History2017-07-06T18:29:59+00:00

History of the Braybrook Hotel

Although an 1851 map of the area gives no indication of a track along the route of the present day Ballarat Road, an 1852 map includes a road crossing Lynch’s Punt (now Lynch’s bridge) and forking to the north-west (as Ballarat Road does now) as well as south-westerly towards Geelong. It has been said that Ballarat Road was not initially used very much as a route to the rich goldfields of central Victoria, which were discovered in 1851. However, enough traffic was passing by 1854 for the Braybrook Hotel to open. Land was reserved by the Government for a ‘road or highway’ from the Saltwater River to Ballarat via Exford in 1857 . By the next year hopeful subdividers were calling it the ‘main road to the diggings’ on their plans of allotments for sale in Maidstone and Upper Footscray.
Although the most popular route to the diggings was said to be via Moonee Ponds and Keilor, it appears that some travellers used Raleigh’s Punt at Maribyrnong to cross the river and follow Raleigh Road and what is now Hampstead Road to meet up with Ballarat Road at Braybrook. Some sources suggest that teamsters carrying supplies to the goldfields on bullock drays favoured a ‘grove of trees’ on Hampstead Road as a camping place { Barnard, 2000}.
The first Braybrook Hotel is thought to have been erected around 1854, possibly in response to the demand from travellers to the gold fields. However, the earliest rate record found for this building was in 1863-4 when Charles Niven Young was the licensee and John Lang was the owner {RB1863-4, 94}. Thomas Burge Derham was the next owner in c1864, buying the property from William Lang. Derham, a butcher from Somerset in England, was both the owner and licensee by 1867 and continued there until this century. He had a wife, Matilda Bryant, and 11 children (Sutherland).

Cultural Significance

The Braybrook Hotel is significant to the Western Region because:

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  • it is among the oldest structures in the City and the region (criterion B2) ;
  • it has been a gathering place for travellers and local people over a long period and has thus gained considerable public exposure (criterion G1);
  • it is linked with the old village of Braybrook and the gold era as a way side stop enrolee to the gold fields (criterion A4);
  • it shows architectural sophistication which suggests it was architect designed (criterion F1) ;
  • it is built from face stonework which is rare for a commercial or public building in the City and the region and is closely linked to the western suburbs as the major source of basalt in this era (criterion B2); and
  • it is surprisingly externally intact for a commercial building of that era (criterion C2).

There are no other face-stone masonry hotels in this part of the City (Braybrook, Maribyrnong), only one other face-stone masonry hotel in the City at Yarraville, and only one other hotel in the City of a comparative age being the Junction Hotel, Whitehall St.  Many stone rubble hotels have been stuccoed over. Williamstown has one face-stonework former hotel.