Bull’s Head

llington Street, Sandhill/South Launceston
SW cnr Charles & Brisbane Streets. Google Maps.
Charles Street
Charles and York Streets

1834-36 William Collins, Bull’s Head, Wellington Street/Main Road
1836-43 William Collins, Bull’s Head, Charles & Brisbane Streets
1843-50 William Duncan, Bull’s Head, Charles & Brisbane Streets (burnt down)
1850 William Duncan sen., Bull’s Head, Charles Street
1851-57 William Duncan, Senr., Bull’s Head, Charles and York Streets
1857-58 Alexander Duncan, Bull’s Head, Charles and York Streets
1858-66 John Burns Thompson, Bulls’ Head, Charles & York Streets
1866-71 William Tuner, Bull’s Head, Charles & York Streets
1871 Henry Millbank, Bull’s Head, Charles & York Streets
1871 Elizabeth Woods, Bull’s Head, Charles & York Streets


Cornwall Chronicle, 19 September 1836


Cornwall Chronicle, 3 December 1836


Launceston Advertiser, 8 June 1837

Extract from a very long advertisement:
Mr. Dudley lost his License for the House I now occupy, about twelve months ago, in consequence of its having been kept in the most abandoned manner, and being the resort of the most profligate. I then kept a Licensed House on the Sand Hills; the proposition was made to me to remove my License to Mr. Dudley’s House. I originally offered to purchase his interest in the Lease, and proposed giving him £300 for the same ; that, however, was declined, and ultimately I (foolishly I must say) agreed to take possession, by allowing him to take one-half of the profits,— and a memorandum to that effect was ultimately drawn up by Mr. Brean, my agreeing to pay in cash one-half of the value of certain articles of furniture, billiard-table, &c. prior, however, to my taking possession, I stipulated, that Mrs. Dudley end family should be removed, so that I might re-model the House upon different principles to which it had hitherto been conducted.
Cornwall Chronicle, 14 October 1837


Cornwall Chronicle, 2 February 1839


Cornwall Chronicle, 11 May 1839


Launceston Courier, 14 February 1842


Cornwall Chronicle, 24 June 1843

Transfers.— The Quarterly Meeting of Justices, for the transfer of Licenses, was held on Monday, at the Court House, when the following applications were sanctioned :—
From Patrick Walsh, Sir George Arther Inn, Sandhill, to Mr. Thomas Archer.
From Mr. Thomas Dudley, Black Swan, Wellington and Brisbane-streets, to Mr. James Childs.
From the executors of Mr. Collins, Bull’s Head, Charles-street, to Mr. William Duncan.
A new license was granted to Mr. James Whitehead, late of the Eagle’s Return, Snake Banks, for the Cornwall Hotel, Cameron-street.

Launceston Advertiser, 10 August 1843


Launceston Examiner, 23 August 1843

From “Annual Licensing Meeting”:
Wm. Duncan, ” Bull’s Head,”. corner of Charles and Brisbane streets. No conviction ; general conduct good ; house inferior, but clean and in good order, Granted.
Launceston Examiner, 4 September 1847

FIRE.—Another destructive fire occurred last night in Launceston, by which the public-house at the corner of Charles and Brisbane-streets, known as the “Bull’s Head,” kept by Mr. W. Duncan, was entirely consumed. The fire originated about half-past eleven o’clock, amongst some straw in an out-building, and the flames instantly took hold of the kitchen attached to the house of Mr. W. B. Button, grocer. Here the fire was arrested by copious supplies of water thrown upon the roof end sides, but from the nature of the buildings a clean sweep of the entire block was anticipated, and several shops were accordingly stripped of their goods, However, by great exertion, the conflagration was confined to the Bull’s Head,” which in the course of a few hours was level with the ground.

