The publican who turned back time: Launceston’s National Hotel

national hotel edwards launceston
The National Hotel, Launceston, Tasmania C1910

The publican who tampered with time


Georgina Tyson, who was born at the National Hotel, Launceston

NEXT time you stay to stumps at your local pub, don’t always trust that clock behind the bar when you’re told to drink-up – it may be a little fast.

When a last-century owner of the long-gone National Hotel in Launceston Tasmania put the clock forward to shorten drinking hours “because he didn’t like people who drank,” one of his seven daughters would climb onto the counter to turn the hands back gain.

The 85-year-old daughter of Henry Evans, Georgina Louisa Tyson, revealed her father’s trick of shortening the pub’s trading hours in a story published in the Launceston Examiner on June 29 1954:

Mrs Tyson and her six sisters and two brothers were all born at the National Hotel, but it was called the Coach and Horses in those days. Henry Evans’ wife was Irish and their daughter Georgina, inherited her twinkling blue eyes, Irish wit and leaning towards mischief.

“Father didn’t like people who drank, so he’d send them out and they’d stand in the street and abuse him,” she chuckled yesterday.

Wanted new name.

“I suggested to father that the name Coach and Horses was old-fashioned and that he should change it, but he was firm and replied that he was old fashioned too.

“It was strange that one of the names I suggested was the National, as it was to be changed to that later. Another name I wanted was the Professional, as a lot of professional actors used to stay with us. The hotel was within walking distance of the wharf, so it was popular with new arrivals,” Mrs Tyson explained.

Mrs Tyson, who preferred to slide down the hotel banisters rather than walk, can remember the word “surgery” deeply inscribed on a cedar door leading from the bar to the parlour, which leads her to believe that there was a chemist or dentist there previously. She also feels that the hotel may be older than the 119 years claimed for it, as her elder sister, who would be 100 years old now, was born there; a year after her parents took over the ownership.

Grandpa bought it

Mrs Tyson’s grandfather, shipowner Robert Evans, bought the hotel years before that he left it to his wife, and she in turn left it to the eldest son, Henry. Henry left it to his son Henry, Mrs Tyson’s brother, and when he died her sister-in-law sold the hotel, then the National.

Mrs Tyson, who lived there until she was 21, in 1890, says her sisters were brought up very strictly by their mother as she maintained that “people watched the behaviour of girls from hotels.”

“Father was a bit more lenient though, and he used to take me to the theatre as we weren’t allowed to go unescorted,” she smiled.

“Grandma lived with us until she died. Our dining-room window looked out on to her yard.”

This is a story of a Tasmanian pub that had quite an unusual number of publicans who stayed for lengthy periods of time over its 120 year history. Lengthy stays, lengthy licenses, and lengthy roles at hosts.

The length a time a publican remains at his or her pub, I reckon, is a reflection of how well it is run. Think about it. If publicans’ customers are happy, they’re spending money. If customers’ are spending money, mine host is happy. Business is good.

The Coach and Horses, later trading as the National Hotel, operated for 119 years, before the 20th century caught-up with it a few days before Christmas in 1954. Sadly today the site is an open car park.

national hotel launceston car park today
The corner of Charles and Paterson Streets Launceston, where once traded the National Hotel. Picture: Google Streetview.

The Coach and Horses was originally part of a series of buildings owned by Robert Evans on the north-west corner of Charles and Paterson Streets in Launceston.

A Londoner, Evans came to Sydney with his wife and two-year-old son, Henry in 1832. Henry would later become the clock fraudster, abused by his customers from the street after stealing away their valuable beer drinking time.

Robert Evans opened a boarding-house in Patterson-street, Launceston in the early 1830s and subsequently established a bakery between the old Examiner newspaper office and the corner of Charles Street.

Business prospered, and Robert purchased adjoining premises, at the angle of Charles and Patterson streets. He added to and enlarged the Patterson Street premises – which were built in 1822 – into what would become Launceston’s first two storey building, and eventually the Coach and Horses Hotel.

The family, however, were not involved in running the pub, which was first licensed in September 1834 to Richard Ruffin. Unlike many who followed him, Ruffin had a relatively short stay behind the bar of the Coach and Horses, remaining for just two years.

