THE HIGHERCOMBE HOTEL (Now the Tea Tree Gully Heritage Museum, and owned by The National Trust)
In March 1854 the District Council of Highercombe granted a publican’s licence to Mr William Bailes for the ‘Tea Tree Gully Inn’. At the same meeting the councillors considered an application from Thomas Pearce for a licence for a public house in Tea Tree Gully to be called the ‘Black Tiger’. The application was refused ‘as the house was incomplete’. In June of that year, Pearce once again applied for a licence and although there was opposition the council ‘was of the opinion that such a fine building as Mr Pearce’s was deserving a licence’. Mr Pearce had by now decided to name his hotel the Highercombe Hotel! (From Ian Auhl’s book – “From Settlement to City”).
Why ‘Black Tiger’ was put forward as the name for a Hotel in the area, certainly puzzled me, until I came across this story below. Which shed some light on the possible reason. This exotic feline must have caused quite a stir in Adelaide and surrounding Districts, for Mr Pearce to put the name forward for a Hotel in Tea Tree Gully, some four years later!
The Black Tiger.
A gentleman who had very little education, but who had still managed to do well was the Landlord of the Union Hotel in Waymouth Street. This was Mr Creech who was the owner of the black tiger, which caused so much excitement at the races in the previous month of January 1850. (Some unthinking person had started a rumour that the black tiger had escaped and this caused three ladies to jump into their gig and head for town. Unfortunately their horse bolted, the gig turned over and the ladies were thrown out). Displaying the tiger was proving to be a most lucrative business venture for Creech and the Agricultural Show only days away, he often counted in his mind the number of sixpences likely to be taken at the show. The actual owner of the Union Hotel was a Mr Herring who was a keen fancier of pigeons and poultry. He also kept in the Hotel yard an assortment of ducks for market. Unfortunately for Creech there was a hole in the side of his tigers cage and one of the ducks foolishly poked its head in. The subsequent feast resulted in Creech being imprisoned for Duck stealing, as he steadfastly refused to pay Mr Herring the 3/6d compensation. This obstinacy unhappily caused him to miss out on raking in the sixpences at the show.
The above “Black Tiger” story is from ‘1850 – A VERY GOOD YEAR IN THE COLONY OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA’ by Russell Smith.
The Hope Valley School
The Hope Valley School was completed towards the end of 1849 and its first headmaster was Mr Dempster. The second headmaster, Mr Prowse, was appointed in 1851, and advertised “to inform his friends and the neighbourhood” that the day school would be opened from 9am – 4pm and that night school would be opened three nights a week.