A detachment of the XI. Regiment, under the personal command of Major Harrold and Captain Thornton, as well as the police magistrate and a strong body of constabulary, were promptly on the ground, and maintained order amongst the vast crowd assembled. Mr. Button (who has been in business only two months) suffers severely from this distressing circumstance, for although his shop escaped total destruction by fire, yet many perishable articles have been entirely spoiled by being exposed to wet ; in fact, the gutter was streaming with blacking and sauces which had been thrown into the street to preserve them from the fire! Three engines were on the spot, but were frequently rendered useless by the absence of water ; when, however, the shouts of the people announced a supply, and the pumps were set to work, the flames temporarily subsided. By means of a grapple and chain the brick-togged walls were pulled down upon the burning mass, which was thus, in many places, smothered. It was gratifying to observe the strong desire to render assistance manifested by all present, but a feeling of disapprobation was expressed when a few individuals, who bad partaken too freely of Mr. Duncan’s case-bottle gin, made a demand for pecuniary reward. Mr. Button was uninsured; but, fortunately, Mr. Duncan holds a policy covering his stock and furniture.
Launceston Examiner, 12 June 1850


Cornwall Chronicle, 31 August 1850


Cornwall Chronicle, 30 August 1851


Cornwall Chronicle, 20 November 1852

From “Quarterly Licensing Meeting”:
The first application was to transfer the “Bull’s Head Inn” from William Duncan, senr., to Alexander Duncan, his son.
Mir. Miller, who appeared to support the application, read a very complimentary letter addressed to Mr A. Duncan, by Mr. Lowe, the auctioneer, in whose offices he had been for five years. Mr. Miller observed that the only possible objection against the transfer of tile license would be the age of the proposed holder of it. He would, however, be of age in two months, and in the meantime would have the assistance of his father, and after that of an elder brother and his wife.

The Police Magistrate said he must oppose the application on public grounds. He thought so young a person ought not to have been brought forward as the holder of a public-house license; he was surprised indeed, that it should be so. He was not of age, and in his opinion not competent to manage the house, which was frequented from its position by characters difficult to deal with.
Mir. Miller urged that the law mode no stipulation as to age: besides, it was well known the natives were unusually precocious,-and, besides, in this case the applicant would have the assistance of an elder brother.
The chairman said the magistrates could not well take that into consideration. The question was rather–was the younger Duncan, being of good character–disqualified by his age from having the house ?
Mr. Sams said the best guarantee of the fitness of the younger Duncan was the fact that his father was willing to allow him to take charge of his business. He was of opinion that unless the magistrates knew of something wrong against the son, they could not dare to refuse the application. It would be a monstrous interference with the interests of a family. In reply to the chairman, Mr. Duncan, sen., said Io held a lease of the premises, and had hire years to run.

Commander Drew said he did not see that there would be anything monstrous in refusing the application, if the Bench were of opinion that the proposed holder of the license was too young. At tile same time, under the circumstances of this case, he should not like to vote against the application.
The transfer was granted.

Launceston Examiner, 3 December 1857

From “Quarterly Licensing Meeting”:
John Barnes Thompson, for transfer of license of the “Bull’s head,” York-street, occupied by Alexander Duncan.
Launceston Examiner, 3 August 1858

From “Quarterly Licensing Meeting”:
Mr Hill [of the Enfield Hotel] had looked about for premises for which a bench of magistrates would be likely to grant a license and finding such a house next door where a public house, the Bull’s Head, had been kept for many years without annoying the inhabitants of Charles or Brisbane streets, be applied for that
Cornwall Chronicle, 3 August 1859


Launceston Examiner, 27 February 1866


Cornwall Chronicle, 14 March 1866


Launceston Examiner, 3 November 1866

Music in Public Houses.-William Turner, landlord of the Bull’s Head, and Patrick Rice of the George Inn, were each fined 5s, and 7s 6d costs, for permitting music in the bars of their licensed houses.
Launceston Examiner, 3 December 1870

Bull’s Head Inn.— On Friday, 14th inst.,at the Police Court, before Thomas Mason. Esq., and James John Hudson, Esq., J.P., permission was granted to Mr Henry Milbanke to sell liquors under the license, granted to Mr William Turner for the Bull’s Head Inn, Charles and York streets.
The Tasmanian, 22 April 1871


