Hotels - Mellum Club Hotel Landsborough

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Location: Cribb Street, Landsborough, Queensland, Australiamap
Surnames/tags: O_Reilly Hotels McCallum
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BUILT in 1887,[1] the Landsborough Hotel, formerly the Mellum Club Hotel, was the centrepiece of the community and a sanctuary for weary travellers headed for the goldfields in the north. it traded at the corner of the Gympie and Maleny roads almost 2kms from its current location,

It also welcomed women and children who headed to the Blackall Range and local workers in need of cool refreshments.

In 1914, the proprietor Henry Dyer supervised the hotel being moved from Old Gympie Rd on skids and pulled with winches by bullock teams over a two week period to its present location in Cribb St, where the central business area had developed following the completion of the railway line in 1890.

The extraordinary fact, which is difficult to comprehend, is it was shifted slowly by day and then served thirsty patrons by night.[2]

Isaac Burgess applied for the initial licence for the Sportsmans Arms Hotel in Mellum Creek on 19 March 1880.[3] Following Isaac Burgess as licensee was Herbert Gardner making application on 26 August 1881.[4] John Maughan making application 18 January 1882.[5] Maughan's application was initially refused. Lionel John Fleming making application on 17 October 1882.

In 1884 the Sportsman's Arms Hotel and associated property in Mellum Creek was up for sale.[6] By 1886, the proposed sale came with the added attraction for Alexander McCallum of Mellum Creek being the next terminus for the rail expansion into the north coast region.

In fact in 1885, the Sportsman's Arms Hotel was already associated with Alexander McCallum through its connection to his coach business.

MINISTERIAL TRIP TO THE BLACKALL RANGE. [BY A CORRESPONDENT] January 31. The visit of the Minister for Lands, together with the Inspecting Commissioner, the Surveyor-General, and one of the members of the new Land Board (Mr Sword) has created quite a sensation here and is the topic of conversation whichever way you turn. With one or two exceptions we were quite unprepared to receive them, so we omitted all attempt at formalities and welcomed them in the simple and hearty manner peculiar to bushmen. The Ministerial party reached Mellum Creek, or, properly speaking, Landsborough, about noon on Tuesday, intending to go as far as Mr. Burgess's Pioneer estate on the range the same evening, but rain setting in prevented This intention from being carried out. The next morning looked very unpromising, but with an evident intention to defy the weather, the party set out from McCallum and Co's Hotel about 7 oclock accompanied by Mr. Burgess, who undertook the part of guide, and one or two others. The rain which had fallen the previous evening had been sufficient to cause the roads to be anything but pleasant travelling even on level ground, so the ascent of some of the hills which load to the main spur of the range was somewhat tedious to those not used to it, as the horses hail not a good footing and kept slipping. [7]

Alexander McCallum 1886-1888

Alexander McCallum established what would be called the Mellum Club Hotel in the late 1880's. Originally Alexander purchased the Sportsman's Arms Hotel in Mellum Creek, and would replace it with a new hotel. Alexander's business strategy often involved securing access to hotel's at strategic positions on his coach routes and at times renting them to others to operate. Initial licencees at the Sportsman's Arms Hotel were Jocelyn Johnstone Fletcher, his brother-in-law William Yates (1854-1892) and shortly in 1887 to Mr. Charles Bell. [8]

By September 1886, Alexander had acquired the Sportsman's Arms Hotel through the sale and William Yates applied to have the licence transferred to him from Jocelyn Fletcher. [9]

Mellum Creek.—We understand that Mr. McCallum, of mail-coach notoriety, has purchased from Mr. I. Burgess the property known as the Sportsman's Arms Hotel,. Mellum Creek. Application will be made at the next Licensing Board for the transfer of the license from Mr. J. J. Fletcher to Mr. Yates. the new owner's brother-in-law, who will, in future, conduct the business there. It is Mr. McCallum's intention to shortly build a new and handsome two-storied hotel, plans of which are now being prepared by Mr. Cohen, architect, of Queen-street, Brisbane. Everyone will wish both new owner and lessee good luck in their venture, which if properly conducted, ought to be a certain fortune in the near future.[10]

This was William Yates' second run as a licencee having established the Yatesville Hotel in Woodford which he Woodford for over five years. He retained ownership of this hotel while he worked at the Sportsman's Arms.[11] William only held the licence for about a year and transferred the licence to Mr Charles Bell a Brisbane storkeeper.[12] On handing over, Yates would return to his Yatesville Hotel in Woodford which he had leased out while he was at Mellum Creek. By 1892, William Yates was found to be insane and his wife Annie being assigned the licence for the Yatesville Hotel on that basis. Between the application for transfer and the meeting of the licensing court, William died. Possibly in the asylum at Goodna. The transfer was approved posthumously.

