Tuesday, 5 September 2017

The Miners Home Hotel – Armagh


The Miners Home Hotel – Armagh

The tiny hamlet of Armagh, north-west of the township of Clare in South Australia is thought to have been founded by Irish Catholics who arrived in the area in the 1840's.[1] It is not known who exactly named the region, but it is thought, one of three people, Patrick Butler, E.B. Gleeson or Henry Clark may have named the valley after their home town in Ireland.[2]

The Royal Mining Company, on the hunt for copper, opened the Emu Plains Mine in the area. As part of their prospective of the area, and in the hope of a mining boom, they planned the town of Armagh, with provisions for a school, a church, blacksmiths shop, and two hotels.

In 1849 John and William Day, hoping to profit from the opening of a new mine built the Miner’s Home Hotel. At the same time, Patrick Butler built his own hotel, named the Emu Inn.
 Only one license was granted by the Bench of Magistrates, which went to Patrick Butler’s hotel. The Day’s then launched an appeal, and sought signatures from friends of influence, which saw the Magistrate board overturn their ruling, granting a license to the brothers to operate their hotel[3]

The Miners Home Hotel operated for only two years, 1850 until 1851. The license changed from John Day, to his brother William in 1851.[4]

After the closing of the hotel, the land was bought by Patrick Butler, who lived in the building, and built a larger house on the land. Patrick Butler went on to become a Councillor in the Clare region, but perhaps one of his bigger claims to fame was in 1844, when the then Archbishop of Adelaide, Dr Murphy, assisted by Father Michael Ryan, celebrated the Mass in the Clare district at the Butler residence.

It is claimed that in 1870 the body of a seven-year-old girl was found to be laid to rest under the bar of the old hotel. A headstone now sits in the floor, marking the spot where she is buried.

In recent times, the old house has been a museum, and now, again a private residence.

 For almost twenty years, from around 1850 until 1870, it was thought the hotel was cursed with a haunting. It is claimed that horses would not enter the property at all, and this led to the closing of the original hotel.
 It is also claimed that poltergeist activity was a regular occurrence in the building, with objects being moved around inside, in full view of the occupants. All poltergeist activity is said to have ceased upon the discovery of the little girl’s body buried underneath the old hotel bar.

How she came to be laid to rest there is still, to this day, a mystery!

© Allen Tiller 2017


[1] “Armagh South,” Irish Place Names in Australia, accessed July 14, 2017, http://irishplaces.flinders.edu.au/items/show/184.

[1] 1850 'LOCAL NEWS.', South Australian Gazette and Mining Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1847 - 1852), 19 December, p. 3. , viewed 15 Jul 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article195941359

[1] 1851 'BENCH OF MAGISTRATES.—QUARTERLY ISSUE OF LICENCES.', South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), 10 June, p. 3. , viewed 15 Jul 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article38450812

[1] Australian Heritage Places Inventory, 2017, Dwelling and Museum (former Miner's Home Hotel & Outbuilding), SA State Heritgae Register, viewed 15 July 2017, https://dmzapp17p.ris.environment.gov.au/ahpi/action/search/heritage-search/record/SA13052

1852 'LOCAL COURT, CLARE.', South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), 18 October, p. 3. , viewed 15 Jul 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article38459187

1943 'LINKS with THE PAST and Historical Notes.', Northern Argus (Clare, SA : 1869 - 1954), 12 November, p. 4. , viewed 15 Jul 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article97266692

Branson, Vern M & Phillips, Arthur, 1938- 1974, Clare and district sketchbook, Rigby, Adelaide

Broad, Sue 1986, Back to Armagh, Armagh Soldiers Memorial Hall Inc. Committee, [Armagh, S. Aust.]