** Fire Brigade Hotel

170 Brisbane St. Google Maps.
Later Druids, Imperial, Billabong, Galaxy, Plough Inn


1859-1860 John Sullivan, Fire Brigade, Brisbane St
1860-78 William Burston, Fire Brigade, Brisbane St
1880-87 Michael Lawler, Wilmot Arms, Brisbane Street
1887-88 Edward Bonser, Fire Brigade Hotel, Brisbane Street
1888 Mary Jane Bruff,
1889-91 John Black -died
1891 Emily Black -died
1891-94 William Inall died
1894 Mary Jane Inall
1895-99 James West died
1900 Amelia West

Photo, as Billabong Hotel, 1992

Cornwall Chronicle, 31 December 1859

Fire Brigade Hotel— Our advertising column announce that Mr John Sullivan, our worthy host of Launceston and George Town celebrity, has established himself in those substantial brick premises in Brisbane Street, opposite Mr. J. Monks’ painting and glaring establishment, which he will conduct under the sign of the ‘Fire Brigade Hotel.’ It is only necessary to be made known that Mr Sullivan has become the proprietor of this Hostelries to ensure for him the patronage he has so deservedly enjoyed, and for which he is so justly appreciated Always appreciated as a man of enterprise, Mr. Sullivan is sure to be encouraged by the general public in this, his present appearance in this his former occupation in Launceston.
Cornwall Chronicle, 31 December 1859

Cornwall Chronicle, 19 May 1860
Cornwall Chronicle, 19 May 1860
The usual meeting for the transfer of Publican’s licenses was held at the Court House on Monday morning last.
J. Whiteford, Esq, Chairman of the Quarter Sessions, presided as Chairman. The on– other parties were W. Gunn, Esq, Police Magistrate, and his Worship, the Mayor.
The first application made was from John Sullivan, late of the Fire Brigade Hotel, Brisbane-street, to William Burston.
His Worship the Mayor, urged a “—– objection” to this transfer, inasmuch as he thought Mr Sullivan had been trafficking in public house licenses.
Mr Sullivan.–If then, Sir, I have been doing as you represent, it has been an unfortunate “traffic’ for me, as I have nearly emptied my pocket by so doing.
His Worship remarked that he had nothing to say against Mr Sullivan’s character. He had simple made the foregoing observation — the discharge of his public duty.
The Police Magistrate approved of the transfer of the licenses, and thought Mr Sullivan highly competent to conduct such an establishment as the Plough Inn, which had induced him retire from the Fire Brigade Hotel.
Transfer granted.
Cornwall Chronicle, 3 November 1860

Cornwall Chronicle, 15 december 1860
Cornwall Chronicle, 15 December 1860

From “Annual Licensing Meeting”:
Fire Brigade Inn, Brisbane-street.
Mr Coulter stated that when this place had been visited by the Mayor the back premises had been found to be in very bad order.
Mr Collins, who appeared on behalf of the applicant, stated that he would undertake on behalf of the owner to have anything done that was required to the satisfaction of Mr Coulter.
The Police Magistrate drew attention to the fact that there were several cases pending in his office in which the applicant was concerned. It was stated that he had lately married a, woman of an immoral character, and if so the bench should have some information oil that point. In reply to the bench,
Mr Coulter said that Mrs Burston was regarded as such by the police.
Mr Collins pointed out that Burston had been a licensed victualler for many years, and had been free from any charge. His wife had died, and though there might be truth in the statement concerning the person he had since married, he thought the bench should at least give him a chance, for Mrs Burston might now lead a different life. He thought it would be hard to punish the applicant for this.
After some further discussion the question that the license be granted was put and unanimously negatived.

Weekly Examiner, 7 December 1878

To the Editor of the Tasmanian.
Sir,— I am, obliged to you for publishing the remarks made by Mr Coulter respecting my marriage.
In common fairness I should have had notice that such allegations were to be made before the licensing bench and I could then have produced five certificates of character from her employers (persons of undoubted respectability) during the last five years previous to her marriage.
As to the manner in which my house has been conducted, the records of the Police Court will show that no robberies or other breaches of the law. occurred there during my long, period of occupation–about 20 years. On what legal ground then has the renewal of my licensee been refused !
I am, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
W. Burston

The Tasmanian, 7 December 1878

Maintenance. — William Burston was charged by his son James with having neglected since Oct. 13 to support his daughter Charlotte, she being under 16 years of age.
Defendant pleaded not guilty, ad was defended by Mr Collins,
Mr R. B. Miller, who appeared in support of the information, stated that defendant, an old man of 70, had chosen to isolate himself from his family by marrying a woman of questionable character. In anticipation of this marriage he had turned his daughters out of the house, the youngest of whom was not able to import herself. He mentioned that the case had been adjourned in consequence of the illness of defendant, his wife having broken his head with a tumbler.
James Burston deposed that he was a bookmaker, residing in Wellington-street, and was son of defendant ; defendant was about 70 years of age ; he was keeper of the Fire Brigade Inn in October last, and next door to the inn resided a woman named Moore ; a girl named Jane Fisher, aged about 20, lived in this house ; previous to October witness’s sister Eliza managed his father’s house; she was about 26 years old; the second sister, Charlotte, also lived in the house; witness knew the woman Fisher to knock about with men in Brisbane-street ; he had seen her take men home at night, and had seen men come out of the house next morning, between 6 and 8 o’clock; besides Fisher two other women lived in the house, namely Mrs Moore and Mrs Graham ; witness had seen them also taking men to the house ; the house was known to it good many men about town as a brothel ; after Burston’s family left the inn part of the fence between the inn and Mrs Moore’s house was taken down so that there should be free communication between them

