Rediscovering Ginninderra: A database:
Morris 'Mon' Lazarus
Born: 1856; Died: 1934; Married: 1. Elizabeth Gabriel, 2. Margaret Hatch
Morris ('Mon') Lazarus came from a well-known Queanbeyan family. He was born in 1856, the son of Nathan Lazarus and Harriet (nee Tilden), and the first of their ten children. Nathan was a businessman who became prominent in civic affairs, being elected Mayor of Queanbeyan in 1891. In 1893 he was elected Vice President of the Queanbeyan School of Arts. He built a fine two-storied shop and residence on Macquoid Street, Queanbeyan. A number of his other children remained in Queanbeyan, where the Lazarus name is well known. When Harriet died in 1924 aged 100, the Queanbeyan Age reported that she left 48 grandchildren and 73 great grandchildren.
Morris (originally 'Maurice' it seems) Lazarus first married Elizabeth Gabriel, but she died in 1895, their six children including twins of only a few weeks, one of whom died not long after Elizabeth. They ran a greengrocery in Queanbeyan. In 1902 the widower Mon Lazarus married Margaret Sophia Hatch (known as ‘Doll’), the daughter of William and Margaret Nugent Hatch of Rosewood, Hall. When he married Margaret, Mon's five surviving children were aged from sixteen to seven. Mon and Doll were to have two children of their own - Mary Francis (b.1903) and John Joseph ('Jack') (b. 1908).
In August 1905, they purchased the Cricketers' Arms hotel from Susannah Hollingsworth, who had been licensee since the death of her husband Malachi Hollingsworth in 1898. While Ginninderra was new for Mon, for Doll it was a return home; she had grown up at 'Rosewood' on the Hatch family farm which shared a boundary with the 80 acre property of the Cricketer's Arms. Mon was to be the longest serving licensee (1905-1918).
In 1905 they disposed of their Queanbeyan fruit and grocery business to Mr Richardson, a hair-dresser, and announced the intention to 'thoroughly renovate and improve the buildings' at the hotel they had just acquired.
Mon Lazarus became actively involved in his new community. In 1906, on the motion of 'Eb' Brown and Colin Southwell, he was elected President of the newly formed Hall Progress Association. The Queanbeyan Age reported that same year that 'this well known hostelry [Cricketers Arms Hotel] has made great strides in popular favour since it came under the management of Mr M Lazarus its present popular proprietor… '.
In 1917 the Minister for Home Affairs, King O’Malley, prohibited the selling of alcohol in the new Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Previously, another North American, Walter Burley Griffen, had criticised the excessive drinking taking place at the hotel by the workmen employed on the new capital. The Cricketers’ Arms, the only pub in the FCT, was forced to close within six months.
It has been definitely decided by the Minister for Home Affairs that the historic Hotel at One Tree Hill, must close six months hence. The genial landlord will have the right of removing his licence to any part of the Queanbeyan District. That ‘Mon’ will be missed from the neighbourhood all will admit and the need for some place of accommodation in the locality will be sorely felt. It is generally thought that the move on the part of the Government in closing the pub is to force ‘Mon’ into the ranks and also to increase the speed of motors from Yass to Queanbeyan. [Queanbeyan Age 15.6.1917]
A year later closure of the 'Arms' was a done deed, and the Age speculated about the aftermath: "Dame Rumour has it that our genial host of the Cricketers Arms is likely to transfer his license to an hotel in the Campbelltown district. The closing of the local hotel is generally considered a short sighted policy which will eventually lead to much inconvenience and hardship to tourist and travellers. The old hotel has been in existence for 53 years and is one of the oldest landmarks in the district. It is also probable that after the license of the hotel is cancelled the local police station will be removed or converted into a home for a returned soldier." [Queanbeyan Age (Ginninderra correspondent) 9.4.1918]
A Clearance sale was advertised in April, and the family was given a send-off in May: "A large gathering of fully one hundred friends of Mr and Mrs M Lazarus assembled in Kinlyside’s Hall on Thursday night to entertain them at a social evening and make a presentation. Mr M Cavanagh was in the chair. Mr Charles Thompson was called on to make the presentation. Mr Lazarus mentioned that he was going into business at Appin." [Queanbeyan Age 28.5.1918]
In June 1918 the licence was relinquished and the Lazarus family moved to Appin, where they took over the Royal Hotel. William and Elizabeth (nee Bard), Doll's youngest brother and sister-in-law - their neighbours in Ginninderra - also moved to the Appin district, and their family friendship was continued. After a hard fought legal battle with the Commonwealth, Lazarus was eventually compensated over £3,000 for the loss of his business and land.
Mon Lazarus died in 1934, and the following obituary appeared in the Queanbeyan Age:
The death occurred at Kensington yesterday morning of Mr Morris Lazarus formerly of Queanbeyan. Deceased was a son of the late Mr and Mrs NM Lazarus and followed the occupation of painter and also had fruit and greengrocery business in Monaro St for some time. Afterwards he became a licensee of the One Tree Hill Hotel at Ginninderra which he conducted for many years. On leaving Ginninderra he conducted a hotel at Appin and on selling out his interest there went to live at Kensington. Following an operation he passed away as stated. His second wife (formerly Miss M Hatch) survives him and two children. There were five children by his first wife four of whom are living. Messrs Alfred, Isaiah and Henry Lazarus of Queanbeyan and Messrs Joseph, Frank and Ernest are brothers of deceased. [Queanbeyan Age 11.12.1934].
Margaret survived him by almost a decade:"Report of the death on January 21 at her residence in Carlton St Kensington of Mrs Margaret S Lazarus, relict of the late Morris Lazarus who for many years conducted the Cricketers Arms Hotel at Hall. Mrs Lazarus who was 81 years of age was the third daughter of the late Mr and Mrs William Hatch of Rosewood, Hall. She is survived by a daughter Miss Mary Lazarus of Kensington and a son, Mr John Lazarus of Sydney. [Queanbeyan Age 9.2.1943]
- Gillespie, L. L., Canberra: 1820-1913, Canberra, 1991
- Gillespie, L. L., Ginninderra: Forerunner to Canberra, Campbell, 1992
- Lea-Scarlett, E., Queanbeyan: District and People, Queanbeyan, 1968
- Purchase, S. (ed.), Canberra’s Early Hotels: a Pint-sized History, Canberra, 1999
- Smith, L. R., Memories of Hall, Canberra, 1975