Historical Highlights at Craigs Royal Hotel

 

1853
Thomas Bath opens The Ballarat Hotel in June 1853
1854
Hotel became known as “Bath's Hotel”
1855
Eureka Stockade Royal Commission of enquiry into the conflict was held at the hotel
1856
Hotel became temporary Council Chamber for Ballarat municipality while new Council offices were built.
1857
Gas main laid in Lydiard street to supply gas to the hotel. The original gas supply was made from Eucalyptus leaves by a Mr Curtis
1857
Walter Craig purchases Bath's Hotel
1865
American ship the C.S.S. Shenandoah (described as The Confederate Cruiser) visits Melbourne between 25th January and 18th February 1865. The Shenandoah's mission was to enlist recruits for the Confederate Navy and one of those activities was a Shenandoah Ball, held in the main dining room of Craig's hotel.
1867
Queen Victoria's second son Prince Alfred “The Duke of Edinburgh” visits Ballarat and is hosted at Craig's Prince's room specially prepared for the Prince
1867
Noted Australian Poet and horseman Adam Lindsay Gordon enters into arrangement with Craig to conduct the stables at Craig's hotel. Gordon refers to “Craig's pony” in his poem “The Bankers Dream”. Craig's stables had a capacity for 40 horses with 12 looseboxes.
1870
Craig dreams of Nimblefoot winning Melbourne Cup and of his own death
1870
Craig's death in August 1870 and his horse Nimblefoot wins the 1870 Melbourne Cup
1871
Craig's widow died
1873
Hotel sold to George Hawthorn and later to J J Goller
1875
Hotel purchased by J H B Speering and within 2 years sold to Fred Wilkins
1875
The Melbourne Racing Club (formerly The Victorian Amateur Turf Club) was formed by a group of prominent local squatters at a meeting convened at Craig's on 13th October 1875.
1877
New owner George Thompson
1881
Prince Albert Victor and his younger brother George visited Craig's and the goldfields.
1883
William Bentley purchases hotel.
1889
The western portion of the hotel in Bath Lane was added for kitchen and servants quarters.
1890
Work began on the corner of Bath Lane & Lydiard Street to replace Bath's 2 storey hotel of 1853 with the corner tower section which was in harmony with Walter Craig's south wing. It took 8 months to complete at a cost to the hotelkeeper William Bentley of £10,000.
1895
Mark Twain visited Ballarat on a world speaking tour and stayed at Craig's. October 21 & 22 - Mechanics' Institute, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia. A number of humorous stories are recorded by Sir Daryl Lindsay in describing the meeting between his father and the famous American author.
1901
The hotel underwent extensive alterations and every room was redecorated in the latest ornate fashion. Fibre plaster ceiling installed in the Prince's room.
1903
E L Bentley sold hotel to Stephen Seward
1907
Hotel put up for auction (rented at 1,200 pounds per annum)
1908
Dame Nellie Melba noted Australian opera singer performs from Craig's balcony of the Reading Room
1926
Craig's became sewered.
2010 The "New" Craig's is completely restored and fully re-opened with 41 rooms, 5 banquet & meeting rooms, historic bar, coffeeshop & larder & courtyard atrium Gallery Bistro.


Other famous guests

  • Lord Kitchener stays at Craig's Feb 3rd 1910
  • Duke & Duchess of York, (later to become King George V and Queen Mary)
  • Duke of Clarence
  • Duke of Windsor
  • Duke & Duchess of Gloucester
  • Sir Robert Menzies
  • Sir Donald Bradman