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Monaghan's Hotel at Edjudina - a Ghost Town

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By Ms Louise Clarkson

 

“Their equal in the weary world We never more shall find; Their hearts were always in our home: they toiled and did their best, Until there came a sudden call, And God called them to their rest.”

Dorothy and Clifton Monaghan placed this ‘In Memorium’ for both their parents, after their mothers’ death in 1915. This was a sad end to a small family’s hopes and dreams. James John Monaghan and Letitia Jane Whitfield married in South Australia on the 10th of February 1896. The ceremony was held at the home of the bride’s father – possibly due to the fact that it was a marriage between a Roman Catholic groom and a Protestant bride. Both, however, were of Irish roots. James and Letitia travelled to the Edjudina area in WA, and here their first child was born in 1896, son James John Monaghan. While there is a birth registration, there is no death or burial recorded for this child, and it's possible he died soon after birth. By 1903, when the photo below was published, James and Letitia had two more children, and it's reasonable to assume they are the children in the photo – Clifton Francis Monaghan, aged 6 and Dorothy Monaghan, aged 4. Monaghan’s Hotel appears to have been doing well.

But suddenly, in November 1905, James Monaghan died (probably a heart attack). The inquest noted information about alcohol being a contributing factor. Letitia took over the lease of the hotel and applied for the requisite billiard-table license and Wayside House license. However, in late January 1906, the Hotel, made from iron, wood and hessian, burnt to the ground. It appears it was not insured, and the fire was said to have started in a servant’s room. The place was gutted and those in the hotel were lucky to get out alive. After this, Letitia put the Hotel up for sale, and Francis Joseph Monaghan, James’ brother, who had been living in Edjudina, bought the property, re-built the Hotel and lived in the area as hotel owner, storekeeper and pastoralist for the rest of his life. He died, a bachelor, in 1935 and is buried in Kalgoorlie Cemetery.

Clifton Monaghan fought in two world wars, married, and had children. Dorothy married too, and had one child, Willian John Rippon, who died at 20, while felling trees in South Gippsland. Part of this Blog Post will be uploaded to the People of Western Australia's Ghost Towns Project website on Wednesday, 19 June. 

 

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