Control Data Australia Memories compiled by Brian Membrey

Royal Hotel

67 Bendigo Street, East Prahran


Location :

South-western corner of Bendigo and Princess Streets.  Note that since our time, the latter has had a sex change and is now Prince's Close; I’m told on good authority the operation is called an adda-dichtomy!

Memories :

As vague as.  John O'Neil raised faint memories of a pub to the east of Chapel Street amongst a number of high-rise public housing estates at the July, 2014 lunch- I recalled something there, but like John, more because of the area (although John added that he thought the main draw card was the beer garden).

History :

The history is a little bit tangled - it commenced operation as the Emu Hotel, but (like Bendigo Street and much of this section of East Prahran), it doesn't show in directories until 1868, the licensee then William Edward Stone.

This, however, is somewhat misleading as the hotel appears to have been trading for a considerable time prior to that, seeking the supply of a bagatelle in January, 1860, mentioned in the suicide of a tenant the following year, and in a number of advertisements for staff prior to 1868.

Confusing this further are notes in the works of Robert J Coles, a noted historian of hotels, which place the first licensee of the Princess Royal hotel as James Merritt in 1854 - but reports on licensing meetings in 1855 and 1856 have Merritt at the Royal Albert, known to have been in Chapel Street.

Like many, the hotel underwent a couple of name changes..

In 1874 and its last days as the Emu, there were letters to newspapers when the Prahran Licensing Court refused to grant a transfer to a Mrs Emma Crocock whose late husband was the licensee before his death, on the grounds that she was a single woman and deemed not capable of running a hotel, yet in the cases immediately preceding and succeeding her hearing, licenses had been granted to single women.

(Single women had to be over the age of 25 years unless immediately family of the owner - running a hotel was one of the few working options for women and estimates suggest about 40% of Melbourne's suburban hotels were licensed to women).

It appears to have then become known as the Princess Royal, the name under which it appears in Coles' works.  

A later image showing the apartment blocks under construction in Bendigo Street