From inns to hotels: the evolution of public houses in Colonial Victoria



Publication Details

O'Mahony, G. Barry. & Clark, I. D. 2013, 'From inns to hotels: the evolution of public houses in Colonial Victoria', International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 25, no. 2, pp. 172-186.


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to examine travellers' experiences with public houses in Colonial Victoria, to determine how the hospitality industry in the colony was transformed from primitive hospitality provision to sophisticated, well managed hotels in a relatively short time. Design/methodology/approach - The article reviews public records, newspapers of the period, eye-witness accounts and key texts to chart the development of the hospitality industry in Colonial Victoria and to demonstrate how primitive inns became modern hotels within the space of three decades. Findings - This paper highlights how the discovery of gold in 1851 prompted an unprecedented influx of travellers whose expectations of hospitality provision led to the transformation of existing hostelries from crude and primitive inns to modern, sophisticated hotels. Research limitations/implications - The research is confined to Colonial Victoria and therefore, not necessarily a reflection of the colonies in general or general trends in hospitality provision at that time. Practical implications - Tracing the roots of hospitality provision and the traditions of hospitality management can provide a greater understanding of modern hospitality practice. As O'Gorman argues "[...] with historical literature contributing to informing industry practices today and tomorrow: awareness of the past always helps to guide the future". Originality/value - This paper adds to the body of knowledge in relation to the roots and evolution of commercial hospitality

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