Ruffin went on to host numerous pubs in Tasmania, particularly around the Perth area, where he also operated a coaching business. His last Tasmanian pub was the William Wallace Inn, Franklin Village in 1847, and by the following year he had opened another pub by the same name in Yarra Street Geelong, Victoria. He hosted the Oxford Arms Hotel in Geelong and died there in 1863.

Joseph Thorn became licensee of the Coach and Horses in November 1838, and remained at the Launceston pub for 11 years. He was the first of the hosts who decided to stay for a lengthy period. Prior to the Coach and Horses, Thorn had hosted the nearby Crown Hotel in Charles Street, and the Blue Bell at “The Sand Hill”. He was 36 when he became host of the Coach and Horse.

Thorn’s 10-year-old son, Charles was killed in June 1844, when while riding on the shaft of a cart carrying gravel. He was thrown from the vehicle and the wheel of the cart went over the boy’s neck, killing him almost instantly.

Following Thorn’s departure from the Coach and Horses, came 29-year-old former police constable, and non-commissioned army soldier, John Sheridan. Sheridan resigned his position as constable of Launceston in June 1853, before taking over the license of the pub in August. Sheridan was at the pub less than three years when tragedy struck, with the death of his wife, Mary. She was just 33.

The young publican’s life was also almost cut short when he decided to cool off in a nearby river with his dog. The Hobart Courier reported on December 18 1857:

Mr Sheridan, of the “Coach and Horses” Inn, was bathing in the river below the Cataract, his dog, either from playfulness or fear (the animal was a young one) got upon his master’s back. The extra weight forced Mr Sheridan below the surface; the dog still kept his place; his master was heard to call in the one of a drowning man for “a boat!” “a boat!” when fortunately Mr Thomas Bransgrove, who was swimming close by, called out to Mr Sheridan to pull the dog in under; this he did, when he again rose and got safely to shore, a good deal alarmed that the trick of a stupid dog should have nearly led to such serious consequences.-Ibid.

Sheridan remarried Ann Alcock in August 1858, before leaving the Coach and Horses in 1859 to establish the Star Hotel, almost opposite his old pub in Charles Street, where he died at the age of 45 in 1869. The Star Hotel continues to trade today.

star hotel launceston
Star Hotel, Charles Street Launceston. Picture: Google Streetview.

Following the departure of Sheridan from the Coach and Horses in 1859, the son of Robert Evans, the owner of the pub, took over the license. Despite Henry Evans’ reported hatred of drinking, he received the license of his father’s hotel in November 1859 at the age of 29. Henry’s father Robert, who owned the freehold of the Coach and Horses and adjoining shops, died at the age of 65 in 1869.

The pub and adjoining shops were left to his only son, Henry, who was to become the longest serving publican of the historic watering hole, remaining as host for 26 years from November 1859 until his death in 1886.

Another Attempt to Commit a Burglary. — About half-past 9 o’clock on Sunday night, Mrs Evans, senior, who resides next door to her son, Mr Henry Evans, of the ‘Coach and Horses’, Launceston, was returning by the back way to her own premises, after an evening visit, when going through a passage leading to the yard, she felt the dress of a man, and starting, called out, “Who’s here?” The man rushed through to the yard and escaped before a light could be brought to see who he was. Mr Evans informed the constable on duty, who searched the premises, but nothing had been disturbed. It is probable the thief intended to hide in some of the rooms until the house was closed for the night, and then he could select what property was most portable and valuable, and escape by the back way, as he could either get into Charles, Patterson, Wellington, or Brisbane-street. At present there are several dangerous characters, but too well known to the police, loafing about town, though they have no visible means of livelihood, and they ought to be dealt with under the Vagrant Act. Prevention is better than cure, and when town is made very uncomfortable for these professional criminals they clear out from it in disgust at the encroachments made on the liberty of the British criminal.

