Control Data Australia Memories compiled by Brian Membrey

Carringbush Hotel

228 Langridge Street, Abbotsford


North_western corner of Langridge and Raphael Streets, Abbotsford


Most of us have been there, so there's little to add.  Again, based on The Spark Diaries, we first met there in 2006 and have now had five reunions at the Carringbush, which pretty much equates to my forgettory.


Like the Geebung Polo Club, the Carringbush owes its current name to a literary source, although controversy still rages as the accuracy of the original.

"Carringbush" was the name used for Collingwood by Frank Hardy in a highly controversial 1950 novel "Power Without Glory" which was a thinly-disguised version of the life of Melbourne businessman and Australian Labor Party power-broker, John Wren ("John West" in the novel).

Maybe there was something about the Collingwood name, but Carringbush has become a favoured alternative, even to the point of the City of Yarra which includes Collingwood and Abbotsford having a Carringbush Library.

Our current re-union venue was originally The  Langridge Family Hotel which dated back to around 1870 under the stewardship of John Grant who maintained the original hotel under this name until 1889.

The original building was demolished and rebuilt to the design of architect James Wood in 1889, the new licensee William Nicholls. One report puts Nicholls as being a member of six Friendly Societies, thus the new name of to the Friendly Societies Hotels. Nicholls remained publican for ten years, at the same time an active member and vice-president of the Licensed Victualler's Association.

The new structure had a shop on the Langridge Street side (probably the small dining room where our memorabilia is displayed, in most years shown as a fruiterers) and featured a room 40 by 60 feet for lodge and society meetings, believed to be the room used for our reunions .

("Friendly Societies" or "lodges" were communal organizations collecting subscriptions and offering welfare services to their members, long before this became an accepted role of Governments.   One estimate from the mid-1880s suggests there were over 300 such societies across Melbourne serving something in excess of 70,000 members and many hotels had "lodge rooms" set aside for meetings).

"We paid a visit to the Friendly Societies Hotel... and found that brother Nicholls has done his best to provide accommodation for lodges. It is a splendid building from floor to roof. Electric bells and speaking tubes are fitted in the lodge-room, and raised platforms have been erected for the officers. We hope soon to hear that some of our lodges have moved to these commodious premises... a smoke night will be held this evening".    

 ( The Oddfellow, 2 December 1889, p.11)

"Carringbush" perhaps owes its name more to the ABC television adaptation of Hardy's novel - in line with its screening, the Friendly Societies Hotel adopted the name around 1984, although it was several more years before it was modernized to today's standard.