Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Not just cricket

This post takes its cue from cricket and is prompted by Australia's poor performance in the test series in Sri Lanka.
corner Rouse and Princes Sts
What does this unprepossessing corner have to do with cricket?  It was the site of the All England Eleven Hotel. The hotel was demolished in 1953 according to this account in The Herald of this week's date:

‘If you stand in Princes St, and look in through the windows of the derelict All England Eleven Hotel, you can see the sky.The hotel has lost its roof and is fast losing everything else, too, as demolition works go on.  Eventually, it will disappear and a block of flats go up in its place.
But memories will linger. ...
One of the port’s ‘old-timers’ Mr G Porrit, who lives a few doors away, remembers when the All England Eleven was the busiest spot in town.
The last licensee, Mrs M Cass – she is now licensee of the Queens Bridge Hotel, South Melbourne, said it was delicensed before the First World War. Later it became a guest house.
For many years its present owners Swallow and Ariell Ltd have used it as a store.
Mystery surrounds its name. But the first official English Test team visited Australia in 1876-7 a year before it was built. Another hotel, in Bay St, was called the All Australian Eleven.' (Herald 23 03 1953)
This corner is more significant for being the first place in Melbourne to be connected to the sewerage system in 1897. The plaque in the footpath on Princes St marks this very important milestone in public health.
cnr Rouse and Princes St, Port Melbourne


  1. Hi! I've been looking for ages for information on the All England Eleven Hotel in Port Melbourne. My Great x 3 Grandfather, George Mather supposedly first began working in the hotel business at this hotel in the early 1860s. He then moved to South Australia around 1864 and continued working as a publican. I'm currently trying to confirm the bits and pieces stated in his obituary including "He had travelled in all parts of the world, but his first experience of the hotel business was gained in 1861 in the All England Eleven Hotel, at Sandridge, near Melbourne." Any help or information would be appreciated. Regards, Jessica.

    1. Thanks for your enquiry Jessica,
      We asked our Secretary and author of Chartered Scoundrels - A brief history of Port Melbourne hotels, Pat Grainger, to look at her research notes for references to George Mather.

      Her conclusion is that if George was at the All England Eleven then he would have been a staff member. The pub opened in 1862 with John Kindlaw Collins as publican until 1866. After that he was publican on and off until 1882. If George moved away in 1864, it may well have been to gain his own license in SA after gaining experience in Port.


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