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Closed Hotels in South Australia: Green Dragon Hotel

Closed Hotels in South Australia: Green Dragon Hotel


Green Dragon Hotel circa 1940 – SLSA: B 9458

The Green Dragon Hotel opened in 1858 on the corner of South Terrace and Pulteney Streets. It was built for Mr John Mitten and contained eight rooms, stockyard and stables. Mitten, originally from Hereford England, passed away in the hotel in 1859 after a short illness. The hotel was left to his niece Mary Cant.

The hotel has many additions made over the years. The most substantial being extensions in 1891 and 1898. A balcony was added in 1924.
Green Dragon Hotel 1939 – SLSA: B 8595 
In 1939, new owner, Mr Lewis undertook restorations and improvements of the old hotel. Lewis installed a large lounge, a new kitchen and servery, and new laundry and toilet facilities. Lewis also installed new sand-blasted dragon-motif glasswork throughout the hotel. A new bar was installed that ran the entire length of Hanson Street; this was achieved by removing the former kitchen.

 In 1912, an argument broke out in court between the Green Dragon Hotel publican, David Sharp’s lawyer, Mr Smith and police Constables Fellows and England.
 It was revealed in court that on Sunday December 17 1912, the two police constables dressed in civilians clothes, had gone to a few hotels in Adelaide, and knocked on the door asking for drinks. Sharp’s had been the only hotel they had visited that allowed them in. It was illegal in Adelaide at the time to sell alcohol on a Sunday.
 In court, Mr Smith called the police out for entrapment, arguing they lied and misrepresented themselves. Police Inspector Birchall, who was present at the proceedings objected that the two men were carrying out their duties. The argument continued for some time, with Mr Smith insinuating that the police were setting up Mr Sharp and other publicans due to racism and entrapment.
 Whatever Mr Smith was trying to achieve by outrightly accusing and abusing the police in an open court, backfired. Mr Sharp was eventually fined 5 pounds and sentenced to a month in Adelaide Gaol.

Green Dragon Hotel circa the late 1970s
In 1942, a fight broke out in the hotel, which ended in court. A labourer from Frewville, Joseph McDade assaulted publican, Michael Noonan. McDade was fined a total of £8 12s 6d (approx. $630 today) for the assault and for wilful damage of a glass door.

  The Green Dragon Hotel was one of many hotels in Adelaide the murderous paedophile group, ‘The Family’,  would frequent to find young men for sex, and to also carry out their brutal and heinous attacks.

Frostbites – 1999

 The hotel was often frequented by celebrities, including State Premier Donald Dunstan with many coming to see acclaimed singer, Sybil Graham. The hotel ceased operating as The Green Dragon in 1998, reopening as Frostbites. Frostbites lasted until 2001.

 The building is currently a Fasta Pasta.
Researched and written by Allen Tiller ©2019
‘Additions to Historic Hotel’, The Mail, (11 November 1939), p. 16.
Adelaidepedia, Green Dragon Hotel, National Trust of South Australia and Adelaide City Council, (2019),
Decimal Inflation Calculator, Reserve Bank of Australia,
‘FINES FOR CLASH AT HOTEL’, News, (5 February 1942), p. 3. 
Hoad, J.L., Hotels and publicans in South Australia 1836-1984, (Adelaide, 1986), p. 264.
Hunt, Nigel, Shadowy clique preyed on the young,Sunday Mail, (1 April 2008),
Lustri, Susan, ‘Yelland, Keith Mills’, Architecture Museum, University of South Australia, 2013, Architects of South Australia: [].
‘OLD BUILDING’, News, (15 June 1931), p. 7.
‘POLICEMAN AMD PUBLICAN’, The Express and Telegraph, (5 January 1912), p. 2.