– The Tasmanian, Saturday, 16 March, 1872

ROBBERY.—An attempt was made about 11 o’clock on Wednesday nigh to steal the cash box at the Coach and Horses public house, corner of Charles and Patterson-streets. Mrs Evans had retired to rest, and was asleep, when she was awoke by some noise in the bed-room. She asked twice if any one was there, and receiving no answer, she sat up in bed, when she saw a man getting out of the back window. She immediately gave the alarm, and several of the lodgers and others having assembled, chase was given at the back of the premises. No one could be seen, however, the thief or thieves having had time to escape; but the search was not fruitless, as Mr Evans’s cashbox, which had been left in a drawer in the bed-room, was found at the back of the water-closet door. It was then found that the drawer in the bed-room had been opened and the box abstracted. Fortunately the thieves had not had time to interfere with the contents of the box, a large sum of money in notes and gold. No trace of the robbers was obtained.

Cornwall Advertiser, Friday 13 February, 1874.

The Late Mr Henry Evans. — We regret to find that our obituary notices of to-day announce the death of Mr Henry Evans, of the Coach and Horses Inn, Charles and Patterson streets. Although a healthy looking man all his life, Mr Evans has suffered from asthma for the last 20 years. He became worse about three weeks since and congestion of the lungs set in, which resulted in death at a quarter to 10 o’clock last night. Mr Evans was a very quiet, unobtrusive, man, attentive to his own business and leaving that of others alone. He was born in London on the 2nd July, 1830, and was only two years old when he arrived with his father and family in the colony. He was consequently a colonist of 54 years’ standing, and 56 years of age at the time of his decease. His father, the late Mr Robert Evans, erected the block of buildings of which the Coach and Horses Inn forms the corner. The block also includes the bakery occupied by Mr Rankin. Mr Evans was a baker by trade, and kept a boarding-house in the premises now occupied by Mr Henry Button. He afterwards carried on business as a baker next door, until his father retired from business, and he has occupied the Coach and Horses Inn since, for the last 25 years. He leaves Mrs Evans with four daughters, a son, and five grandchildren to regret their loss.

The Launceston Daily Telegraph, Saturday, 31 July, 1886

After Henry Evans death in 1886, local brewer, J Boag and Sons secured a lease of the Coach and Horses from the family. The brewery transformed the old inn, giving it a much-needed upgrade, and putting experienced businessman, John Philip Roles in as licensee. Roles, who was born and bred in Launceston, had previously hosted the Retreat Hotel at Invermay.

The Launceston Daily Telegraph reported on August 8 1891 that “the old historical licensed house, the Coach and Horses, which was built by the late John Griffiths in the 1820s, is about to be transformed into a house more in accordance with modern requirements than it is at present”.

HOTEL IMPROVEMENTS – During the past few months many of our city hostelries have undergone a great change, both as regards external decorations and interna comfort and convenience, but in few has each a transformation taken place as at Role’s Hotel, late the Coach and Horses, at the corner of Patterson and Charles streets. A quarter of a century ago the old Coach and Horses was contemporaneous with two other historic old places, the doors of which looked into one another – the Plough Inn and the Gold Digger’s Return, now Mr G. T. Easther’s coach factory. Practically speaking, Role’s Hotel is now a new house. The old bar and adjoining parlor have been transformed into one long bar, and a private bar has been erected at the end in a fine large apartment once used as a drawing room. The fittings are of the very best, and when lighted up the place looks brilliant. Polished kauri and blackwood are used in the counters, and nickel pillars stand out in relief from the shelving, which is backed with mirrors. Mrs Roles has had a good deal to say in the internal decorations, and the display of her good taste is everywhere manifest, and has called forth much admiration. Mr Ladlaw, the well-known architect, designed the alterations, and the work has been executed by Mr. G. C. Thompson, whose name is sufficient guarantee that it is well and faithfully done.

Launceston Daily Telegraph Wednesday 14 October 1891.

With the transformation completed, the Coach and Horses became known as Roles Hotel, although it seems the sign was never officially changed to the latter. Roles remained at the pub for seven years before relocating to Sydney in 1898, where he would host the Austral Club Hotel at Darlinghurst until his death at the age of 54 in 1904.

With Roles’ departure came horse trainer Charles Fawkner to the bar of the Coach and Horses in December 1897. Fawkner had a short stay, and by June 1898 he was declared bankrupt after he was unable to pay his rent to brewers, J Boags and Sons. He attributed his losses to horse racing and gambling.

