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The family of James GRANT & Helen Scott McGEGOR parents of John Scott GRANT 1822-1879,

the Caledonian Union Hotel (1857) and the Caledonian Union Hotel fire (1871) at Sandford on the Wannon.

John Scott GRANT and Ann KILPATRICK were married in Edinburgh, Scotland on the 14th May 1841. Two weeks later on the 4th June 1841 they sailed from Greenock for Port Phillip with another 196 persons (crew included) on the "India" which was making its second voyage. On the 20th July when they were approximately 500 miles off the coast of Brazil (16 degrees Latitude and 33 degree Longitude) a fire on board caused the ship to sink with the loss of eighteen lives. The comparatively small loss of life was due to the accidental fire starting in daylight in a calm sea within sight of a French Whaler “Roland”. The survivors, having lost all their possessions including most of the clothing they were wearing due to the fire, were taken to Rio De Janerio. After assistance from the British Embassy they were put of a smaller ship “The Grindlay” and completed the journey to Port Phillip. After arriving at Port Phillip they travelled by wagon to Koonongwootong where they worked for the WHYTE Bros at Koonongwootong (Coleraine) as a station hand. The exact movements of the family are not known but it is known that at some time John GRANT worked for Francis HENTY at Merino Downs. The first son James' birth was registered at Portland in 1842. This child died at a very young age and it is believed that the child wandered away into the bush and perished as a result of an incident with an aboriginal tribe and the childs’ mother. The family story is that the mother was terrified and the child wandered away probably following the aboriginals into the bush. Some remains of the child were apparently found six months later. There is no death certificate and the story is not able to be confirmed but John and Ann had another son in 1855 and named him James. The family moved onto a farm at Mosquito Plains (Narracoorte) South Australia. John then went to the Gold Rush at Ballarat and apparently he had some success. As a result of his success we was able to sell the property at Mosquito Plains about 1853 and bought the Woodford Inn at Dartmoor which he operated for about three years. He then shifted to Sandford in 1856 where the Caledonian Union Hotel was built. He apparently paid 70 pounds for the land on which the hotel was built. He operated the Caledonian Union Hotel at Sandford until the time of his death. It was a two story hotel and after a fire it was converted to a single storey hotel. The hotel is still in the family to this day but is no longer operating as a hotel.

Grant's Albion Hotel, Casterton 1865-1906
Grant's Albion Hotel, Casterton 1865-1906
There is a possibility that he also operated a hotel on the Casterton to Portland road just north west of Merino before the main Casterton Portland Road ran through the town of Merino. Mention of the Grant family operating a hotel in this location is made in a publication called the “Marks of Time”. Quote:- "Mr Richard EDWARDS, who died in 1959, aged 89 years, said that at one time a hotel was located on Dwyers Creek, at the present site of Mr RHODES sheepyards. This was owned by the GRANT Family (Mr RHODES place is known as Grantlea), who later moved to Sandford and eventually to Casterton where a hotel is still called Grants." This was one of three hotels which were known as the Henty Hotels - The others were known as the "Mocamboro Inn" and the "Junction Hotel". The Junction Hotel was the last Hotel to close just after the First World War by a Mr D. C. SMITH on the instructions of Miss Louisa HENTY who did not like the men spending so much time there drinking instead of coming to work.”

John was a member of the Foresters' Lodge and this Lodge used to meet in the Caledonian Union Hotel at Sandford until a drunken member broke a chair one night and John threw them all out.

He was also a member of the Masonic Lodge at Penola in South Australia and joined on 6th August 1873. His eldest son Robert had joined the Lodge there two years earlier. There were two other Grants from Penola who were members of the same Lodge who joined about the same time, John Grant in December 1871 and Richard Grant in 1874. These Grants were believed to be connected with the Prince of Wales Hotel in Penola. Whether they are related to John Scott Grant and his family is not able to be established and the connection may be that they were neighbouring publicans. John and Ann GRANT had nine children and few details of birth and death registrations were attended to for members of the family. Three children died at early ages, James, Allen and John. The names James and John were re issued to later children.

Robert & George Grant, sons of John Scott Grant

"The original building (Albion Hotel, Casterton) was constructed in 1865 by Robert GRANT and his younger brother, George. The building was a simple, single-storey, solid brick manufacture, which featured the same wonderful symmetry of design featured by the present building.

Robert and George were sons of John Scott GRANT who built the Caledonion Union Hotel at Sandford in 1857. Apparently, Robert held the Albion Hotel licence while George worked on farms during the day, returning to work at the hotel during the evening. George also operated a pair of bullock teams, carting materials between Casterton and Portland. This was at a time when a bullock team was an extremely valuable asset, and vital to the commerce of a district. George drove one of the teams, the other being operated by "Jack the Pointer", a clourful character of the times, whose reputation was known widely.

The Albion Hotel was a popular venue for many club and committee meetings held in Casterton, and many of the present, and now defunct organisations of the town, held their inaugural meetings on the premises.

The Albion Stables, situated at the rear of the hotel, were managed by many well-known local celebrities over the years, the most significant of whom was Morris EDWARDS. EDWARDS was a pioneer of Australia Felix, who was renowned for his ability and expertise with horses. Around 1915, COXON Brothers took over the Albion Stables. Several years later, they switched their allegiance from horse to car, establishing a business that is still in existence. The Albion Stables were not demolished until the 1970's.

George GRANT eventually purchased his brother's interest in the Albion Hotel, and leased the premises to Frank LYONS. LYONS conduced the hotel for about three years, after which George regained the licence and conducted the hotel himself.

Grants Albion Hotel on left (1907- )
Grants Albion Hotel on left (1907- )
The devastating flood of 1906, forced a number of changes in Casterton. One of the most significant of these was the decision by the GRANT family to demolish the Albion Hotel and replace it with a far grander building. Erected on the site occupied by the original hotel, the present Albion Hotel was opened in 1907. With its striking Elizabethan architecture and massive size, it was regarded as a show piece in Western Victoria.

George GRANT died in 1923, and his son George Scott GRANT, took over the hotel licence. Following his death in 1939, the Albion Hotel was conducted by his daughters, Joyce and Tup, and son, Tom.

It is only in relatively recent times that the Albion Hotel has passed from the hands of the GRANT family."

Source : "Graphic Glenelg Shire" - Graeme Lawrence and Charlotte Davis

Article supplied by David Grant

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