In the mid 1850’s Henry Talbett had a well established punter service operating across the Wakool River. It became an obvious extension of business to provide travelers with rest and sustenance and thus the original Wakool Hotel was built on the banks of the river.
Seen here it is a large building made from the local timber – Murray Pine. Drop log construction whereby two upright posts had the logs layered between them to form the walls. The brick layer was John Madden from Swan Hill.
This building endured until 1900 when the existing hotel was built by a partnership of John Spinks and Duncan McInnes. Local mythology has the original building burning down however there is no documentary evidenced to support this. It is more likely that after 50 years its time had come. Also being built on the banks of the Wakool * it was flood prone.
* Early maps show the Wakool River being known as the KYALITE river.
Henry Talbett came out to Australia on the Clipper Allen Ker in 1841. A man of some means and a carpenter. He quickly found work in the new colony. In 1848 He expanded his business interests into frieght - buying a bullock team and dray.
In 1849 He bought his brother John out from England and in 1882 they became the first Registered Licensees of the Wakool Inn ( now Kyalite Pub).
After selling the business in 1889 Henry and John retruned to Melbourne.
Below is family is John Talbetts family taken outside the family home "Elm Grove" Box Hill Victoria.
John is rear left, his son Moore is rear right