John H. Edwards took the license of the Coach and Horses in 1905. Edwards had previously hosted the T.R.C. Hotel, and was a prominent member of the Tasmanian Liquor Victuallers Association, the forerunner of the Tasmanian Hotels Association, occupying the position of president, and treasurer.  It was, however, in musical circles that he became widely known, and the family name was honoured throughout Australia in this respect. For over 50 years he was one of the mainstays of the Launceston City Band. He was conductor of the band for many years, and in his twilight years, he held the position of honorary conductor. His son Chester Edwards was also closely connected to the hotel business.

With the arrival of the Edwards family to the Coach and Horses, came another transformation of the historic premises. The Launceston Examiner reported on Friday October 13 1905:




Mr. H. Evans, proprietor of the block of buildings on the south-west corner of Charles and Patterson streets, in which is the well-established and popular hostelry known since the “good old days” as the Coach and Horses Hotel, determined some time back to make extensions, alterations, and improvements to bring the old house more into line with present day requirements. He was partly induced to undertake the work so that the present licensee, Mr. John Edwards, the bandmaster and conductor of the famous Launceston City Band, might be in a position to cater for the tourist and generally increasing traffic that demanded superior accommodation and better facilities to meet the comfort and convenience of his patrons and the travel ling public. With these objects in view, he let a contract to Messrs. C. Adams and Son, builders, etc., to whom instructions were given for the demolition of the Patterson-street frontage that for years was occupied by the late Mr. Rankin as a baker, and in which successive tenants conducted business and resided in the residential part. Upon that site the contractors were to build the chief extensions to the Coach and Horses, and also a tobacconist’s shop and hairdressing saloon, to be leased by the last tenant of the old building, Mr. Arthur F. Tevelein, who in the new premises carries on the business under greatly improved conditions. The hotel alterations and additions are now almost completed, and already they are in occupation by Mr. Edwards. The front elevation in Patterson-street is a substantial two storey block, built of brick, and cemented. As the coaching days have gone by never to return in the long-settled communities, Mr. Evans rightly considers the old name now inappropriate. At the end of this year it will be discarded for that of the National, which seems a very fitting title for the license of an up-to-date hotel to be conducted under. Yesterday an “Examiner” representative was privileged to inspect the interior of the new part of the premises. On the ground floor there is a spacious dining room 30ft. by 17ft., well lit by two windows facing on Patterson-street. The walls are to be calcimined, and the stamped steel ceiling, prettily decorated, is one of the ornamental features, which is added to by a handsome electrolier of brass, with several branches, for the electric light, and Mr. Edwards has brought his taste to bear in still further embellishing the room with hanging a number of imitations of canary birds from the brackets. These birds are a novelty, as well as a very effective ornament. There is a sliding “server” connecting the dining room with the kitchen at the rear. This apartment is a commodious place, fitted up with all the necessary equipment for the convenience of the experienced cook, who has the advantage not only of plenty of shelving, dressers, etc., but a large, improved range replete with every up-to-date requirement for providing the edibles for the table. There is on this floor also a handy little room where boarders or visitors may engage in tête-à-tête conversation on business matters away from the more public parts of the premises. Up the stairs to the first floor introduces the new-comer to a wide landing place, or hall, sufficiently spacious to permit of a few lounges, on which the frequenters may sit and talk in the hot summer days with the rare comfort of being out of the way of all close atmospheres, and from this retreat branch off the various sleeping apartments in the old part of the hotel as well as the new. In the latter part there are eight bed rooms, airy and light, with thorough ventilation. Then there is a new bath room contiguous to these rooms, well provided with hot and cold water and the most approved shower. This makes two bathrooms on the premises. In all the rooms, both upstairs and down, the greatest attention possible has been paid to a thoroughly effective scheme of ventilation. At the back a fine veranda is being built, and several outhouses for the hotel requirements, while a large, well-gravelled yard forms one of the desirable features that lead one to ruminate on how pleasant it will be to sit under the veranda on a summer’s night and listen to a programme of sweet music by the City Band, when, perhaps, it may think well of holding a reunion under these pleasant conditions. The old dining-room, fronting on Charles street, is to be divided by folding doors, so that it will make two good-sized apartments, or one large one, when necessary, The bar is now also well appointed and excellently adapted to meet the trade of this good old hotel, which should have no difficulty in increasing its popularity during Mr. Edwards’s regime under the name of the National.

