by Lyn Collingwood, September 2016

The exterior of the freestanding dwelling at 55 Westmoreland Street has been little altered since it ceased functioning as a hotel in 1906. John Mullavey opened the Toxteth Park Hotel in 1873, its licence and the leasehold of the building passing in 1882 to his widow who ran the pub until her own death 15 years later.

John Mullavey (sometimes spelt ‘Mulavey’ or ‘Malavey’) was publican of the University Hotel (now University Hall) at the junction of Parramatta and Glebe Point roads from 1870 to 1872.  He also owned the Honest Irishman and the Gulgong in Waterloo.  Despite police objections that there were already enough pubs in the neighbourhood, Mullavey was granted a publican’s licence for the Westmoreland Street property in an area increasing in housing density.

Mullavey’s property was valued at £665 at the time of his death at the age of 52 on 8 July 1882.  He left a widow Mary and 13-year old son James.  Mary died aged 60 on 19 May 1897, her only child having predeceased her at age 20.  James died at home on 12 May 1889, a day after returning from Albury where he may have been visiting his cousins.  His mother, who placed a newspaper advertisement in an attempt to make contact with the ‘delicate’ young man’s fellow train traveller, expressed her grief in memorial verses: ‘My son is gone, I saw him go/I stood and heard him speak/And when I heard his dying words/I thought my heart would break’.

Like several other Glebe hotelkeepers, John and Mary Mullavey were Irish-born and Roman Catholic.  She was a native of Newry.  John came from Derrycasan, Templeport 55 Westmoreland Street Glebe. Photo: Phil Young parish, County Cavan.  John, James and Mary Mullavey were buried in Petersham cemetery attached to St Thomas’s church, a favoured resting place for Sydney people of Irish descent.

After Mary’s death the Toxteth Park Hotel was put up for auction together with land she owned at Granville.  The Glebe property, with a frontage of 40 feet and a depth of 120 feet, included the slate-roofed ten-room main building with bathroom and kitchen, detached washhouse, three horse stalls and a coach house.  On the Westmoreland Lane border was a four-room cottage (dating from 1874) which had been separately rented out.  Mary’s nephew Thomas O’Shaughnessy lived on the premises in 1898 and George Burton the next year.  John Manning, a long-term resident of the hotel, was its licensee from 1900 until 1905.  Benjamin Long, Mrs Clara Simpson and Robert Clisdell then briefly held licences.  In 1906 plans for alterations and additions were drawn up by architect E S Garton (to whom Australia’s first female architect Florence Taylor had been articled) but in November that year, following the liquidation of the Australian Brewery and Wine and Spirit Company, the property was put up for auction by Hardie and Gorman. Advertised as admirably suited to any business ‘requiring good yard accommodation’, it was sold in May 1907.

The large yard, stables and rear lane access were ideal for horse dealer George Charlton who moved from 112 Glebe Road to the now
unlicensed premises with his wife Winifred and children Harriet Alice, George junior and William Henry, the sons both horse cab drivers.  George senior (who sometimes used the fuller surname Charlton de Saintonge, claiming lineage through Eliza Collingwood, a cousin of the Lord Admiral, who had married the Count De Saintonge) died in 1915 and his wife in 1921, but members of the Charlton family were still in residence at 55 Westmoreland Street at the time of William’s death in 1937. 

55 Westmoreland Street Glebe. (Photo: Phil Young)
55 Westmoreland Street, Glebe (Photo: Phil Young)

Twenty seven years earlier ‘Bill’ had survived a spectacular accident when his horse bolted from a Martin Place cab rank and charged towards Circular Quay, knocking over flower stalls and colliding with a light pole, and dragging its driver over Pitt Street’s wooden road blocks.

Sources: 1891 census; Dictionary of Sydney website; NSW birth, death, marriage registry; NSW cemetery records; NSW electoral rolls; Sands Directories; Sydney Morning Herald various issues including 12.2.1873, 1.3.1873, 29.3.1873, 26.7.1873, 21.10.1873, 8.4.1874, 9.7.1882, 10.8.1882, 14.3.1885, 19.9.1888, 16.5.1889, 15.11.1889, 16.10.1897, 21.5.1903, 14.5.1907, 19.5.1910, 15.5.1915, 11.12.1937