several of the stock holders of the District have already (that is, in the month of November, 1845) subscribed certain sums of money for the purpose of importing laborers from Van Diemen's Land into the District, and a portion of the money so subscribed has been actually expended, to the amiount of 94, there being a balance still in the hands of S. G. Henty, Esq. It is therefore resolved, that the general fund of the Association shall now be debited with the amount of 94 so expended and credited with the balance now in hand, it being distinctly understood by all joining the present Association, that each new subscriber bears his proportion of loss in the amount of 94 previously expended.
Forthly, That the subscriptions to both fund be paid every half year into the Treasurer's hands, the half year commencing on the 1st of January, 1846, and the second half year on the 1st day of July following.
Fifthly, That every member of the Association, on paying his half yearly subscription, shall be entitled, on application to the agent in Portland, to have one man indented to him for every pound subscribed in the List No. 2.
Sixthly, That it shall be imperative upon every member wishing for men under indenture, to apply for them within three months from the commencement of each half year, and if not applied for within that time, the funds then remaining at the disposal of the Committee will he appropriated to the importation of laborers to be landed free at Portland Bay.
Seventhly, That those parties who have paid the full amount of their subscription to the fund in November, 1845, in the proportion of 1 per thousand sheep, or their equivalent to cattle, shall be considered bona fide members of the new association, upon their paying to the List No. 1 the extra 10s per thousand sheep.
Eighthly, That instructions be given to the agent of the Association in Van Diemen's Land, to the effect that all men imported into the District shall be required to be furnished with written characters.
Ninthly, That S.G. Henty, Esq., of Portland be appointed Treasurer to this Association.
Tenthly, That Mr T. H. Osborne in Portland. and. Mr ---- in Launceston, be appointed agents, to carry out the necessary arrangements.
Eleventhly, That the accounts of the Association be published quarterly in the Portland newspapers.
ARTHUR PILLEAU, HENRY MONRO, GEORGE COLDHAM.

1846 : Wannon Hunt meeting at the "Woolpack Inn" 1st October, 1846

"The Geelong Advertiser and Squatters' Advocate" (Vic. : 1845-1847) Saturday, 28th March 1846.

THE WANNON HUNT.--At a public meeting of the members of the Portland Hunt, held at the Woolpack Inn, Emu Creek, on Thursday, October 1st, 1846, G. Winter, Esq., having resigned the mastership of the hounds, F. Henty, Esq., was requested and consented to act as such. Peter Snodgrass, Arthur Pilleau, Charles Whyte, John Coldham, and G. Winter, Esquires, were appointed a committee to assist the master of the hounds in the management of the hunt for the ensuing year, with power to add to their number. The master of the hounds and committee were empowered to erect the necessary buildings on the station of F. Henty, Esq , with the surplus funds remaining in the treasurer's hands from the last year's subscription. A person fully competent to manage the hounds, both in field and kennel, is to be engaged as huntsman, at a rate not exceeding 100 per annum, to maintain himself and horse. A subscription of 5 a year constitutes a member. For the future, the hunt is to be denominated the Wannon Hunt.

1860 : "Woolpack Inn" For Private Sale

"The Portland Guardian" (Vic.) Monday, 20th February 1860.

FOR PRIVATE SALE
THAT well-known PUBLIC-HOUSE, the WOOL PACK INN, DIGBY, with Brick Store adjoining. The Hotel contains 14 rooms, with kitchen and servant's rooms ; 20 stalled-brick stable, with carriage drive throughout ; an extensive garden, well-stocked with fruit trees, in full bearing. The Store contains 5 rooms, with large loft, is well and substantially built, and has only been erected some 3 years.
The whole Property stands upon three acres of ground, and is fenced in a superior manner.
The position and advantages of this property are too well-known to require comment, both premises are at present occupied, and are doing a steady active business.
Apply to CROUCH and FETHERS. Terms liberal.

1862 : "Woolpack Inn" For Sale

"The Portland Guardian" (Vic.) Tuesday, 22nd April 1862.

FOR SALE. THE WOOLPACK INN, DIGBY.
THE HOUSE is commodious, consisting of 14 Rooms, with Kitchen, Dairy, and Out-houses ; a brick Stable with 20 stalls. Also, a substantial brick Building, containing Shop and four Rooms with a Loft above, 40ft. long. This STORE is now let, subject to a lease for two years.
In the Yard is a WELL of permanent Water, and recently fitted at considerable expense with a Force Pump and Hose.
The Garden is large, well cultivated and stocked with Fruit Trees. The whole occupies three acres of Land in the centre of the township. The Inn commands a first-rate trade, and will be sold separately or together with the Store.
For terms, apply to Mr. JOYCE, The Proprietor on the Premises ; Or to Mr. JAMES ROBERTSON, Portland.

1863 : "Woolpack Inn" taken over by Matthew TOWNSEND

"The Portland Guardian" (Vic.) Thursday, 29th October 1863.

DIGBY. DIGBY. --- WOOLPACK INN.
THE undersigned desires most respectfully to intimate to the residents of the distrct, especially those who may have occasion to travel, that he has entered upon possession of the above OLD ESTABLISHED INN, and is determined that no exertions shall be wanting on his part to give every satisfaction to those who may favor him with their patronage.
SUPERIOR STABLING, accommodation for 20 horses including roomy loose boxes admirably adapted for racers.
MATTHEW TOWNSEND, Digby, Oct. 17th, 1863.

