The Craigie Burn's Hotel

(Carriers' Arms Inn)

Above:  This drawing is part of a collection of drawings done by H. J. Graham and are held at the National Library in Canberra.  The inscription says: Craigieburn Inn, (now training stables), on the Sydney Road and is dated 1882.

(Please Note: This page is a work in progress as it has changed many time over the last few years according to the information being researched and added to the website and will probably change many times in the future to reflect current information).

There is little to be seen today at the old Craigieburn Inn site, just a few old gnarled pine trees suffering from the ravages of drought, standing behind a fence on the side of the Hume Hwy, directly opposite Kingswood Drive in Craigieburn.  Any evidence of the 'Craigie Burns Inn' on this property has long gone.

The Craigieburns Hotel was marked on a geological map dated c1860 as the 'Craigie Burn's Hotel'.   Sydney Road was an alternative route to the Bendigo Goldfields and flourished with the opening of new gold fields in the north eastern and the north of Victoria and as a result hotels sprung up everywhere along Sydney Road, on route to the goldfields. 

The old hotel at Craigieburn is said by locals to have been built of bluestone with Oregon beams.  Consisted of a hotel and outbuildings such as stables and a blacksmith shop or ‘forge’ and was said to have been a Cobb & Co stop, one of many along the bustling Sydney Rd.  Would have seen very busy times with people stopping on route to the goldfields.

The earliest mention of the old hotel we have found at present can be accredited to The Argus Newspaper and the Cole Hotel Index at the State Library of Victoria. The hotel was first licensed as the 'Carriers' Arms Inn' and was noted in both sources as The Carriers' Arms at Craigieburn run by David McKay (MacKay)

Cole Hotel index, State Library of Victoria - Carriers' Arms at Craigieburn.  Built of bluestone 4 S. R. & 9 B. R. exd. 220 acres, frontage to Sydney Road and bounded by a road leading to Woodstock Rd and runs down to Merri Creek.  Auctioned 4/1/1875 its host is Keane - James Edward Keane 1/7/1863 to 4/1/1875 and rented from Edward Bradley.  Licensed as the Carriers' Arms.

Electoral Rolls July 1856 - Mackay David, Craigieburn Innkeeper and was a leaseholder of a hotel.

Victorian Government Gazette August 1857- East Bourke Election meeting at the Carriers' Arms Inn, Craigieburn on Sydney Road on Wednesday 17th 1857.

Victorian Government Gazette June & July of 1859 - D. McKay applied successfully for a license at the Carriers' Arms Inn at Craigieburn.

The Argus 1860 - Carriers' Arms Craigieburn on the Sydney Road 15 Miles from Melbourne Row, Kirk and Co are instructed to sell by auction at the Carriers' Arms at Craigieburn, Thursday 20th of July, 80 excellent dairy cows.

By 1860 the hotel had changed hands to Edward Bradley and in the July of 1860 it was still in the possession of David McKay and called the Carriers' Arms, however by the December of that same year Edward Bradley of the Craigieburn Hotel at Craigieburn was advertising in the Argus 'for men to cut thistles at Craigieburn, Sydney Rd'.  So the hotel had changed hands between July and December of 1860 from David McKay to Edward Bradley.


I JAMES EDWARD KEANE, licensed publican, now residing at Craigieburn In the district of Donnybrook, do hereby give notice that it is my intention to apply to the justices sitting at the Court of petty Sessions to be held at Donnybrook on the 1st day of July, 1864, for a certificate authorizing the issue of a publicans license for a house situated at Craigieburn, built of stone, containing, four sitting rooms and nine bedrooms exclusive of those required for the use of the family, and now licensed as the Carriers Arms Hotel and occupied by me, and rented from Mr. Edward Bradley
Dated the 14th day of June, 1864

The hotel was entered in the Broadmeadows Rate Books from 1863 onwards and the entries for the hotel and it's publican James Edward Keane start right
from the beginning, however the ownership seems to change hands between Charles P. Pysent who was an early wealthy Melbourne merchant, Edward Bradley and J. E. Keane and switches between being hotel and land at Craigieburn to Yuroke.

 James Edward Keane was noted as proprietor of the Craigieburn Hotel and William Campbell as Blacksmith leasing and running the forge till 1868 when Campbell sadly committed suicide on the property by cutting his throat with a razor blade. An inquest was held and a verdict of "self-destruction while in a state of temporary insanity was recorded".