Suicide by Gelignite – Wallaroo 1906

Suicide by Gelignite – Wallaroo

 In 1906 an inquest was held by James Malcolm into the suicide of William Frederick White, a quarryman in the local flux quarry.
 Mr White, aged 52, was widowed with five children. His wife, Elizabeth, had died on August 1905.
  It was said his children feared him as he was often drunk and abusive since the death of his wife. Often, he threatened to kill himself.
His children often refused to sleep at the house. The previous evening to the suicide, White had found himself home alone which made him morose. On the Saturday morning of the incident, White’s eldest son, 16-year-old William Jnr. returned home to fetch a box for his sister who had spent the previous night in Moonta.
 William Jnr spoke to his father, who was sober. White Snr. asked where the children were, which William told him that had stayed at friends’ houses. William didn’t think anything suspicious in his father’s behaviour, took the box for his sisters and left.
 William wasn’t fifty meters down the road when he heard an explosion. He ran back to the house and found his father on a sofa at the back of the house, his hand and his head had been blown off.
 Police removed the body, and during their investigation found sticks of gelignite, fuses and caps in the house.
Evidence during the inquest was given by W.F. White Junior and W.A. Webber, son in law of William White Snr.
 The jury, at the end of the inquest declared that: “ William Frederick White came to his death by an act of his own hands while in a melancholy state of mind.”
 Members of the jury then donated the fees paid for jury duty to the children of the deceased who were now orphaned.
Suicide by gelignite was not confined to Wallaroo, South Australia. Cases of this horrific way to die can also be found on Trove in Broken Hill NSW(1917), Castle Hill NSW(1954),  Cairns QLD (1929), Melbourne Vic (1926), Perth WA (1906), Claremont WA (1930) and even across the pond in New Zealand (1922), just to name a few.

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2019.


‘SUICIDE BY GELIGNITE.’, The Register, (19 February 1906), p. 5.

‘WALLAROO.’, The Express and Telegraph, (21 February 1906), p. 2

‘WALLAROO.’, Chronicle, (24 February 1906), p. 16.

‘SUICIDE BY GELIGNITE.’, Observer, (24 February 1906), p. 13.

The Angaston Hotel

The Angaston Hotel


Angaston Hotel 1940 SLSA PRG 1356/4/52

  George Simpson was the first licensee of the Angaston Hotel in 1846.[1]The original hotel consisted of 11 stone rooms, a large well, a large cellar and stables. It also contained a large garden where food was grown to be served in the hotel.
 Simpson advertised his hotel in The South Au
stralian (newspaper) on Christmas Day 1846 as:


 GEORGE SIMPSON respectfully informs the public and inhabitants of the above town, and gentlemen visiting the Poonawurta and Angas Mines (which are in the immediate neighbourhood) and the River Murray, that he has opened a house of accommodation, called the “Angaston Hotel” where he intends to keep a constant supply of the best wines, spirits, and other liquor, and solicits that support which it will be his study to merit.”[2]

 In 1847, the Angaston Hotels publican changed from Simpson to William Hughes.[3] In 1848 the license transferred to Nicholas Player who also owned the hotel.[4] Friedrich Otto Windschied was the next publican, from 1855 until 1859.[5]

 Nicholas Player returned as the publican during 1859 and early 1860, before leasing the hotel to George Fuller until 1861, then James Nolan from 1862 until 1863. From 1863 until 1865 the hotel publican was Richard Milson, followed by AR Preston in 1870, and CF Beaumont from 1870-71.

  In 1871 the Angaston Inn changed ownership when Mr Beaumont sold the hotel to Mr Buckerfield of Kapunda.  The hotel then went through various publicans including James Klotz 1879-1884, George Lawrence 1884-1886 and Arthur Worby 1886-87.

  The hotel was then bought by Frederick Leach in 1887, as owner publican he ran the hotel until 1901.
 He then leased the hotel to Albrecht Borchers until 1904, followed by Thomas Davies from 1904-07 and Edward Cummins from 1907 until 1910.
 In 1910, Leach sold the hotel to William Mitchell who leased the hotel to its first female publican, Janet Bleechmore. Mitchell is credited for building the upper level of the hotel in 1914, which is also the same year the hotel licensee, Albert Lambert was taken to insolvency court by creditors.[6]

 Mitchell later sold the hotel to William Birdseye who owned it from 1917 until 1951. In 1950, Birdseye, now 80 years old, planned to buy more land behind the hotel to extend the accommodation wing.[7]
In 1951 the hotel was put up for sale after the death of Birdseye.  A move was made for the Angaston Hotel to bought by the local community, but the executors of the sale of the hotel could not reach an agreement with the community purchasing committee.[8] In late 1952, Mr and Mrs Nicholls, former owners of the Truro Hotel took over the Angaston Hotel.[9]