Cornwall Chronicle, 31 May 1871

Tasmanian Inn, Bull’s Head and Shamrock Hotel.— The applications of Mr Duncan McGregor, Mrs Woods and Mr Frederick Hollingsworth for permission to sell liquors until the next quarterly licensing meeting at the Tasmanian Inn, Bull’s Head and Shamrock Hotel, respectively, under the licenses held by Mr Henry Thomas Collings, Mr Henry Milbank. and Mrs Woods, were granted by the Launceston: Police Bench, at the Police Court on Friday, 26th ult.
The Tasmanian, 3 June 1871


Launceston Examiner, 3 August 1871


Launceston Examiner, 10 October 1871

PUBLIC HOUSES CLOSED.—The business of licensed victuallers in Launceston would appear to be on the decline, if we may judge by the number of public-houses which have been closed during the last few days. Whether our friends the total abstainers will accept this stale of things as the sign of an advance in the moral and intellectual status of the inhabitants of Launceston we cannot say; but we do not think the diminution in the number of such houses can be attributed to any extraordinary efforts lately put forth by teetotallers. There is little doubt that there are too many public-houses of the class referred to in Launceston, and in the present depressed state of business it is no wonder that they cannot be made to pay. That they are not high-class houses is proved by their closing just now, when a better prospect is opening to respectable houses in the influx of summer visitors from the neighboring colonies. No less than four are now closed — the Bull’s Head, the Royal Mail Hotel, the Shamrock Inn, and the Albion Inn,—and others are spoken of as likely to follow.
Cornwall Advertiser, 21 November 1871


Cornwall Advertiser, 7 May 1872

Royal Oak (1)

Cnr Wellington & Elizabeth Streets

1830-31 James McClure, Royal Oak, Wellington Street
1832-35 James McClure, Royal Oak, Wellington & Elizabeth Streets
1836-37 Goodman Hart, Royal Oak, Wellington & Elizabeth Streets


Launceston Advertiser, 1 December 1834


Cornwall Chronicle, 1 July 1837


Cornwall Chronicle, 2 September 1837


Cornwall Chronicle, 28 April 1838

Wilmot Arms

Cnr Garfield Street and Wellington Street (Road), Sandhill/South Launceston. Google Maps approximate location
Demolished 1972

SE cnr Brisbane & Wellington Streets. Google Maps, approximate location.
Demolished 1894.

Mw1_0735
SE cnr Brisbane & Wellington Streets. (2015)

Previously Green Gate
1844-47 Nicholas Clark, Wilmot Arms, Sand Hill
–> Moved to site of Black Swan
1847-48 Nicholas Clark, Wilmot Arms, Wellington and Brisbane Streets
1848 Jane Clark/Sullivan, Wilmot Arms, Brisbane and Wellington Streets
1849-53 John Sullivan, Wilmot Arms, Brisbane and Wellington Streets
1853-54 Daniel O’Donell, Wilmot Arms, Wellington and Brisbane Streets
1854-55 George Summers, Wilmot Arms, Brisbane and Wellington Streets
1855-63 John Blades, Wilmot Arms, Brisbane and Wellington Streets
1863-66 Charles Page, Wilmot Arms, Brisbane and Wellington Streets
1866-68 Alfred John Green, Wilmot Arms, Brisbane and Wellington Streets
1868-69 Alfred Stephen Harris, Wilmot Arms, Brisbane and Wellington Streets
1869 John Sullivan, Wilmot Arms, Brisbane and Wellington Streets
1870-80 Michael Lawler, Wilmot Arms, Brisbane and Wellington Streets
–> License transferred to former Fire Brigade Inn, Brisbane Street

Photo of Wellington St, with Brisbane St intersection on the very right. The light coloured building on that corner is the Wilmot Arms (name is along the top), which is a facade around the older Black Swan. (Alternate link.)

Extracts from Examiner story, “Colourful Old Hostelries”:
The first hotel in Launceston was the Black Swan, built in 1820, and kept by G. Burgess, an old whaler. It stood on the corner of Brisbane and Wellington streets and was after wards known as the Wilmot Arms before it was pulled down.

