Fremantle Stuff > hotels >

Albion Hotel


Halfway House, later the Albion Hotel, 1880s, Battye 10478.

mapThe Halfway House was established in 1870 on the Perth-Fremantle road on the site of the present Albion Hotel in Stirling Highway, Cottesloe, by Thomas Briggs. It superseded the Bush Inn (aka Prospect Place and [first] Halfway House) which was a hostelry run in the 1830s by John Butler as the first licensed wayside inn in the colony. The Butler/Bailey establishment lost its custom when the Perth-Fremantle road was moved from the alignment of what is now View Street eastward to the (present) Stirling Highway route in 1838. (See part of a map from Bolton & Gregory: 13, right.)

Thomas Ernest Briggs (1816-1897) arrived per Java 1847 as a member of the 96th Regiment. He bought himself out of the army and later went to the East Indies as a military veterinary surgeon. He survived the Indian Mutiny 1857, returning to WA 1858. He was the licensee of the Trumpeters Inn in King William Street Perth (from 1854: Tuckfield). He bought 20 acres at Freshwater Bay (Cottesloe/Peppermint Grove) and opened the Albion Hotel there (Erickson). His son, another Thomas Briggs (1870-1935), was Mayor of Claremont.

Bolton & Gregory:
In 1868 the postal service was upgraded to a four-wheeled, two-horse mail van which took passengers. This might have suggested the need for liquid refreshments at the halfway stage between Fremantle and Perth, but a pub would not be encouraged near the convict depot and it was left to an enterprising old Indian army soldier named Briggs to set up what was described as ‘a very small sort of Irish “Sheebeen” ’ at a point where the present Cottesloe Shopping Centre was to develop, not far from John Butler’s original Bush Inn. Briggs’s colonial beer was famed for ‘a headache in every glass’, but a young English migrant travelling on the mail van noted that ‘everybody had to go in for his six penny worth of headache’. Bolton & Gregory: 28.

Robert Napoleon Bullen bought the Halfway House in October 1892 and made elaborate plans for the Albion Pleasure Grounds (James 1977: 9; 2007: 43), and it was from that year that the hotel was called the Albion Hotel. The nearby railway station - the railway having been established in 1881 - was Bullen's Siding before being called Cottesloe Station. And Napoleon Street Cottesloe got its name from Bullen's middle one. The hotel was sold to the Swan Brewery in 1908. Bullen Lane now runs between Stirling Highway and Railway Street, as does Napoleon Street also.

Hitchcock 1919:
At Cottesloe, where the Albion Hotel now stands, was the Half-Way House, kept by Mr. Thomas Briggs, where thirsty passengers could alight and obtain refreshments.

References and Links

Bolton, Geoffrey & Jenny Gregory 1999, Claremont: A History, UWAP.

Erickson, Rica 1987, Bicentennial Dictionary of Western Australians, UWAP.

James, Ruth Marchant 1977, Heritage of Pines: A History of Cottesloe, Town of Cottesloe Council. James 1977 has 'John' Briggs instead of Thomas, and has him arriving in 1829.

James, Ruth Marchant 2007, Cottesloe: A Town of Distinction, Town of Cottesloe, © Ruth Marchant James 2007.

Tuckfield, Trevor 1971, 'Early colonial inns and taverns', Part 1, Early Days: Journal and proceeedings of the Royal Western Australian Historical Society, 7, 3: 65-82; Part 2, 7, 7: 98-106.

Garry Gillard | New: 4 February, 2019 | Now: 10 August, 2022