History of Warooka Hotel
The Original Warooka Hotel
James McCabe, mason of Warooka, purchased lots 1, 13 and 14 in the newly subdivided township of Warooka in March 1877, after having filed plans to build a hotel on allotments 1 and 13 in December the previous year. The foundations of the hotel were laid by May 1877 and the hotel was completed and the licence granted to James McCabe on the 8th December 1877.
A year later, in December 1878 (but not registered until December 1879), McCabe sold a lease for the hotel to Thomas Broad, builder of Adelaide, at a rental of £4 a week, for a seven year period. In February 1878, Broad had applied to erect a hotel in Government Gums (Farina), in June of the same year the SA Licensing Commission gave Broad nine months to build the hotel. By August Broad had placed an advertisement in The SA Register that his wife had left him without just cause. On September 9th, 1879 Annie Bridget, Broad's wife died at Warooka, whether they were reunited before Broad took up the lease of the hotel is unknown.
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In February 1880, James McCabe sold the freehold of the Hotel to William Henry Beaglehole, local MP, James Johnston and James McDonald Gasguoine, brewers, of North Adelaide, for the sum of £500.
Broad advertised his lease for sale in October 1880 and one month later, David Ramsay, took over the lease for £688/10/8, including £150 for good will. On the 25th November 1880 The Register newspaper, recorded the event “Host Broad has sold his Hotel and is leaving the district. Hast Ramsay took possession last week and appears to be the right man in the right place.”
On 16th March 1883, David Ramsay, bought Section 19, Hundred of Para Wurlie and Pt Section 200, Hundred of Moorowie (which included part of the new township of Warooka) he subsequently sold Pt Section 200 to James Day, Edithburgh, gentleman, just a week later on 24th March 1883. In November, the same year, George Davall, who at the time was a barman from Yorketown and had won £1000 in a Melbourne Cup sweepstake the previous year, purchased the lease of the Warooka Hotel from David Ramsay for £100.
After selling the lease to Davall, David Ramsay removed to Adelaide as licensee of the John Bull Hotel, Currie Street. After his wife, Isabella, died in November 1885, Ramsay returned to Warooka, remarried and continued to operate the hotel until 1915, After his retirement his son, Jim, continued to run the hotel until 1924. The Warooka Hotel had been operated by the Ramsay family continuously for 44 years.
David Ramsay came from Ayr, Scotland in 1862, upon which he took up a position with the South Australian Police Force for nine years, spending six years as a detective. He retired from the force in 1876 to take up farming near Orroroo. He sold the property in July 1880 before moving to Warooka.
A writer for the The Farm Stock and Station Journal, in October 1909, wrote “One of the best known residents of the Lower Yorke Peninsula is the genial publican and farmer Mr David Ramsay. Of a kindly disposition, Mr Ramsay is favourably known to all travellers who visit the remote little township. No man is more respected than the subject of this sketch, who divides his time between catering for the bona fide traveller and superintending the working of his farm.”
In January 1890 ownership of the Warooka Hotel was transferred to the Lion Brewing and Malting Company Limited, WH Beaglehole remained chairman and managing director of Lion Brewing until his death in 1917. Lion Brewing retained the freehold ownership of the Warooka Hotel until purchased by Michael and Alice Kennedy in October 1967.
Research by Graeme Ball
7th January 2015