In Brisbane St. where the Enfleld (now McClymont’s), Cleary’s (now Tuck’s shop), Wilmot Arms (now a motor garage), Noah’s Ark (at corner of Margaret St.), Glenfield House, Barber’s Hotel (now Routley’s and the adjoining bank) and the Fire Brigade (now the Imperial).
Examiner, 12 March 1946
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Green Gate — Golden Fleece

Previously Sandhill
1841 James Corbett, Green Gate, Wellington St
1842 John Main, Green Gate, Wellington Street
1842-44 Matthew. Mason, Green Gate, Wellington Street
1845 Israel Shaw, Green Gate, Wellington Street
1845-46 Israel Shaw, Golden Fleece, Wellington Street

NEW LICENCES REFUSED.
William Bourne, Travellers Rest, Sandhill (formerly the Harrow Inn); refused on account of situation. Mr. Corbett. of the Green Gate [at Sandhill], was also given to understand that, for the same reasons, his house would be licensed for one year only, at the expiration of which time it would not be renewed.
Launceston Advertiser, 3 September 1840


Launceston Advertiser, 4 November 1841


Launceston Examiner, 11 June 1842

Transfer – At the Court of Quarter Sessions held by adjournment yesterday, Mr. John Main’s license for the public-house in Wellington-street, called the Green Gate, was transferred to Mr. Mason, son of Mr. William Mason, of the Elephant and Castle, Wellington street.
Cornwall Chronicle, 12 November 1842
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Green Gate — Wilmot Arms

Cnr Garfield Street and Wellington Street (Road), Sandhill/South Launceston. Google Maps approximate location.
Demolished 1927.

1834 George Dodery, Green Gate Inn, Main Rd/Sandhill
1835 Stephen Hopwood, Green Gate, Launceston
1836 Lewis Henry Lazarus?
1836-40 James Corbett, Green Gate, Sandhill
—> Moved to Wellington Street
1844-47 Nicholas Clark, Wilmot Arms, Sand Hill
–> Moved to site of Black Swan, cnr Brisbane & Wellington streets

The Colonist, 20 May 1834
The Colonist, 20 May 1834


Colonial Times, 4 November 1834
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British Hotel

NE corner of Wellington & Balfour Streets. Google maps.

Home to what seems to have been Launceston’s first theatre (1834, see advertisements below). Became the colonial hospital in the early 1840s, and then the public Cornwall Hospital until the construction of the Launceston General Hospital in 1863.

1832 Alexander Rose, British Hotel, Wellington Street
1833 Henry Davis, British Hotel, Wellington Street
1834 Thomas Massey, British Hotel, Wellington Street
1835-36 John Hamilton Jacobs, British Hotel, Wellington Street


Launceston Advertiser, 28 September 1831

Although this says Charles St, the license is granted for the following year (1832) and Rose is signing himself as the proprietor of the British Hotel, Wellington Street in May 1832 (see first ad below).

British Hotel Launceston Advertiser, 9 May 1832
Launceston Advertiser, 9 May 1832


The Independent, 6 April 1833
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King’s Arms

Charles Street
cnr Wellington & Elizabeth Streets

Formerly Black Bull, Charles & Brisbane Streets?
1830 Henry Hinksman, King’s Arms, Charles Street
1831 Elizabeth Hinksman, King’s Arms, Charles Street
1832 George Dodery, King’s Arms, Charles Street
1833 Benjamin Walford, King’s Arms, Launceston
1834 John Ashton, King’s Arms, Charles Street
1834 John Ashton, King’s Arms, Wellington & Elizabeth Streets
1835 Thomas Neal
1836 John Ashton, King’s Arms, Wellington & Elizabeth Streets
1836-38 Henry Chalk, King’s Arms, Wellington Street


Launceston Advertiser, 4 October 1830
Robert Marr had the Black Bull, cnr Brisbane and Charles Streets until 1829.


Burial of Henry Hinksman (RGD 34/1/1 Burials Launceston, 1831)
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