 This area was originally occupied by the indigenous Peramangk peoples. In December 1838, Colonel Light and his party are recorded as the first Europeans entering the area. In 1939, South Australian Company Geologist, Johannes Menge wrote to George Fife Angas in England of the suitability of the area for vineyards. Angaston was originally known as Angas Town in the region of German Pass, often people cite German Pass as being the original name, but there is evidence in newspapers from 1843 that this was not the case.[10]

 The rear yard of the Angaston Hotel also contains walls that were once part of the Angaston townships original council pound for stray animals.

 The Angaston Hotel is allegedly haunted by a spirit that likes to torment kitchen staff. It has been known to upend tables, push objects off benches, slam cupboard and kitchen doors, and rattle metallic objects!
 It is not known who the mischievous spirit might be. The hotel was often used for inquests on dead bodies, but there are few records of deaths or suicides in the building.

Research and written by Allen Tiller © 2019


‘Advertising’, South Australian, (25 December 1846), p. 3.


‘ANNUAL MEETING OF MAGISTRATES. Monday, March 13.’, South Australian, (14 March 1848), p. 2.

‘COUNTRY NEWS.’, The Express and Telegraph, (17 February 1871), p. 2.[11]

‘COURT CASES.’, The Advertiser, (2 September 1914), p. 14.

‘MITCHELL’S ANGASTON HOTEL.’, Saturday Mail, (10 June 1916), p. 2

‘NEW GENERAL LICENSES.’, South Australian, (15 December 1846), p. 6.

‘QUARTERLY MEETING OF MAGISTRATES.’, South Australian, (14 September 1847), p. 3.

‘THE AMATEUR CONCERT.’, South Australian Register, (8 November 1843), p. 2.

‘Truro Farewell to Mr and Mrs F. Nicholls’, Leader, (9 October 1952), p. 1.

[1] ‘NEW GENERAL LICENSES.’, South Australian, (15 December 1846), p. 6.
[2] ‘Advertising’, South Australian, (25 December 1846), p. 3.
[3] ‘QUARTERLY MEETING OF MAGISTRATES.’, South Australian, (14 September 1847), p. 3.
[4] ‘ANNUAL MEETING OF MAGISTRATES. Monday, March 13.’, South Australian, (14 March 1848), p. 2.
[5] ‘ANGASTON.’, South Australian Register, (14 March 1856), p. 3.
[6] ‘COURT CASES.’, The Advertiser, (2 September 1914), p. 14.
[7] ‘PERSONAL’, Leader, (6 April 1950), p. 3.
[9] ‘Truro Farewell to Mr and Mrs F. Nicholls’, Leader, (9 October 1952), p. 1.
[10] ‘THE AMATEUR CONCERT.’, South Australian Register, (8 November 1843), p. 2.
[11] ‘COUNTRY NEWS.’, The Express and Telegraph, (17 February 1871), p. 2.

Closed Hotels of South Australia: The College Arms Hotel. (Cnr. Currie & Rosina Streets.)

Closed Hotels of South Australia: The College Arms Hotel. (Cnr. Currie & Rosina Streets.)

Situated on the corner of Currie Street and Rosina Street, the Coronation Hotel was established in 1846 as the Golden Fleece Inn. From 1871 until 1937, the hotel was known as The Crown Inn, from 1937 until 1979 it was known as The Coronation Hotel. From 1979 until 1984 it was known as Hotel California, and from 1984 until 1987 it was known as Armstrong’s Tavern. Its last incarnation was as The College Arms Hotel when it was run in conjunction with the TAFE-SA.

  The hotel was opened by Andrew Harriot in 1846, who leased the hotel in 1848 to Donald Stewart. Stewart didn’t see out the year before he sold hotel lease to William Gardener. Gardener on-sold to Francis Bunn in 1850 who kept the hotel until 1854. The next lessee was James Robinson who in 1855 sold the lease back to Andrew Harriot.