Grey River Argus, Volume VI, Issue 377, 13 June 1868, Page 3

Mr. Candler held an inquest yesterday, at Craigieburn, on the body of William Campbell, aged 38 years, a blacksmith. The deceased rented a forge from the proprietor of the Craigieburn Hotel, in whose house he boarded. He was last seen alive on Monday morning, when he was in bed, and seemed low and depressed. On Tuesday he was found lying on the floor of his bedroom in a pool of blood, two gashes being observed in his throat, and a razor lying close to the body. The deceased was a wealthy man for his station in life, and it was never suspected he contemplated suicide. A verdict of self-destruction while in a state of temporary insanity was recorded.

The Argus, Friday 19 June 1868.

IN the goods of WILLIAM CAMPBELL, late of Craigieburn, Blacksmith, Deceased, Intestate.
I hereby require all parties indebted to the estate of the above named deceased, within fourteen days from
this date to PAY their respective ACCOUNTS to Mr. James E. Keane, Craigieburn, whom I have authorised
to receive payment and give discharges therefore F. J. BURY, Curator of Estates of Deceased Persons
and Administrator of Estate. Melbourne, 17th June, 1803.

FRIDAY, JUNE 12th 1868
At Twelve O'clock Noon.
To Blacksmiths and Others. In the Estate of William Cambell (late of Craigieburn), Blacksmith, Deceased.
GK. JOHNSTON has received instructions from the curator of estates for deceased persons to
SELL by PUBLIC AUCTION, on Friday, 12th inst, at twelve o'clock noon, at the police station, Donnybrook,
The whole stock-in-trade, working tools of a blacksmith, and personal effects, which belong to the above named deceased, consisting of new horse iron, anvil, smithy, bellows, new horse, nails, tools, &c. Household furniture and other effects.
Terms Cash. No Reserve

Six years later this advertisement appeared in the in the Argus newspaper with the sale of the Craigieburn Hotel and other properties under the ownership of Charles Pitt Pynsent.   James Edward Keane's lease of the hotel was running out by 1874 as stated in the advertisement but by September 1874 the properties were still for sale.

The Argus 11th of January 1874

Fifteen Miles from the Post-office.
Adjoining the Railway Station on the Main Sydney Road.
Sale by Public Auction of
Together with The Craigieburn Hotel and Cottage Residence
In Three Lots By Order of Messrs. Dalgety, Blackwood, and Co ,
Agents for Charles P Pynsent, Esq , in England.
Terms-One quarter Cash Balance at One, Two, and Three years, Bearing 10 Per Cent Interest.  ALFRED BLISS has been favoured with instructions from Messrs Dalgety, Blackwood, and Co , as agents for the above named gentleman, to SELL by PUBLIC AUCTION, at The Mart, 82 Collins Street West, on Monday, January 11, at twelve o clock, That important and valuable GRAZING and AGRICULTURAL PROPERTY,
Consisting of 1800 acres subdivided as follows -
Lot 1 Portion No 10, parish of Wollert, containing 1260.   Lot 2 Part of Portion No 24, parish
of Yuroke, containing about , 220 acres.  Lot 3 Part of Portion 24, and part of
Allotment A of Portion 23, of the parish of Yuroke containing about 320 Acres 1800.

 Lot 1, containing 1200 acres is a first-class grazing block, bounded by Dr Wilson's property, the Merri Creek the road leading to the Woodstock rood, and a road dividing It from Mrs. Griffin's land.  This land is at present rented by Mr. Wilson, whose
lease is about to expire.

Lot 2 consists of 220 acres (more or less) that has
a large frontage to the Sydney road, and is bounded by the road leading to the Woodstock rood, and runs down to the Merri Creek. A portion is under cultivation, the rest excellent pasture land.  On this lot stands The CRAIGIEBURN HOTEL and buildings (all of stone), now and for many years past occupied by Mr. Keane, whose lease is just running out.

Lot 3 consists of 820 acres (more or less) of agricultural
and grazing land, having a large frontage to the Sydney road and the road running to the Broadmeadows Road.  This is a splendid block of land for pastoral and agricultural purposes. Being high ground, fine views are obtainable from the spot, on which stands a comfortable brick and wood cottage, gardens, and out buildings. This property is worthy of a first class residence being erected thereon, and converted into a retreat by Anyone engaged in city pursuits fond of a country life. The Craigieburn Railway Station is actually at the entrance gate, and is reached in 40 minutes from town.   The closeness to the city, the railway running to the spot the quality of the land, the size of the block, and the easy terms for payment, all recommend those properties to intending purchasers, and the auctioneer Invites inspection prior to the day of sale.

 Title perfect
Terms One fourth cash, balance by bills at one,
two, and three years, bearing six per cent, or cash at the option of the purchaser
The sale takes place at The Mart, 82 Collins Street West on Monday January 11th at twelve o'clock.

