Edward James McCarthy (Snr) founded the salt works at Pink Lake (Lake Spencer) under the name of EJ McCarthy and Co. He first set up a horse-works and crusher in a large shed near his house, set back off Dempster Street on Lot 61. Salt was carted in by drays, the track winding through the sand hills.

The Esperance Hotel was built by Josiah (Joe Norman) for John Purchase. The hotel bar opened on 14th November.

The first coach departed Esperance Bay to Dundas and Norseman on May 15th. 1896. The coaches and the horses had arrived by sea. G.W. Gray & Co general merchant trading in Esperance had become the agent for I .J .Cohn who had also won the weekly mail contract to Dundas and Norseman. The coaches stayed overnight at Salmon Gums Wayside Hotel.

The outbreak of typhoid in the late 1800s saw the establishment of Esperance’s first Hospital when townspeople made a deputation to Doctor Earnest Black requesting him to file an application for a government hospital. The hospital was built by John Winfield and consisted of two wards, a nurse’s room, bathroom, servant room, kitchen, storeroom and wash-house. Jarrah framework tents could accommodate a further eight patients if required.

Extensions were added to the Pier hotel at this time as the population of Esperance had increased without any accommodation facilities built.

The jetty extensions commenced in 1896. The project was secured by AB Wright with a tender of 499 pounds 10 shillings and 4 pence. An inaugural ceremony was held with Mayor of Esperance, Thomas Edwards and Mrs Edwards invited to drive the first pile.

The Esperance Brewery was opened in October, situated in Dempster street Lot 55 (Bijou Theatre was west on Lot 57). The brewery was run by Germans Mr Louis Weise and Mr John Desterbeque. The building was constructed from timber and galvanised iron and had a tower, of which bags of barley and other grains were hoisted up to the top floor using pulleys and ropes. Inside the building was a wood burning boiler and steam engine and the cellar floor was used for spreading grain out on to ferment.


From “The West Australian” Saturday 12th Sep. 1896

The licensing meeting occupied two days. Two licenses were refused – for Gibson Soak and Swan Lagoon, and an application for a colonial wine license was adjourned. Mr. E .J. McCarthy applied for a provisional certificate for a new hotel in Dempster Street near Dempster’s. It was intended to build a brick and stone structure at a cost of 6000 pounds. The plans showed a handsome building. The application was adjourned until the next day, the plans being lodged a day too late. All applications were opposed by the Police and Mr. Fienburg on behalf of other publicans.


From “The West Australian” Tuesday 8th December 1896

Esperance. 7th December
At the licensing court today, G.H. Bostock was granted a renewal of a license to destroy wild cattle. The following business was also transacted: – H. M. Downes, Spirit merchants license granted; G.W. Gray , ditto granted; J Purchas, Publicans general license granted. D. Fienburg application for a Publican’s general license was adjourned until the next day owing to an informality; A. H. McKenzie, license of Royal Hole granted; Annie Opay, Pier Hotel, granted; T. S. Duckley, Gallon license granted. E .J. McCarthy application for a provisional certificate for big brick building in Dempster Street, adjoining Bijou Theatre, costing 7000 pounds, was opposed by Mr. Hardy, solicitor, and the police, the latter on the grounds that the proposed establishment would bring disturbances into a peaceful neighbourhood. Adjourned until the next Day.


Chaff Famine 1896

FJ Daw Store Sale1896



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