  The hotel was sold to Goodman Hart in 1860 who operated it until 1862. The next two lessees were female, Margaret Dymond: 1860-1862, and Mary Ann Richards from 1862 until 1866. Three more Lessee’s took the hotel (Charles Mallen: 1866-1867, Robert Poole: 1867-1868 and Joseph Backhouse: 1868-1869) before Goodman Hart retook his lease from 1869 until 1871.
From 1871 until 1937 the hotel had another 34 publicans – you can find a list of all publicans here:

The Crown Inn – 1918. SLSA B84 

  The hotel changed its name in 1937 under the ownership of Elise Maude McKeown to The Coronation Hotel. In the next few years, the hotel was constantly in the news for all the wrong reasons. Publicans were caught selling alcohol illegally after hours, and bar staff and patrons were caught betting illegally by the undercover Police Gaming Squad.

  The Coronation Hotel was also at the centre of a legal case in 1939 when under the ownership of Daniel Kenny. Kenny had challenged in court the legality of Ballroom dancing to be held in South Australian hotels. The law at the time stated that for dancing to occur in a hotel, the licensee had to have written permission from two Justices of the Peace, one of whom must be the Commissioner, a superintendent, inspector or sub-inspector of the South Australian Police.
Kenny lost the case when Justice Muirhead found it illegal. During an appeal the following year, it was revealed that other hotels in the vicinity were allowed to hold dancing. Lawyer for Kenny, Mr Travers equated the allowing of one hotel, over another to hold dances as an act of: “one law for the rich and another for the poor”.
 Due to the stresses of the court case and the constant harassment of police, Kenny sold his lease to Joseph Kilgariff in 1940.

The Coronation Hotel – circa 1966. SLSA: B16356 

 In 1979, the hotel rebranded as the Hotel California, a discotheque featuring a raised DJ box above the dance floor. From 1984 until 1987 it was known as Armstrong’s Tavern which was considered a safe hotel for the local gay community. From 1987 it was known as The College Arms Hotel and was used to train TAFE students. The hotel was demolished to make way for an update to the Adelaide TAFE-SA campus.

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2019


‘Obtained Liquor After Hours’, The Advertiser, (3 February 1939), p. 30.
‘ADELAIDE POLICE’, The Advertiser, (16 January 1940), p. 6
‘’Put-and-Take Players Fined 5/’, The News, (30 November 1942), p.5.
‘ADELAIDE POLICE’, The Advertiser, (2 July 1946), p. 5.
‘BARMAN TO PAY £42’, News, (7 June 1950), p. 2.
‘Four Men Fined For Liquor Offences’, News, (2 February 1939), p. 16.
‘MAGISTRATE RULES HOTEL DANCING IS ILLEGAL’, News, (28 November 1939), p. 7.
‘DANCING IN HOTEL’, News, (15 January 1940), p. 8.
‘ADELAIDE POLICE’, The Advertiser, (16 January 1940), p. 6.

The Death of Samuel Robinson.

The Death of Samuel Robinson.


Salisbury Railway Station circa 1890

 For many years, Samuel Robinson and his wife, Emily (nee Challender) lived with their children on a property “about half a mile from the railway station on the banks of the River Para.”[1]  They lived in a small cottage, they had named “Pemberton”.

Samuel worked as a Bailiff in the local Salisbury courthouse[2]. Once he retired, the couple lived happily in their cottage. In 1891, Samuel was due a large sum of money from an investment of which he would have to travel into the Adelaide to receive, but only after signing a document witnessed by his attorney.
 The day before Samuel was due to collect his money, he was seen tending to his garden, happily waving to passers-by. That evening, another old man was seen to be visiting the couple in their home.

 The next morning, the visiting man was seen waving off Emily Robinson at the train station. Samuel was not seen present to see her off, which made some locals suspicious.

 Emily travelled to Adelaide and visited Mr. Varco, Samuel’s attorney, and signed for his money. She informed Varco, that Samuel was dead. She then went to the funeral home and arranged his funeral and the removal of his body. She also visited a doctor to try and persuade him to give her a death certificate without the doctor seeing the body. He refused, so Emily visited a local JP to get burial approval.
 The Salisbury police were phoned about the situation. They went to Pemberton Cottage, spoke to Mrs Robinson, then removed Samuel’s body to be taken to the funeral parlour.