The Argus, Wednesday 23 September 1874

This Valuable PROPERTY,
Situated close to the Craigieburn station, on the North Eastern Railway, 16 miles from Melbourne containing about 1800 acres of fine grazing land, subdivided into numerous paddocks by substantial fences, and is it present let to Mr. Wilson and Mr. Keane.  Upon the land rented by the latter is a dwelling house, and the Craigieburn Hotel, with very extensive stabling, to The attention of capitalists is directed to this property, which from its proximity to Melbourne (only minutes by train) possesses many advantages
For further particulars apply to DALGETY, BLACKWOOD, and Co ,
Little Collins Street, Melbourne.

 The post office opened as officially 'Craigieburn' on the 25th of February 1866 and Keane was the postmaster,  which by then had been successfully situated at the Craigieburn Hotel from 1857 and continued on in the position as postmaster till the post office was moved to the newly opened Craigieburn Station on the 18th of July, 1872 .  Keane stayed on at the hotel till his lease expired in 1874 then retired and went to live with Neil and Thomas Wright, blacksmiths in Campbellfield.  Keane made his will in 1878 so he must have known what was to befall him in the coming years.  He died in April 1880 and is buried in Will Will Rook Cemetery.

In the rate books you can clearly see how the site is sold off and changes from a hotel to a farm and stone dwellings.  In 1875 the site changes in the rate books and
next to the three entries for James Edward Keane - 'hotel',  'house and land 233 acres', 'house and land 320 acres' there are hand drawn brackets and the name 'Miller' entered next to it.  So it is obvious the property was sold and Miller took it over in 1875. Edward Bradley died in 1882. 

BRADLEY - On the 22nd April, at Hazelwood, South Brisbane, Edward Bradley, senior , of the Rocky Water Holes, North Ipswich and late of Charleville and formerly of Craigieburn, Victoria aged 68.

William Henry Miller was a prominent Melbourne banker, who never seemed
to lease the property out, he was always given as owner and occupier,
probably his holiday house in the country no doubt and of course he may of
retired there.

From 1875 onwards it is only given as 2 stone houses and land, no hotel. This
gentleman still owned it when the picture was drawn in 1882 and this is
probably why it says Craigieburn Inn, (now training stables), on the Sydney
Road because by then it was just that, the hotel now being used as a residence and the old stables being used for training of horses or the breeding of Clydesdale draught horses.

Reported in The Mercury Hobart, Tasmania. Friday 15 September 1876.

An impudent robbery was committed at the Craigieburn Hotel on Saturday night last. An entrance was effected by taking the whole frame of the bar window out ; then a till was broken open and about £20 stolen. The window was restored again to its proper position. No trace of the robbers
has been discovered.

In 1888 it changes to (Norman) Albert Miller of 154 Queen St, Melbourne
being the owner (his son), who was a Melbourne solicitor, to now two stone
houses and 640 acres, prior it was 553 acres and it is not entirely beyond the bounds of possibility the 'two stone houses' were the old hotel and the bluestone stables and an additional 550 acres had been purchased.

William Henry Miller died in 1915 and we think the old hotel building still there according to the advertisement in the Argus dated Saturday 25 March 1916 but being used as a dwelling and stables ‘On this portion are the bluestone buildings formerly used as a dwelling and coaching stables’.

On the site in 1916 according to the ad in the Argus were a weatherboard house of 5 rooms with an iron roof, bluestone buildings formerly used as a dwelling and coaching stables (old hotel and stable buildings), a splendid cowshed and other outbuildings.

Argus (Melbourne, Vic.), Monday 27 March 1916, page 2

At Victoria Horse Bazaar, Bourke street.
Subdivision of the well-known "Blairgowrie" Estate, Craigieburn, fronting the Sydney road, right alongside the Craigieburn Railway Station, 15 miles from the city of Melbourne.
1103 acres, now in the occupation of Mr. W. D. McCallum.
Subdivided into 7 blocks, ranging in size from - 75 acres to 630 acres, as per plan.
Splendid agricultural and grazing land. Adamson, Strettle, and Co. Pty. Ltd.,
Associated with Powers, Rutherford, and Co.; are instructed by the executors of the late Mr. William Henry Miller to sell by auction, at the Victoria Horse Bazaar, Bourke Street, Melbourne, "Blairgowrie" Estate, at Craigieburn.
Containing 1103 acres of the richest agricultural and grazing land within a radius of 20 miles of the City of Melbourne, subdivided as under:
Lot 1- 5O acres, with frontage to the 15-Mile Lane, portion being cultivated, with quality valuable timber growing on It.
Lot 2 - 5O acres, adjoining Lot 1, similar quality land.
Lot 3 - Is at the corner of Sydney road and the 15-Mile lane, and contains 75 acres or thereabouts.
Lot 4 - 75 acres, adjoins Lot 3, and fronts the Sydney road. On this block there is a W.B. house of 5 rooms, with iron roof.
Lot 5 - 50 acres, more or less, immediately opposite Lot 4. On this portion are the bluestone buildings formerly used as a dwelling house and coaching stables. There is also a splendid cowshed and other outbuildings.
Lot 6.-152 acres, runs down to the- Merri Creek, to which it has a large frontage.
Lot 7.-Contains 630 acres. Is situated about one and a half miles from Craigieburn Railway
Station. Is well fenced and permanently watered; fronts a metalled road, running into the Epping road.
The whole of the land is well adapted for grazing either cattle or sheep, dairying, or cultivation, and the attention of buyers is directed to this opportunity of acquiring some of the very best land obtainable in this favoured locality, close to Melbourne by a splendid road, and with a railway station practically at the door. Possession within 30 days. Plan on application to the agents. TERMS-One-fourth cash, balance in four yearly.

