The Story of Cooley's Hotel

excerpt from "The Story of Thomas Todd Cooley" by Foster Budworth

After his Conditional Pardon in 1839 Thomas Todd Cooley set up a farrier's business at Leaping Bar in Liverpool Street, Hobart, opposite the site of the present Royal Hobart Hospital.

Horse & Jockey InnSubsequently in 1841 he took over the 'Horse & Jockey' hotel in New Town (now Moonah) which had the appropriate sign of a racehorse and a jockey. He re-named it 'Cooley's Hotel' and a hotel of that name, though bearing no resemblance to the original, operates on that site to this day.

The first record of what is believed to be that hotel is contained in Dr. James Ross' "Hobart Town Almanac" of 1830:

"On leaving Hobart Town, Mt Wellington being four miles to the left, at the distance of two miles, a small road turns off to the right hand to the lower part of New Town. The first house of any note which the traveller meets with is on crossing the bridge over the New Town Rivulet, is Mr. Fisher's public house, called The Rose."

TTC The original building was a single storey structure with attic rooms and a verandah at the front. A photograph obtained from the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery shows this building. A board above the door announces:
"Cooley's Hotel. Thos Todd Cooley".
Outside is a pony and trap in which are seated a smartly dressed lady and a small child. In various places on the verandah are 5 other children, 3 girls and 2 boys. Leaning nonchalantly on the verandah rail near the front door is a gentleman wearing suit, waistcoat and a hard bowler-type hat. What a pity it is that we do not know who all these people are. They could be the entire Cooley family. This picture incidentally, has been in use on the place mats in the dining room at Cooleys Hotel.

Rear view of cooley's Hotel Late in the 19th century the hotel was rebuilt with two storeys. This image shows the rear view of the hotel which was the family home. Upstairs a little girl looks out from the window toward the camera. Last year i was able to stand in that same room and look down on to the present day car park. Sadly the extensive gardens were removed long ago.

In 1934 it was rebuilt yet again and a lengthy article about it, with photographs of its various guises, appeared in the 'Illustrated Tasmanian Mail' of 1 March 1934 under the title of "The Romance of a Tasmanian Tavern".(see above) This article included many interesting things about Thomas Todd Cooley.

In the newspapers

The Hobarton Mercury Thursday 29 March 1855 Page 3
Charge under the Hiring Act. Mr. Cooley of New Town charged his hired servant, Henry Melbourne, a young lad," with disobeying his lawful commands ; the defendant was sent to fill up some holes on the Race Course, instead of which, he went to Mr. Bonney's where he was found enjoying himself, in a very jolly manner, and was very saucy ; he was ordered again, to go to his work, but did not do so, he was afterwards found very drunk on Mr. Bonney's premises, when Mr. Cooley gave him into custody. He was sentenced to 14 days' imprisonment, to forfeit his wages (30s.,) and to pay the costs. Mr. Wilmot suggested to Mr. Cooley the payment of the wages to the Patriotic Fund, that it might not he said, the master appropriated then to his own use, and Mr. Cooley said, he would do so, with much pleasure.

The Courier (Hobart, Tas.) Thursday 31 May 1855
(Before Joseph Hone, Esq., Chairman, R. Lewis, T. Kilburn, and H. Hopkins, Esquires.) John Joseph Gardiner and Ann Legg were placed at the bar on the charge of stealing a ring from Mr. Cooley, of the Horse and Jockey, New Town; a second count in the information charged the male prisoner with receiving the same. The man, who was formerly connected with the theatrical profession, was convicted of stealing the ring, and the female was acquitted.

The Hobart Town Mercury Monday 18 May 1857 Page 3
Absconding.-William Downes was charged with absconding, on the 13th of January 1857, in the service of Mr. Willing, butcher, Elizabeth St, and remaining at large till apprehended on the 13th May. He pleaded guilty and for this offence he was sentenced to nine months imprisonment with hard labor.
Larceny.-The same man was then charged with having stolen on the 13th inst. at New Town, one pair of cloth trousers of the value of 15s, one alpaca coat of the value of 10s, and other articles amounting in value to 3, the property of Mr. Cooley of New Town. 'To this likewise he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to an additional l8 months for the offences.

All articles copied from the National Library of Australia:

Licensee's of Cooley's Hotel

Thomas Todd Cooley first held the license of the Horse & Jockey Hotel, New Town in 1841 (Hobart Town Gazette Oct 1841). He remained the licensee untill 1884 when William Barlow (his son-in-law) took over.

William Barlow     1884 - 1888
Richard Dobbie      1889 - 1891
Thomas Anderson      1892
William Barlow     1892
John Jones     1893
William Barlow     1893
CM Cooley     1894
Arthur M Cooley      1910
Thomas T Donnelly      1919
Charles F. Cooley     1921
Elizabeth C. Cooley     1922
Kenneth Cooley      1930
William C. Sibley     1932
Lewis R.S. Geard     1938
Thomas Cunninghane     1938
William John Barker     1939
Stanislaus Ryan     1949
Edward William Green     1954

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