 Six weeks later, Emily Robinson married her mysterious caller who had seen her off at the train station on the morning Samuel died. His name was Mr Thomas Smith, a neighbour to the Robinson’s.
The marriage caused outrage in Salisbury. 30 people signed a petition to get the police to hold an inquiry into Samuel’s death, but the police and local magistrates refused to investigate.
An unruly mob of angry locals formed in the town and descended upon Pemberton Cottage and the newly married Smiths, both in their 80s. They smashed the front door off its hinges, they cut holes through the roof and pelted stones through. The mob pelted the front of the house with rotten eggs and the whole neighbourhood descended into pandemonium, with neighbours hollering and hooting and banging on kerosene drums.

 The local police trooper wasn’t present in the town, so the duties of law and order fell onto one brave local J.P. who tried in vain to settle the unruly mob. When the local trooper returned at 11pm that night the mob dispersed.

 Every evening, people would walk past the house and scream “murderer” in its general direction.
 One night, the screams of “murder” came from inside the house. Three men burst through a locked door and threw a meat cleaver at Emily Smith (the former Mrs Robinson), badly cutting her toes. They also beat her savagely with a crowbar. Mrs Smith put in a complaint to the police, but the men were never caught.

 The following day Mrs Smith released a statement, in which said that Samuel had died from convulsions at the age of 86. He died in the same way as his father and numerous brothers and had prepared for his own death. He had left instructions for her to attend the office Mr Varco in Adelaide, his attorney who would have further instruction for her. [3]She had received those instructions and followed them. She had paid for his funeral, which had been prepared prior to his death, and she had paid for his headstone. The rest of the money that was received in the city, was to be donated to the local Catholic church.

 She stated that Mr Robinson knew of her relationship with Mr Smith, and had given them his blessing that should he die, they should marry to take care of each other.
A police order was issued in Salisbury, that all abuse toward the Smiths should stop immediately or the full extent of the law would be felt to those who disobeyed. The Attorney Generals Office also spoke on the matter, stating that no inquiry into Mr Robinsons Death would be needed. Statements had been collected on the day of his death, and a full medical examination by Dr Nesbitt, showing he had died in the morning, not the evening prior, had been submitted at the time.
 The Police and the Attorney Generals Office did not see anything suspicious in Emily Robinson or Thomas Smiths behaviour and the case was never investigated.

As an interesting postscript, Mr Varco advertised in local newspapers the sale of Samuel Robinson’s goods only a week after his death. One must wonder if Mr and Mrs Smith received the profits from that sale as well!
Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2019

1891 ‘STRANGE CIRCUMSTANCES AT SALISBURY.’, Adelaide Observer (SA: 1843 – 1904), 5 December, p. 33. , viewed 15 Apr 2019,

1891 ‘Scandal at Salisbury.’, Evening Journal (Adelaide, SA: 1869 – 1912), 1 December, p. 2. (SECOND EDITION), viewed 15 Apr 2019,

1891 ‘Family Notices’, South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA: 1839 – 1900), 1 October, p. 4. , viewed 15 Apr 2019,

1881 ‘CATHOLIC PICNIC AT SALISBURY.’, South Australian Weekly Chronicle (Adelaide, SA: 1881 – 1889), 31 December, p. 11. , viewed 15 Apr 2019,

1857 ‘APPOINTMENTS.’, Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 – 1904), 19 December, p. 5. , viewed 15 Apr 2019,

1891 ‘THE MAIN ROADS BILL.’, South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA: 1839 – 1900), 2 December, p. 5. , viewed 15 Apr 2019,

1891 ‘Advertising’, Bunyip (Gawler, SA: 1863 – 1954), 6 November, p. 3. , viewed 15 Apr 2019,

[1] 1881 ‘CATHOLIC PICNIC AT SALISBURY.’, South Australian Weekly Chronicle, 31 December, p. 11., viewed 15 Apr 2019,
[2] 1857 ‘APPOINTMENTS.’, Adelaide Observer, 19 December, p. 5., viewed 15 Apr 2019,
[3] 1891 ‘THE MAIN ROADS BILL.’, South Australian Register, 2 December, p. 5. , viewed 15 Apr 2019,