John Henry Edwards

The hotel’s name was officially changed to the National Hotel in December 1905. Edwards was to go on to be the second longest serving publican at the pub, chalking-up 21 years as licensee. The Coach and Horses was a “freehouse” during Edwards’ rein, and he sold Richmond beers, from a Melbourne brewery. The hotel was owned by this stage by Kentdale Pty Ltd.

After the death of Edwards’ wife, Alma Elizabeth on September 26 1926, at the age of 67, he decided to leave the National Hotel. He went on to host the King’s Meadows Hotel for a number of years before his death at the age of 85. The Launceston Examiner reported on Thursday 27 August 1942:



Mr. J. H. Edwards

The death occurred in Launceston yesterday of Mr. John Henry Edwards, for 36 years conductor and honorary conductor of the Launceston City Band. He was in his 86th year. Mr. Edwards had a remarkable record of association with the City Band. He started his musical career with the band’s founder, the late Mr. Alexander Wallace, and as one of its first members played the euphonium in it. In 1892 he was appointed bandmaster, occupying the post for 14 years, until in 1906 he was appointed conductor. That position he held for 32 years until 1938, when he became honorary conductor, a position which he still held at the time of his death. His son, Mr. Chester Edwards, has been bandmaster since 1906. Altogether Mr. Edwards recruited for the band nine brothers-in-law, four sons and two grandsons. Besides being a distinguished instrumentalist and conductor, Mr. Edwards possessed a fine tenor voice, and in his earlier years took part in many entertainments. He was a member of the Owls Club, a society which was well known for its entertainments. He also sang tenor solo parts in several of the oratorios produced by the Launceston Musical Union, which then existed, and which was conducted by Mr. Wallace. At various times Mr. Edwards was proprietor of the T.R.C., National and King’s Meadows hotels. Some years ago he held the positions of treasurer, president and chairman of the Licensed Victuallers’ Association. He also had a distinguished sporting career. He was a noted runner in his young days, and was a foundation member of the City Football Club. In which he took a keen interest all his life. Mr. Edwards is survived by his daughter May (Mrs. A. Walmsley, Launceston), and four sons. Messrs. Chester, Jack and Bernard (Launceston) and Alma Edwards (Adelaide). His wife, who was formerly a Miss Chick, died in 1927. The funeral will take place this afternoon from the house of Mr. Chester Edwards, Patrick-street.

Another long term licensee at the National Hotel was also a popular and well-known musician. Andrew Gardener had been a publican in Sydney, Broken Hill and Melbourne before taking over the National in 1934. He had recently become a widower, and he remained at the Launceston pub for 11 years until 1945. Gardener came from the famous musical family, who had been touring Australia since the mid 1870s.

National Hotel Launceston Andrew Gardener
The Gardner Family, showing National Hotel publican, Andrew (circled).

“The celebrated Gardner family … both as individual performers and as an orchestra, have gained the warmest encomiums from the most severe professional critics.” So read the publicity material when John William Gardner and five of his children toured Australia with the Irish vaudeville show ‘The Great Hibernicon & Comedy Company’ during the late 19th century.

John William Gardner, leader of the first group of ‘The Musical Gardeners’, had been an organist and bandmaster in Ireland before he migrated to Australia with his wife and children in 1878. Although he had been granted an assisted passage to South Australia as a labourer, John William continued his career as a musician in his new country. He played the organ, conducted various bands, and was musical director of the Theatre Royal Orchestra in Adelaide. As his children grew older they each learned to play at least two musical instruments, and most toured as soloists or played in theatre orchestras, as well as touring with the family concert group.

The youngest member of the family, Andrew, played the piano, flute and French horn. He was best known as a flautist, and played in the orchestra at Melbourne’s Princess Theatre. Like several of his siblings, he became one of the many Irish hotelkeepers in Australia, and eventually settled in Tasmania, but he continued to return to Melbourne to play in the theatre orchestra.