TO THE LICENSING AUTHORITY OF THE LICENSING DISTRICT OF BRISBANE, ACTING UNDER THE LICENSING ACT OF 1885. JOCELYN JOHNSTONE FLETCHER, I being the holder of a Licensed Victualler's license under the said Act for the premises, known as the Sportsman's Arms Hotel, situate at Mellum Creek, Gympie-road, in the said Licensing District, I hereby give notice that it is my intention to apply at the next quarterly meeting of the said licensing Authority to TRANSFER, the said Licence to WILLIAM YATES. And I, the said WILLIAM YATES, hereby give notice that it is my intention to apply that such TRANSFER may be granted to me. I rent the house and premises from Alexander McCallum. I am married, having a wife and four children, and have had a license previously, at Yatesville, Woodford, for a period of over five (5) years. Dated this 20th September, 1886. JOCELYN JOHNSTONE FLETCHER, WILLIAM YATES. [13]

Tenders were advertised in the Moreton Mail, 9 October 1886 for the erection (labour only) of the Hotel at Mellum Creek with the invitation open until 15 October 1886.[14]

THE SPORTSMAN'S ARMS HOTEL.—We had an opportunity during the week of inspecting the plans drawn by Mr. J. J. Cohen architect of Brisbane, for the new hotel shortly to be erected at Mellum Creek by Mr. J. M'Callum. This will be a very superior and handsome building, and one which will be an ornament to the district and a credit, both to the designer and owner. The house will consist of two stories, being, of course, of wood. A portion of it only will be erected at present but the plans are so designed that an extension in unison with the rest of the building can be added at any time. The ground-floor will contain seven large and lofty rooms, including bar, dining, sitting-rooms, and kitchen, &c. ; there is also a large hall and a spacious eight feet wide verandah all round the house. For the water supply, no less than eight 1,000 gallons tanks will be provided, two of which will be on a level with the first floor so as to save unnecessary labour in dragging water up stairs by the servants. The first floor will consist of nine good sized and airy rooms ; one for a sitting-room, the rest are to be bedrooms, with the necessary passages ; here, too, a balcony surrounds the house, corresponding with that on the ground floor. The building will be raised on stumps, three feet above the ground. This is an entirely new house, from end to end, being quite apart from the building now in use, which doubtless will be utilised as a store, laundry, and other necessary offices. The tenders for the work were opened yesterday, and the work is to be commenced as soon as possible, so as to allow of its being opened as soon after the new year as will be convenient. We must congratulate Mr. McCallum on his pluck in starting so fine a country hotel ; an example which it is to be hoped others in the district will follow, for goodness knows, there is plenty of room for improvement. [15]

The Moreton Mail reported on the progress of Mellum Creek on Christmas Day 1886. On their account the principal place of business there was that of William Yates. The hotel had recently been purchased and was "very lively and apparently remunerative under the present able management." A Mr M'Carthy was assisting William Yates and was the local postmaster. A Mr. Simpson runs the General Store and is now erecting the new hotel. What is referred to as Mr. Yates' new two-storied building will be completed early next year. The contractor making rapid progress, the frame for the first floor and a good part of the second being already erected. A sports ground was being cleared at the back of the Hotel for the New Year's Day athletic sports and a fete for the school children.[16]

It was on 8 June 1887, with the new hotel built, that William Yates advertised his intention to transfer the licence of the Sportsman's Arms Hotel to Charles Bell, a storekeeper from Brisbane.[17]

On 17 September 1887, the Moreton Mail reports a meeting held at the Mellum Club Hotel with the intention of forming the a race course at Mellum Creek, three quarters of a mile from the Mellum Club Hotel. Mr M'Callum proposing that a merged Mooloolah and Mellum Creek Racing Club be formed for that purpose,[18]

The following appreciation of the Mellum Club Hotel highlights the influential role Alexander McCallum played in Mellum Creek.