1864 : "Woolpack Inn" license application by Matthew TOWNSEND

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

TO the Bench of Magistrates acting for the County of Normanby at Digby.--I, Mathew Townsend, of Digby the County of Normanby aforesaid, publican, do hereby give nottice, 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 aulthorising the issue of a Publican's License for a House, situated in Digby aforesaid, containing four sitting rooms and six bedrooms, exclusive of those occupied by myself and family, which I intend to keep as an Inn, known by the name of the Woolpack Inn, and rented and occupied by me.
Dated, this 15th day of June, 1864. MATTHEW TOWNSEND.

1865 : "Woolpack Inn" taken over by Mr. C. WHYTE

"The Portland Guardian" (Vic.) Monday, 12th June 1865.

DIGBY. (FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT) June 9th, 1865.
The Woolpack Inn has again changed Landlords, Mr. C. Whyte, late of Hotspur, having obtained a transfer from Mr. M. Townsend, the former occupant.

1886 : "Woolpack Inn" offered for sale by Mrs. SOUTHERN

"Portland Guardian" (Vic.) Friday, 19th November 1886.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 27th, 1886.
To Hotelkeepers, Speculators, and Others.
WOOLPACK INN DIGBY.
Situated on the main road from Portland to Casterton.
SAMUEL STRETCH has been favored with instructions from Mrs. Southern, of Digby, to submit to public competition at the Victorian Hotel Hamilton on the above date at thee o'clock p.m. :--
All that piece or parcel of land, being portion of allots. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 of section 5, township and parish of Digby, in the county of Normanby, on which is erected the "Woolpack Inn" containing 12 rooms, kitchen, and outbuildings of weaherboard and iron roof, together with a stable of 9 stalls, and 5 loose boxes ; also a large fruit and vegetable garden. Mails arrive and are despatched daily. Useful sheep and cattle yards near the house. Terms easy, declared at sale.

1887 : "Woolpack Inn" destroyed by fire

"The Portland Guardian" (Vic.) Friday, 4th February 1887.
Suspicious Fire at Digby. (From The "SPECTATOR")
MERINO, February 1.
On Tuesday last, some excitement was caused here by a report that the Woolpack Inn, Digby, was burnt. The report turned out to be true. It appears that flames were first noticed issuing from the building about midnight on Monday, by Mr. A. Farley of the Digby Hotel, who, fortunately, had not retired for the night. He immediately gave the alarm, and there were soon gathered a number of willing workers, but the fire had got too great a hold and the efforts were futile. The building, being old and dry, was a ready prey to the devouring element, and the adjoining premises, a store owned by Mr. Ford and occupied by Mr. A. McDonald, being very close to the hotel, was also soon ignited. Mr. McDonald and family were sound asleep when roused up by Farley, and upon grasping the situation, McDonald immediately set to work, assisted by those present, to remove the contents of the store. Most of the goods, with the furniture, were hurriedly thrown out before the building became untenable ; the fire quickly spread and the store was completely demolished. The flames then extended to Mr. McDonald's hay-stack, which was also entirely consumed The stable at the Woolpack, well known to be a commodious one, was, singular to relate, found to be on fire at the same time the house was burning, although there was no connection between the places, and the conflagrations appeared to be independent of each other. This was naturally regarded as a very suspicious circumstance. By dint of strenuous exertions, the stable was saved. The police from here visited the scene of conflagration on Tuesday, when further proofs that the work was that of an incendiary were forthcoming. Kerosene rags were discovered under the shingles of the stables, some of which had apparently been fired. Mrs. Unity Southern, the only person in charge of the premises made a statement to the effect that her right of the premises had expired on the date of the fire. At 9 p.m she had locked the place up and was on her way to stop with a friend about three quarters of a mile away, when observing the flames, she returned and vainly endeavoured to subdue the fire. Her statements, however, were so contradictory, combined with other suspicious surroundings, that Constable Graves felt it his duty to have Mrs. Southern arrested on suspision of wilfully causing the fire. As far as can at present be known, not any of the premises were insured, and if that is the case it is not easy to surmise what would be the object of an incendiary, though no doubt more light will be thrown on the matter at, the official inquiry which takes place tomorrow. The Woolpack Inn was most conspicuously situated to the visitor entering Digby from the North, and its destruction has caused quite a blank in this picturesque little town. Universal sympathy is expressed for Mr McDonald who had lately moved into the premises, and whose loss, although not nearly so large as it might be, is still considerable.
MERINO, February 2.
Mrs. Unity Southern was brought up before the local Bench, today and remanded to Hamilton for 8 days. She is charged with wilfully burning theWoolpack Inn, Digby.
The accused was brought to Hamilton yesterday afternoon, and on the arrival of the P.M. bail was fixed, herself and two sureties in 100 each. The bail was forthcoming and the prisoner was released. Mrs. Southern will appear at Merino on the 10th inst.
MERINO, February 17.
AT THE Merino Police Court on Thursday, William Southern was charged with attempted arson in connexion with the fire at the Woolpack Inn. A good deal of evidence was taken, but as the P.M. could find nothing-direct in it he discharged the accused.

1887 : Mrs Unity SOUTHERN; a prison sentence for the arson of the "Woolpack Inn."

"The Horsham Times" (Vic.) Tuesday, 17th May 1887.

HAMILTON GENERAL SESSIONS. --- The sittings of the Hamilton Supreme Court commenced on Saturday, before His Honor Mr. Justice Williams. There were four criminal cases on the list, of which the following three were dealt with :--Unity Southern was charged with having set fire to the Woolpack Inn, Digby. Accused had been tried in March, before Mr Justice Kerferd, but the jury could not then agree. After an hour's deliberation the jury brought in a verdict of guilty, with a recommendation to mercy on account of her family. The woman was sentenced to four years' imprisonment, the first two days in every alternate month in the first and third years in solitary confinement.--"Age."

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