Andrew’s musical career seemed not to be paying too well, as he was falling behind in his rent and maintenance of the National Hotel in the mid 1940s. The managing director of Kentdale, owner of the National Hotel, inspected the house in October, 1941, and as a result gave Gardener notice to quit. One reason was that he had failed to paint the exterior of the hotel, and also that he had sold kegs of beer to his daughter, who had taken over the Terminus Hotel, to build up the trade of that hotel at the expense of the National.

During a claim for possession of the hotel by Kentdale in 1945, Gardner said he was unable to paint the pub due to a shortage of labour because of the war, and that he had lent his daughter the beer because she was short, but it had to be returned. Gardener was given notice to quit the National Hotel, and he took the license of his daughter’s Terminus Hotel in Launceston in August 1946.

Gardener retired to Balmain in Sydney to live with his daughter, Lesley Harris, and he died there in 1948. With Gardener’s departure from the National, another well-experienced publican took to the taps, staying also for a lengthy period. Arthur W. Grimes was 62 years of age when he gained the license of the National Hotel in 1945.

Grimes first entered the hotel trade in 1910, when, with his wife, he gained the license of the Montague Hotel, Queenstown Tasmania. He held a licence almost continuously since 1910 until his death in 1953 in many parts of Tasmania, including the Salutation at Hobart, Mount Lyell, Wynyard, Dorset, Derby and the Criterion, Bridge and Royal, Launceston. A life member and one time president of the United Licensed Victuallers’ Association (Tasmanian branch), Grimes was held in high esteem in the trade. During his 43 years as a licensee, he claimed to never once to have fallen foul of the licensing laws.

national hotel counter lunches grimes
Arthur Grimes serves up pies and peas to his customers at the National Hotel, Launceston.


Mr. A. W. Grimes, life member of the ULVA and possibly the hotel licensee with the longest continuous record in Tasmania, began serving counter lunch in his Launceston hotel yesterday.

Although a member of the ULVA since its inception and a life member, Mr Grimes is able to serve counter lunch in the National Hotel because his house is not “tied”. It gets its beer supplies from Melbourne. Mr Grimes has been in the hotel business for 52 years and has held a licence continuously since 1911.

Clean Sheet

He still has a clean sheet-he has never been convicted of Licensing Act breaches. The veteran publican has held every office in the ULVA in Tasmania. He was state president for a number of years. He was to the fore in the fight for 21 years to secure a return to 10am to 10pm trading in Tasmanian hotels. Commenting on his decision to provide counter lunches, Mr Grimes said yesterday: “There has been so much controversy about counter lunch that, being a free agent as far as the ULVA is concerned, I decided to give it a go to see if the public does want it.

Not Free

“If the public does not want it I shall take it off.

“Counter lunch will remain on in my hotel for the duration of my lease, provided people are prepared to pay a reasonable price for it. I am not giving it away.”

Mr Grimes is shown serving customers with hot pies, pasties and sauce.

– Launceston Examiner, Thursday 2 October 1952.

national hotel launceston Arthur Grimes last drinks
Arthur Grimes pulling a beer at the National Hotel in 1953.

Less than three months after Grimes retired from the National Hotel in October 1953 to live at The Anchorage, on the West Tamar with his wife, he had died. The Examiner reported on Wednesday 9 December 1953:

THE Tasmanian hotel trade lost one of its best-known members yesterday with the death of Mr. Arthur W. Grimes in the Launceston General Hospital. He died at the age of 70 after a short illness. Until about two months ago he was host at the National Hotel, Launceston, where he spent the last eight years of his 43 years in the trade. He reached the position of host in his first hotel, the Montague Hotel, at Queenstown, two years after his marriage in 1910. He had started at the bottom at the age of 16 as message boy, and in the years that followed had worked his way to the top by diligence and sincerity. After his first hotel he held a licence in the state almost continuously, and his period of 43 years is thought to be a record. He was the president of the United Licensed Victuallers’ Association (Tasmanian branch) and also a life member. He leaves a widow, Mrs Alice V. Grimes, of The Anchorage, West Tamar; three daughters, Beryl (Mrs. L. P. Chaperon, Hobart), Alice (Mrs. A. Cameron, Glengarry), Kitty (Mrs. C. Richards, Launceston) and son, Bob (Launceston).