A Trip to Mellum Creek I had had a standing invitation for the last four months from Aleck McCallum, the well-known coach proprietor, of the Mellum Club Hotel, to run up and pay his new house a visit of inspection, at the same time renewing acquaintance with many friends residing thereabouts. So last Saturday I boldly tackled the job, being handed over at the North Pine to the tender mercies of Dave Sinclair, a deservedly great favourite on the road. I am not going to weary my readers with a description of the road, which after leaving Caboolture, or, at any rate, Grigor's, was simply damnable (with the biggest D to be found in your cases, Mr. Printer.) Dave is a bit of a wag in his way, and the box seats as far as Caboolture being full, I was ass enough to be persuaded to get on the top of the coach, as he said, "to view the scenery." Not being a seafaring party, in about three minutes the coach was stopped to let me down again; otherwise, I should have lost all I had eaten for the previous week, had what few front teeth left rattled clean out of my head, to say nothing of being bumped off altogether, at the risk of breaking my blessed neck.
After changing at Caboolture, away we went behind five good horses. It is only fair to say here that the horses are a credit to the contractor, but the vehicle itself— well, I would not insult my fowls by asking them to roost therein. I have not the slightest hesitation in saying that no one, unless compelled, would travel twice in it; I earnestly entreat the contractor to put on one a little more like comfort, as I feel certain his pockets would ultimately be benefited thereby. 'Midday saw us at Grigor's place, underneath these wonderful mountains deservedly called Glass. Here we had dinner, a capital one too, but Mrs. Grigor is too well known for her hospitality to require me to " say a piece " thereanent. Dinner over, away we rattled, bumping and jumping from stump to hole and vice versa, over a road which is a standing disgrace to the Divisional Board, If " Dave " was not a real live driver, the smashes on that road would be continuously appalling. Careful as I was, I am now the happy owner of three well-developed bumps on the back of my head, which would puzzle the wits of a phrenologist some to account for them.
By three o'clock we pulled up at Mellum Creek, opposite the new hotel, having noticed no increase in buildings or farms along the road, except that Mr. J. Simpson is building a new house just at the junction of the Gympie and Coochin roads, where his blacksmithy will also be shortly established-Mellum Creek was en fete, for on the previous night a grand dance had been held in the School of Arts, a sort of return compliment to the Campbellville Athletic Club. This dance was a big success. The hall was charmingly decorated with ferns and mottoes, the providing being undertaken by Mr. M'Callum and handsomely done. About 120 gathered together, first sitting down to a high tea, then they went in for dancing, and they danced with intervals of singing and more eating till long after daylight had appeared. Everybody enjoyed themselves amazingly. The music was good, being played by a Mr. Moncrieff, from Brisbane, on a piano lent by a Blackall pioneer, Mr. I. Burgess. The girls danced well, were well and stylishly dressed (so a lady told me), the young men were not more clumsy than usual. Mind you, I did not see all this myself, but I can quite believe it was all true, for I know a good few of the district belles, and they would stand comparison well with any other place in the colony for good looks, manners and style ; as for dancers they are terrors, having no mercy on unhappy mankind. I know they kept me at it on Saturday evening till I felt fit to drop with fatigue. As said above, this ball was a great success, and I found all hands on my arrival drinking their own very good healths on having had such a splendid time.
The one building at Mellum is the hotel lately erected for Mr. M'Callum by Mr. J. J. Cohen, architect, at the cost of £1500. I had heard this house highly spoken of, but I must honestly own to being fairly surprised after having looked over it. It is not saying too much if I pronounce this hotel as one that would not disgrace the metropolis. Large, lofty, handsomely built, excellently finished and furnished, it is a credit to all concerned, architect, builder, owner, and all. Neither must I forget to call attention to the scrupulous cleanness of every hole and corner of the building. This hotel, known now as M'Callum's Club Hotel, is a two storied building with nine rooms upstairs and five down, exclusive of a large kitchen, with splendid range, scullery, bath-room, &c. A veranda and a balcony surround the house on three sides, both being nine feet wide. The bar is particularly neat in its appearance, with plate glass backing to the Shelves, lined with liquors of every description. There is a grand public dining-room at the back, whilst the furniture throughout is both good and sub-stantial. The water supply is well attended to, as there are eight or nine tanks round the house, so raised that water is laid on to each floor. I only hope the proprietor will reap a rich reward in the future for his plucky attempt to improve the architecture of the district, where the buildings hereto-fore been of the meanest description.
The Present licensee, Mr. C. Bell, seems to be the right man in the right place ; courtoeous to all, he won't stand any nonsense, and he appears to be a general favourite. The Old hotel has been turned into a store whence the whole district thereabouts is supplied with all the necessaries and many of the luxuries of life, obtainable at metropolitan prices. A Mr. Chadwiçk will shortly open & smithy near the hotel with McCallum for his partner, so that with three businesses combined, the latter ought to make things boom.
Pressure on my space prevents me from giving all my impressions, but I must say this, all hands treated me like a prince. I I did not believe before I had so many friends in the district. A trifle rough, perhaps, giving to strong drinks and using strange and barbarous oaths, but very jolly and very hospitable ; why, I received enough invitations to give me free board and lodgings till this time next year if I could only accept them. In the afternoon we paid a visit to the new racecourse, which when cleared and properly laid out, will be as good a course as any in the country.
It is impossible in so hurried a visit to say anything about the district, but there is no doubt that once the railway reaches Mellum, a wonderful spurt will be given to it, and the place will become a thriving and populous town.
Eight a.m. on Sunday morning brought " Dave" on his road back, and his inexorable " all aboard " compelled me most unwillingly to say Good-bye. For myself, I enjoyed the trip amazingly. I should be most ungrateful if I did not here return my heartiest thanks to all who helped to make my visit so pleasant. I can only hope that ere long I may have the pleasure of revisiting the place, and renewing my acquaintance with my many good friends at Mellum. This is not adieu, but only au revoir.[19]

