Josephine Anderson

1857 - 1914


Personal Photo 1
Royal Hotel architectural elevations by George Jobbins, 1889

Josephine Anderson (nee Graham) was the licensee of the Royal Hotel, Spensley Street, Clifton Hill from 1889 for many years, and family members continued to reside there after her death. Hotel keeping was an attractive vocation for women in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, a fact that has been obscured by the common view of the pub as a male bastion, home as its antithesis, and women as proponents of the temperance movement. In Collingwood in 1906, as many as 58% of hotels had a female publican. 

Josephine and her husband, John were both born in the Bendigo district (then known as Sandhurst) at the height of the Gold Rushes, and married there in 1876. In 1889, Josephine engaged prominent 19th century architect George Jobbins to design the Royal Hotel, located as a landmark at the intersection of Spensley and Berry Streets, Clifton Hill. On 30 October 1889, the Metropolitan Licensing Court granted a conditional licensing certificate to Josephine. The building of the three-storey, High Victorian Italianate hotel was completed in 1890 and known as Anderson’s Royal Hotel. 

The Royal Hotel was not the first local hotel of which Josephine Anderson was the licensee. In the Metropolitan Licensing Court on 29 March 1887, Josephine successfully applied to transfer the license of the Commercial Hotel, Fitzroy from Charles Graham to herself.  The transfer application was made by arrangement as a family matter because Charles Graham had been fined for Sunday trading.

Josephine was the eldest daughter of William Walter Graham and Elizabeth Graham (nee Gower) of Epsom, a suburb of Sandhurst (Bendigo).  Josephine was born in 1857 at Epsom and had at least three siblings: Ernest, William Walter and Elizabeth Emily Graham.  Josephine and John Anderson had two daughters: Ethel Sarah Elizabeth Anderson (born 1877) who died age 7 years and 11 months on 12 December 1884 and Florence Josephine Anderson (born 1878) who died age 47 years on 22 July 1925.

Josephine and John Anderson were very active in the local Collingwood community and after opening in 1890 the Royal Hotel was a regular meeting place for numerous sporting clubs, friendly associations/lodges and political candidates.  The hotel played a significant role in both municipal and Victorian politics, elections and governance. Numerous election notices in newspapers at the time confirm that political candidates and elected politicians were closely associated with the Royal Hotel, which was a continuous venue for election campaigns. According to newspaper reports, large and enthusiastic political meetings were regularly held at the hotel including by Sir Graham Berry MP.

Josephine was mentioned in newspaper articles in The Elmore Standard in July 1893 in relation to the accidental death of her brother William aged 25 in a shooting accident at Epsom and in The Argus in October 1905 regarding the death of her infant nephew Donald Ernest Graham (brother Ernest’s son aged 1 year and 9 months).  Until his accidental death (reported in substantial detail), Josephine’s brother William had resided with her at the Royal Hotel, Clifton Hill.

On 20 September 1901, Josephine and John Anderson celebrated their Silver Wedding Anniversary, having been married on 20 September 1876 in St Paul’s Church of England, Bendigo by Reverend John Christian MacCullagh (appointed archdeacon of Bendigo in 1883). 

As licensee of the Royal Hotel, Josephine (with husband John) resided in the hotel until her death at age 57 years on 11 January 1914.  On 13 January 1914, Josephine’s funeral procession departed from the Royal Hotel and proceeded to the Melbourne General Cemetery.  Josephine bequeathed real estate valued at £4,000 and personal property valued at £377 to her husband and surviving daughter Florence Josephine.

Following Josephine’s death, the licensee of the Royal Hotel as of December 1914 was Josephine’s sister Elizabeth Emily Graham.  John Anderson continued to reside at the hotel until his death at age 83 on 19 February 1938.

A large and imposing memorial stone column in the Melbourne General Cemetery records Josephine’s death and those of her immediate family members. The epitaph on the memorial reads: In loving memory of Josephine dearly loved wife of John ANDERSON of Clifton Hill who died 11 Jan 1914, age 57 years also Ethel loved daughter of the above who died 12 Dec 1884, age 7 years 11 months also the above John ANDERSON who died 19 Feb 1938, age 83 years also their loved daughter Florence Josephine, who died 22 Jul 1935. 

House Photo 1

Imposing memorial, Ninth Avenue, MGC

House Photo 2

Memorial to Josephine and family

Life Summary

Birth Date Birth Place
1857 Epsom, Victoria
Spouse Name Date of Marriage Children
John Anderson, 1855 - 1938 20 September 1876, St Paul's Church of England, Bendigo Ethel Sarah Elizabeth, 1877 – 1884, Florence Josephine, 1878 - 1925
Home Addresses
Home Street Home City Status of Building
35 - 41 Spensley Street Clifton Hill Extant
Work Addresses
Work Street Work City Status of Building
The Royal Hotel, Spensley Street Clifton Hill Extant
Church Lodge
Church of England
Death Date Death Place Cemetery
11 January 1914 Clifton Hill Melbourne General Cemetery

October 2022, from

Billion Graves (2022) Melbourne General Cemetery. Retrieved 18 October 2022, from

Collingwood Historical Society Inc (2015) Clifton Hill Hotels – Royal Hotel. Retrieved 18 August 2022 from,

Lewis N. (2021) Royal Hotel Heritage Review, 27 June, Nigel Lewis Pty Ltd.

The Argus (1887) Metropolitan Licensing CourtOpposed Transfers, 01 April, p. 9. Trove, National Library of Australia. Retrieved 13 August 2022, from

The Argus (1889) Metropolitan Licensing Court, Granting of certificates and licenses, 31 October, p. 11. Trove, National Library of Australia. Retrieved 13 August 2022, from

The Argus (1901) Marriages, Anderson - Graham (Silver Wedding Anniversary), 21 September, p. 9. Trove, National Library of Australia. Retrieved 13 August 2022, from

The Argus (1905) At rest – Graham, Donald Ernest, 24 October, p. 1. Trove, National Library of Australia. Retrieved 13 August 2022, from

The Argus (1914) Funeral Notices – Anderson, 13 January, p. 1. Trove, National Library of Australia. Retrieved 13 August 2022, from

The Argus (1914) Personal, Wills and estates – Josephine Anderson, 23 February, p. 9. Trove, National Library of Australia. Retrieved 13 August 2022, from

The Elmore Standard (1893) Shocking accident, 14 July, p. 2. Trove, National Library of Australia. Retrieved 13 August 2022, from

Clare Wright (2001) Of public houses and private lives: female hotelkeepers as domestic entrepe=reneurs, Australian Histroical Studies, 32: 116, 57-75, DOI: 10.1080

Online Image links

Architectural drawings by George Jobbins, held at State Library of Victoria: