History of the Keilor Hotel

img14George Dodd arrived in Australia in 1840 aboard the sailing ship Andromache. The colony was 5 years old with a population of just 5000 people He travelled with his mother, three brothers and four sisters. He was 25 years old and single, a stonemason from King’s County Ireland.

He became head quarryman supplying stone to build the first Princess bridge, that bridge was demolished in 1891 (the year of George’s death) to make way for the current Princess bridge. He scoured the colony to find a suitable quarry and ended up in Keilor. The quarry is still operating today (160 years later) and naturally he built the first stone house in Keilor. He raised money and oversaw the building in stone of St Augustine’s Church in Keilor.

George established the first school in Keilor, several years later Mathew Goudie opened a school in the Keilor Hotel. Mathew was a Scottish baker fro Ayr who had previously run a bakers shop in Bourke St. Mathew purchased the Keilor Hotel in 1862 for the sum of 1000 pounds, it had been built in 1849, succeeding a timber building erected in 1842 by the Hunter brothers.

img15Georges son, John, married Mathews daughter, Mary, they had five children and established a farm called Brimbank (because the house was on the brim of the river bank). Today the areas of Keilor and Sunshire are the City of Brimbank.history

After Mathew passed away another of his daughters, Jane, ran the Hotel to 1907 when the family decided to lease the Hotel out. Tough times followed with World war 1 and the Great Depression, John & Mary’s son Harry could remember collecting the money from the leasee and picking up 1 keg of beer from Bouverie St in his fathers horse drawn wagon, the keg could last 2 weeks before they had to make another delivery.

img16Post World War 2 prosperity returned to Keilor and to the only surviving hotel in the area (there were a dozen during the Gold Rush). Now the older generations of the Dodd and Goudie families had passed away, Harry preferred to remain a market gardner and it wasn’t until 1974 that Harry’s son Ray leased the Hotel from the family.

Over the next 20 years Ray managed to acquire all the shares in the Hotel. The clock had turned full circle and he was in the same position as his Great Grand Father was in 1862 but with the responsibility to carry on the tradition of Hospitality left by his family.