368 Victoria Street

368 Victoria Street
North Melbourne VIC 3051
Also known as The Artillery Hotel 1866-1872, Volunteer Arms [24] 1872-1904
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368-372 NE corner Victoria and Howard Streets.

The Artillery Hotel 1866-1872, Volunteer Arms [24] 1872-1904, deprived (of its licence) in 1904, now a shop and residence.

A hundred years ago

Stories recorded in Damn You, John Christie, the public life of Australia’s Sherlock Holmes by John Lahey, State Library of Victoria 1993 (p.73) paint a vivid picture of the life that gravitated to this pub a 100 years ago.

James Christie was licensee of the Melbourne pub and, at the same time, a dashing young detective. Author John Lahey makes it clear that he was something of a real-life Sherlock Holmes. His method was to don disguises as he tracked down the lawless of Marvellous Melbourne. Among other possibilities, he would dress up and go out into the streets as a convincing parson, swagman, horse cabbie, haughty foreigner or helpless drunk. In 1870, Christie was assigned to a case involving a series of burglaries in the city, including the theft of bolts of expensive tweed cloth. He followed one of the suspects from a notorious criminals’ haunt in Queen Street and ended up at the Volunteer Arms. Disguised as an itinerant Irishman, he went into the pub where he chatted up the landlady. Thus he discovered that his suspect was living with six to seven others in a small cottage down the next right-of-way. After making enquiries of a neighbour, whose answers confirmed his suspicions, he enlisted help and inveigled his way into the house. Here he captured seven notorious criminals, six men and one woman. He sent a cab to the Hotham Police Station for three constables and two furniture vans and was thus able to transfer his prisoners back to headquarters.

Two of the ‘crims’ were making suits out of the stolen cloth; one at a tailor in North Melbourne, and their original theft was turning a pretty penny.”

Historic Pubs of North Melbourne by Hotham History Project.



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