A meeting point for all

The only reminder of the Half-Way Hotel is a commemorative plaque on a boulder on the western side of the Lincoln Causeway midway between Albury and Wodonga.

Historical Societies rely on early newspapers to piece together the jigsaw of events.  In a January 1872 advertisement John Jennings thanked his customers for their support since opening the Half-Way Hotel and yet other newspaper reports tell us that his applications for a licence were deferred in December 1871 and June 1872.

John Jennings’ obituary in the Wodonga and Towong Sentinel March 1913 tells us, in 1856, at age 16, John Jennings had sailed to Australia on the ‘Ellerbrac’ as carpenter’s mate, was shipwrecked 100 miles from England, and subsequently some months later tried again this time as ship’s carpenter on the ‘Albatross’.

On leaving the hotel trade he accepted the position of Manager for Dagleish and Mitchell, saw miller, later launching out as a contractor erecting numerous buildings in Wodonga.

The Half-Way Hotel was a thriving business in the days of the bullock wagon and was virtual head-quarters of border drovers and teamsters, who camped on the Wodonga Flats opposite.

For 45 years the licence for the Half-Way Hotel was held by Patrick Flanagan (hence Flanagan’s Creek) and subsequently for two years by his son M. J. Flanagan.

  1. J. Flanagan was interviewed and reported in an undated newspaper article when the Half-Way Hotel was being demolished. He is quoted as remembering as many as seven or eight bullock teams “yoked” overnight to the fence outside the hotel. Also the 100 or more Indian hawkers – led by the fondly known Pola Singh – who returned to Wodonga annually to renew their hawkers’ license and camped on the flats, invariably coming to the Half-Way for their whisky.

The last licensee of the HalfWay Hotel was Mrs Pickering who had that licence transferred to the Wodonga Hotel (now Elgins).  The application to transfer the licence was condition the new premises be erected within 42 weeks from the date of application.

The Half-Way Hotel building remained as a dwelling occupied by Mr and Mrs E. H. Scholz and family until it was demolished in the mid 1950’s.