The following information has been collated by Thelma Buchanan display coordinator of the Yackandandah & District Historical Society.
There were many hotels, inns, wine bars and sly grog shops in and around Yackandandah and district during the gold rush era. Some of these hotels still remain today. Areas such as Rowdy Flat, Osborne's Flat, Allan's Flat, Staghorn Flat, Kirby's Flat, Twist Creek, The Junction, The Gap, all these and more had to sustain the thirst of miners and men of the time. Not only did they sustain the thirst of patrons, but also supplied services such as booking agencies for coaches, accommodation, specialist treatments for dental services, and optometry. Following are a few stories and anecdotes of the Hotels and their owners and licensees of the time.
The Star Hotel, High Street, Yackandandah 1863 - Present Day
The allotment on which the Star Hotel stands was purchased by Isaac Kirby on 7 May 1857. In November 1860 he sold the western half to James Grant who, in turn, sold to John Haig in February 1864. Haig built his General store and Bakery here. Meanwhile Kirby sold the eastern half of the land, in February 1863 to Frances Caldwell. Her husband, James Caldwell, a carpenter by trade, opened the Star Hotel on 20 December 1863. The Star Hotel has seen many owners and landlords since. This includes such names as Frederick Allen, Christie Gill, Thomas Jordan, John Denny and Peter McDermott in the 19th century, John Shepherd Mackay, Sydney Britton, Keith & Gwen Armstrong in the 20th century, with Greg and Fiona Lawrence ushering in the 21st century at the Star. The Star Hotel was a little narrow fronted place with a long narrow passage running down one side. It opened at 6.30pm and closed at 11.30 pm. It was pretty rough in the early days and was often run by people who knew very little of public house keeping. There have been renovations over its 150-year history. One of the most extensive was in 1907 by Henry and Louisa Hill, who owned the Hotel for almost 40 years but encouraged others to apply for the licences and on occasions became the licensees as well.