The National Hotel was closed from 10am to 11.30am on December 9 1953 as a mark of respect to its former licensee, Arthur Grimes. Just seven months later, the National closed for business. The Launceston Examiner reported on Monday June 28 1954:

The last drinks were ‘on house’

There was a crowd in the bar of the National Hotel, Launceston, on Saturday night, for the last round of drinks before the hotel went out of business.

After 119 years continuous service as an hotel, the National is to be converted to the purposes of its owners, W. R. Rolph and Sons Pty. Ltd.

Men and women cheered and sang Auld Lang Syne when the hotel’s last, and probably youngest, licensee, Mr Don Mitchell, gave drinks all round “on the house” just before closing time. During the evening two presentations were made to Mr Mitchell by groups of regular patrons. Before the hotel closed at 10pm old calendars and advertising signs were stripped from the walls as souvenirs.

Most of the historic premises were demolished on Christmas Eve 1954. Interestingly though, a small section of the hotel was not demolished and remains today. For an unknown reason, a two storied section of the National Hotel, at number 62 Charles Street, was not demolished and continues as an awkward retail premise.

national hotel remains today launceston
All that remains of the National Hotel in Charles Street, Launceston. Picture: Google Streetview.

Start on demolition of hotel

DEMOLITION of the old National Hotel at the corner of Charles and Paterson Sts., Launceston, will begin today to make way for extensions to “The Examiner” office. Mr. C. Brient, of Launceston, will carry out the demolition. It is expected that a start will be made at the end of January on the new building, which will be built to carry eventually six storeys.

– Examiner (Launceston) Saturday 13 November 1954.

THE LAST WALLS of the old National Hotel came down yesterday. The site at the corner of Paterson and Charles Sts., Launceston is now being cleared up preparatory to commencement of building of a new office block for “The Examiner.”

– Examiner (Launceston) Friday 24 December 1954.

Coach & Horses/National Hotel, Launceston

Publicans 1834 – 1954

Sept. 6 1834-36: Richard Ruffin

1836 – 37: Thomas Cummings

1837 – 38: Frederick William Lewis

1838 – 49: Joseph Thorn

1849 – 49: Thomas Fogarty

1849 – 52: Thomas Brookery

1852 – 53: Mary Brookery (from deceased husband, Thomas).

1853-59: John Sheridan

1859 – 86: Henry Evans

1886 – 1890: Elizabeth Evans (widow of Henry)

1890 – 1897: John Philip Roles

1897 – 1898: Charles Fawkner

1898: James Boag

1898: Sophia Jane Kenny

1899 – 1900: Robert John Brooks

1900 – 1901: Michael Crawford

1901 – 1902: David Rees

1902 – 1903: Charles C. Cooley

1903 – 1905: Edward F. Field

1905: John Henry Edwards

Name Change: National Hotel

1906 – 27: John Henry Edwards

1927 – 28: David Miller

1928 – 29: David Miller

1929 – 30: George McKay

1930 – 32: Miles William George Guy

1932 – 33: Cliff E Ellis

1933 – 34: John T. Quinn

1934: Albert William Day

1934 – 1945: Andrew Gardener

1945 – 1953: Arthur W. Grimes

1953 – June 26 1954: Donald Mitchell

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4 replies

  1. Hello, Love the postcard with the picture of the old Coach and Horse/National. Members of my family have been to Launceston several times to research the family as Robert Evans is our GGGgrandfather. I believe that the photograph you have labelled as Henry Evans is actually Georgina Tyson who was interviewed for the article in 1954 at the age of 85. I have never seen a picture of Henry Evans though there is a picture of his son Henry Albert Evans, (who was an accountant for James Boags) in the Launceston Family Album.

    • Hi Caroline Hayden, William Evans the brother of Robert Evans is my GGGgrandfather, I would love to get in touch with you re family history if I may?

      • Hello Kerry, Have only just read your comment. Happy to discuss family history if you would like to contact me via facebook Caroline Hayden Melbourne Victoria….Straw hat.

  2. My great grandfather was Andrew Gardner (not Gardener) – licensee from 1934-1945.

    Fabulous to see this article! 🙂

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