1915 onwards saw William Duncan McCallum leasing the property until William Henry Miller died then purchased the property now known as ‘Blairgowrie”.

The property changed hands from the trustees of William Henry Miller to William Duncan McCallum.  McCallum went into receivership in 1921 and in 1926 Blairgowrie was up for sale again by McCallum and advertised in the Argus Wednesday 24 November 1926 as 160 acres of freehold land right at Junction of Sydney Road, Craigieburn Road, and Main North-Eastern Railway, and within 100 Yards of Craigieburn Railway Station, with the Melbourne Coursing Club's Ground (the Finest in the Commonwealth) opposite to Blairgowrie and comprises 100 acres of choice volcanic land. Subdivided into several paddocks, and permanently watered by a windmill and well, with water laid on to buildings and troughs.  A creek also runs through the property.  The homestead is of weatherboard with  6 main rooms, practically new. There is very large stone stabling with slate roof, large Cowshed and machinery Shed and Blairgowrie is a most replete farm with everything in First-class Order.

In 1926 we think this is when Blairgowrie was separated and the lots on the right side of Sydney Road, heading north, approximately from where the railway tracks crossed Sydney Road at Craigieburn to Malcolm Creek seem to remain as Blairgowrie and possibly sold of to the Anderson family.

The remaining lots, near the station and in 15 Mile Lane were sold to a Mr. L. Cadby.  Reports in Argus in 1921 reporting the two remaining properties sold to Mr. Louis Cadby, of Melbourne.

Argus (Melbourne, Vic.)  May 1921

McPhall, Anderson and Co report selling at a clearing sale in Craigieburn, last Thursday the estate of W D McCallum of Craigieburn, house property the Bungalow on 13 acres 3 roods and 20 perches of land adjoining the Craigieburn Station to Mr. L. Cadby, for the sum of ₤1,325 also the small triangle block opposite consisting of 1 acre 3 roods ? perches. 

1950’s or possibly earlier.  The Anderson family are now farming at Blairgowrie on Sydney Road.  Another  tragic death takes place on the property when Peter Murray commits suicide by hanging himself in the barn in 1950.  Death certificate says ‘death by hanging or shooting’.

John and Jim Sorraghan in the 1950’s purchases 'Blairgowrie' and Sorraghan family live there and dairy farm there till the property was acquired by Vic Roads or The Road Boards for building of the overpass and road widening for the two lane highway in 1963.

We are not entirely sure what happened to the old hotel but it is possible the hotel building was demolished in the first road widening of Sydney Road around 1943, leaving the bluestone stables, then the rest in 1963, when the overpass and double lane highway was built.

You can see on this picture where the buildings stood approximately. Today if you were traveling on the Hume Highway you would be driving straight through where some of the the original buildings stood.

The Argus dated Thursday 16 February 1928, page 7 tells the story of the Craigieburn community whose 33 ratepayers signed a petition opposing the licencing of a premises to be used as a hotel there in 1928.  The application was refused by the licencing inspector on the grounds ‘it was not required’.  Since 1928 there has been no hotel at Craigieburn and today there is still no hotel at Craigieburn.  (Argus (Melbourne, Vic.), Thursday 16 February 1928, page 7 “Licence for Craigieburn”).

Over a number of years the decline in the popularity of hotels in the late 1880's and the coming of the north-eastern railway to Craigieburn in 1872 substantially reduced road traffic and had a huge impact on the hotels along Sydney Road and the ill wind of change was about to blow. The coaches ceased after the railway was built which meant no more need for staging posts to change horses, people no longer needed accommodation and a lot less people traversed Sydney Road and sadly the mail now arrived and left by rail, hence the hotel was no longer needed for a post office, possibly all contributing to the Craigieburn Hotel's eventual demise.








Above: What remains at the site today

Photos: Courtesy of

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