In November 1887, Charles Bell applied to transfer the licence of M'Callum's Mellum Club Hotel to John James M'Corkell another first time licensee, a widower with two children. [20] This was granted on 7 December 1887,

On 3 November 1888, the Mellum Club Hotel was advertised for sale by tender open to 30 November 1888, inclusive of the Hotel, land, Store and butcher's shop and noting that satisfactory reasons have been given for the sale. If the whole lot does not attract a bid, it was advised that it would be sold in separate lots.[21] It was clearly sold by the time of this report on 1 February 1889.

The Mellum Creek store, so long carried on as the firm of M'Callum and Co., has changed hands since the beginning of the year, Mr. M'Callum having retired. The hotel is leased by Mr. John James M'Oorkell, and the store they have, or rather are going to, discontinue, and are selling the whole of the stock at remarkably low prices.[22] At this time John James M'Corkell applied to transfer the license to John Gallagher a farmer from South Brisbane, a first time licensee.[23]

Licensee Peter O'Reilly - 1927-28

Peter O'Reilly (1889-1952) was the manager of the Mellum Club Hotel for a brief period of approximately 6 months largely in the second half of 1927.

For the 1928 Electoral Rolls in Queensland Division of Wide Bay, subdivision of Landsborough, Peter, a hotelkeeper and Maud home duties are listed with the residence of Mellum Club Hotel, Landsborough.

In January 1928, Mr. and Mrs. P. O'Reilly (Landsborough) were noted as recent guests at the Moreton Bay Hotel on the Redcliffe Peninsular, Queensland.[24]

The Brisbane Courier reports on 21 January 1928 reports that Mr. Bishop (Rathdowney) has taken over the Mellum Club Hotel from Mr. P. O'Reilly.[25]

Family Connections

In 1940 Colin McCallum, grand nephew of Alexander McCallum married Peter O'Reilly's daughter Molly. This is one of a number of hotels that at one time were managed by the McCallum family and were subsequently managed by one of the O'Reilly family.


  1. Date corrected consistent with media reports at the time.
  3. Telegraph, Fri 19 Mar 1880, p. 1.
  4. Brisbane Courier, Thu 1 Sep 1881, p. 3.
  5. Brisbane Courier, Thu 19 Jan 1882, p. 3.
  6. Queenslander, Sat 20 Sep 1884, p. 478.
  7. The Brisbane Courier, Fri 6 Feb 1885. p. 5.
  8. Brisbane Courier, Fri 3 May 1889, p. 3.
  9. Moreton Mail, Sat 2 Oct 1886, p. 6,
  10. Moreton Mail, Sat 18 Sep 1886. p. 3.
  11. Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, Tue 13 Apr 1880, p. 2.
  12. Moreton Mail, Sat 18 Jun 1887, p.3.
  13. Moreton Mail, Sat 2 Oct 1886, p. 6,
  14. [ Moreton Mail, Sat 9 Oct 1886, p. 1.
  15. Moreton Mail, Sat 16 Oct 1886. p. 4.
  16. Moreton Mail, Sat 25 Dec 1886, p. 3.
  17. Moreton Mail, Sat 25 Jun 1887, p. 3.
  18. [ Moreton Mail, Sat 17 Sep 1887, p. 5.
  19. Moreton Mail, Sat 1 Oct 1887, p. 5.
  20. Moreton Mail, Sat 19 Nov 1887, p. 5.
  21. Queenslander, Sat 3 Nov 1888, p. 823.
  22. Moreton Mail, Fri 1 Feb 1889, p. 8.
  23. [ Telegraph, Mon 25 Feb 1889, p. 6.
  24. Humpybong Weekly and Advertiser, Thu 26 Jan 1928, p. 2.
  25. Brisbane Courier, Sat 21 Jan 1928, p. 29.

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