Launceston Examiner, 11 January 1879

From “Quarterly Licensing Inn”:
E. Bonser applied to license the Fire Brigade Inn, Brisbane street, the license of which had been refused to W. Burston at the annual meeting.
The Chairman stated that Mr Bonser was already the holder of another license at Scottsdale.
Mr Coulter, Superintendent of Police, stated that the house was still occupied by Burston.
In reply to the Chairman, the applicant stated that he held the license of the Ellesmere Hotel, Scottsdale, for which application for transfer to W. S. Gill was to be made.
The present application was then ordered to stand over till such time as the application for transfer was dealt with. The Bench could not deal with the matter, as Bonser was already the holder of a license.
Cornwall Chronicle, 4 February 1879

Wilmot Arms, Brisbane-street. Michael Lawler, applicant.
Mr Coulter explained that this was the old Fire Brigade Inn, which had been closed owing to family differences. Mr Lawler was the occupier of the Wilmot Arms at present, and he purposed calling the house he now applied for by the same name. He had no objection to it either the premises or applicant.
The application was granted
Launceston Examiner, 2 December 1880

Daily Telegraph, 20 July 1887

Edward Bonser, Wilmot Arms Hotel.
Michael Lawler, Victoria Hotel.
These two licences were granted, and the name of Wilmot Arms Hotel was allowed to be changed to Fire Brigade Hotel. A compliment was paid by Mr. Coulter to Michael Lawler, for the clean and satisfactory condition of the Victoria Hotel.

Launceston Examiner, 9 December 1887

Launceston Examiner, 12 December 1887

From “Current Topics”:
John Black was granted permission to sell liquor at the Fire Brigade Hotel till the next licensing meeting.
Launceston Examiner, 5 November 1889

Launceston Examiner, 14 December 1889

Daily Telegraph, 3 December 1889
Daily Telegraph, 3 December 1889

Launceston Examiner, 14 October 1891

From “Licensing Bench”:
Permission was given to Mrs Emily Black, at the Fire Brigade Hotel, under a license recently held by John Black, deceased.
Launceston Examiner, 4 August 1891

From “Current Topics”:
William Inall was granted permission to sell liquor under the license held by the late Mrs Emily Black for the Fire Brigade Hotel, Brisbane-street, until the next quarterly meeting of the Licensing Bench.
Launceston Examiner, 28 November 1891

Early Tuesday morning Mr R. F. Irvine received a telegram from Sheffield, informing him that Mr William Inall, licensee of the Fire Brigade Hotel, Brisbane-street, died suddenly at the Iris tin mine, Belmont, near Sheffield, on the previous evening. The sad intelligence was conveyed to Mrs Inall, who had not previously heard of the sudden demise of her husband. Very much regret was expressed Tuesday when the news became generally known, for the deceased was held in high esteem amongst his friends, who were numerous, especially in mining circles. Mr Inall had been for some time interested in mining, though his speculations were not of. a very successful character. He had great hopes, however, of the Iris mine, in which he was a shareholder, turning out well ; and on Monday: week, in company with Mr Alfred Joyce, he left Launceston for the property, intending to construct’ a dam in order to be in readiness for the winter season. He was, it appears, engaged in preparing the evening meal when his death took place. Mr Inall was 49 years of age. and was the youngest son of the late Mr Thomas Inall

The Tasmanian, 24 March 1894

For permission to continue to sell under a Public-house License, held by a person recently deceased— Inall, Mary Jane, from Inall, William, Fire Brigade Hotel, Brisbane-street
Daily Telegraph, 11 April 1894

INTERIM LICENCE. – John West was granted permission to sell liquors under the license held by Mary Theresa Inall at the Fire Brigade Hotel until the next meeting of the Licensing Bench.
Launceston Examiner, 8 January 1895

An application from Amelia West for a license in respect to the Fire Brigade Hotel owing to the death of the former landlord was granted Mr J. H. Keating appeared for the applicant.
Daily Telegraph, 6 February 1900

Mr. Lawler was the only surviving member of the family of the late Mr. and Mrs. Michael Lawler. His father was an hotelkeeper in the early days, and opened the Wilmot Arms Hotel at the corner of Brisbane and Wellington streets. Subsequently he took over the Fire Brigade Hotel (now Imperial), in Brisbane-street, and later the Victoria, subsequently changed to the Burnie Hotel, in Elizabeth-street, the present site of the Trades Hall.
Examiner, 13 November 1941

Moorina, Oct. 26.
Mrs.Bonser, wife of the landlord of the Mooriha Hotel, died very suddenly yesterday afternoon. The deceased was highly respected, and was a daughter of the, late Mr. J. Burston, of the. Fire Brigade Hotel in Launcestoa. Much sympathy is felt for the bereaved, husband. and the five little children who survive the deceased.
The Tasmanian, 31 October 1885

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