Midland Hotel of Castlemaine

What is an Hotel?

And what is the difference between
the terms Hotel and Pub in Australia?

Old black and white photo of The Midland Hotel, external.

By definition a hotel's main function is to provide accommodation for travellers.

A pub, short for Public House or Ale House, is an establishment
whose main function is to serve alcohol, mostly beer.

Until recently (late 1980s) pubs were forced, by the liquor laws, to provide accommodation
and so were rightly called hotels but in reality they were public houses or taverns in disguise.
The governments reasoning was that, since Australia was so sparcely populated, travellers had no where to stay when travelling through, or to, small communities. And the pubs were makeing lots of money from beer, so they could stand the expense of providing a service.

However, the Pubs' accommodation was given little attention for that is not where their profits lay.
And now, even though this requirement has been removed,
these establishment's names as hotels, are so well established
that they cannot be changed to reflect what they really are.

Private hotels were set up as pure hotels.
They did not have a public bar, although a private bar was acceptable,
and built their business soley on the accommodation.
They were generally more exclusive accommodation establishments
as they did not have the noise and squalor of a public bar.
Private hotels were then the boutique hotels of their day.

In the Australian psyche of the time, however, this translated into "not quite right".
As private hotels could not support their businesses without the sale of vast quantities of
beer, these establishment went into decline. The Midland was one of the few that survived.

Within this historical context The Midland is a private hotel with a private bar that is open to the public.
It does have a liquor license but it's main function is still
the provision of accommodation to travellers to Castlemaine.

Not a bit confusing. I suggest that it is a licensed hotel but not a pub.

Everything is changing as the old fashioned pubs are now also
struggling with the change in drinking habits and the Australian lifestyle and culture.
Physical work and therefore thirst has declined,
leading many pubs to morph into restaurants or poker machines venues,
in a bid to survive and thrive.

All distinctions are now being blurred.
What is the difference now, between a cafe and a restaurant?
Or a gastropub and a restaurant with a bar?

The old labels are becoming less relevant.

And a Motel?

What is the difference between the terms
Hotel and Motel in Australia?

The late comer. What doth a motel make?

Both hotels and motels were set up to accommodate travellers
but motels specialised in catering to the motoring traveller.
Befor the fifties the only people that could afford a car were the moderately rich
and the professionals such as doctors and lawyers.
However, through the fifties, car ownership became more widespread
and so it was natural that this new accommodation market was provided for.

It is essential that the car is parked outside the room
so that the luggage is easily and conveniently transfered backward and forward.
The rooms are totally self contained, ensuring the minimum of contact
between host and guests - an almost self service hotel.
Motels were designed as pitstops. A place to crash.
A place to shower, sleep and resume your drive along route 66.
Motels appeared in the fifties and sixties and were new, modern, exciting and above all, convenient.

When the first motel appeared in Castlemaine the elderly Mrs Bailie owned
The Midland and ran a traditional private hotel.
At that time, it had been in her family for nearly 100 years
and had a mix of both medium and short stay guests such as
commercial travellers, relieving teachers, relieving bank managers and overnight guests.
With the opening of the motel, however, they all left to stay at the new place
and then all promptly returned, the next night, to Mrs Bailie and their familiar home.
It was a testament to Mrs Bailie's hospitality. However, this business was lost
when Mrs Bailie sold to an investor in 1972.

Link to our hotel's History


The Shops at 4 Templeton St., Castlemaine.

The small wine bar.


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The Midland, 2 Templeton St., Castlemaine Vic. 3450 Australia.


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