Black Friday

Welcome to this week's Cocktail O'Clock, where we enjoy a sip of history with a tale to share.

Today we look back at Black Friday, with a focus on the frequency of fires sparking my attention...

2 months before The Plough Hotel opened at this site in 1861, William Jenkin's Pentland Hotel, a weatherboard structure, was destroyed by fire due to the careless, yet accidental, use of a candle while preparing bedding for the night. Sadly, a lodger at the Hotel, ironically named Peter Burns, was burned to death, with several others escaping without harm. William Jenkins risked his own life and managed to save his children, but not all of his buildings.

In July 1868 a large haystack belonging to Thomas Ryan, owner of The Plough Hotel caught fire. Enthusiastic neighbours quickly extinguished the flames before losing the entire stack. The fire was attributed to "frolicsome and mischievous children", who had access to lucifers while playing close to the stack.

The Myrniong Mechanics Institute was built of bluestone in 1870 however it was destroyed by fire in 1930. It was quickly rebuilt into the splendid hall that we still enjoy today.

Conversely, in 1861, The Plough Inn was constructed of weatherboard and was destroyed by fire in 1901, reportedly being started in The Stables. Horses were lost, as were the outbuildings. By the end of that year, the building we stand in today was erected, using bluestone.

In 1888, Mr Robertson, owner of the local store, suffered a huge loss due to a fire. A community fund-raiser was arranged in the form of entertainment and singers. Mrs Kerr, from The Plough Hotel, provided her piano for the occasion.

Mrs Kerr must have known something as 3 years later, her hotel fell victim to a peculiar fire in an unoccupied servant's bedroom. Upon examination of the room, once the small fire was extinguished, two burn holes were found in the mattress. It was quickly reported as being a wilful act of arson, possibly from a previous employee!

And the list goes on, however, I do want to share with you this week's cocktail.


50 mL vanilla vodka

20 mL Kahlua

Mix together with ice

Strain into Old Fashioned glass 

Top up with fresh ice

GARNISH (options): Cherry on a skewer


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