"Live for the day —
let tomorrow take care of itself."

Men from all nations sit down at the same table and drink from the same bowl, they each talk and sing in their own tongue, and get drunk according to their own peculiar fashion, quarrel, jangle, fight and embrace as their natures dictate and … reel off to their respective beds.

About Captain Melville’s

For over 150 years, the bluestone walls of this famed establishment have provided solace and sustenance to Melbournians and visitors alike. Now housing Captain Melville, it has become the destination for accessible dining, imbibing and revelry – all within Melbourne’s oldest public house.

From the same team that brought Melbourne Miss Libertine, comes a more grown-up offering.

Captain Melville's captures the spirit of our country and allows like-minded souls to come together to satisfy their need for relaxation after a hard day’s work.

Captain Melville (1822-1857)

CAPTAIN MELVILLE was a man with a devilish spirit and a sense of adventure. He was transported from Scotland to Van Diemen's Land at the age of 15 but rehabilitation was not in his nature and he constantly escaped—facing the wrath of the courts each time he was apprehended.

Liberty or death was one of his catchcries.

In 1851 he made his way to Victoria, leaving behind his birth name, Francis McCallum, and adopting the name Captain Melville—a name fit for a gentleman. The legend of Captain Melville had begun: he was the master of his fate; the captain of his soul.

While the new-found gold of Victoria held great attraction for Melville, he had no intention of breaking his back digging and panning. And as for rules and regulations, fees and licences—none held any appeal. For Melville, life as a bushranger was far more thrilling—and profitable.

Melville's notoriety grew and grew—to some he was a hero, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor; to others he was a scoundrel. Fact and fiction merged. But even admirers have their price and the offer of a reward became too much for one. Melville was betrayed while enjoying the comforts of a Geelong brothel.

He came before Judge Redmond Barry, the most famous jurist of the era. Barry gave him 32 years but Melville once again made a run for it—'Adieu to Victoria' he yelled when freedom looked likely. Soon after he again found himself locked up and in the courts. He was sentenced to death.

'If I am to be sentenced to death, I am prepared to die, not as a ruffian or villain, but as a man who will meet his death undeservedly.' So undeservedly, he believed, that he made legal history by challenging his escape charges on a technicality—and winning. He acted as his own counsel.

Yet freedom was not his. He still faced the years in prison he had yet to serve. On 12 August 1857, Melville was found dead in his cell, strangled. Whether by his own hand or that of someone else has never been determined .

"Liberty or Death"

A chronological list of Melville's punishments
14th Oct 1841 Disorderly conduct in his gang and insolence.
25 stripes on the breech.
6th Jan 1842 Disorderly and violent to a fellow-prisoner.
5 days solitary confinement.
2nd Apr 1842 Disobedience of orders. 1 month hard labour in chains.
6th Dec 1842 Misconduct. 6 days solitary confinement.
13th Mar 1843 Idleness. 3 days solitary confinement.
25th Apr 1843 Disobedience of orders. 1 month hard labour in chains.
29th May 1843 Disobedience of orders. 1 month hard labour in chains.
3rd Jun 1843 Misconduct. 36 stripes.
8th Aug 1843 Disobedience of orders. 7 days solitary confinement.
13th Sep 1843 Misconduct in having two books improperly in his possession.
2 months hard labour in chains.
29th Mar 1845 Absent without authority and being in the upper floor of the mill, the door of which was broken open. 9 months hard labour in chains.
9th Jun 1845 Misconduct. 36 lashes.
29th Feb 1846 Misconduct. 7 days solitary confinement.

Mac hotel

A brief history

1853 Mac's Hotel designed by Webb Brothers and built by James Lawrence under instructions from John MacMillan. Captain Melville sentenced to 32 years' hard labour by Judge Redmond Barry.

1854 Mac's Hotel opens for business. Captain Melville sentenced to one month of solitary confinement for inciting prisoners.

1855 Mac's Hotel operates primarily as a stage-coach terminus, with facilities to store gold. Captain Melville plans escape with another bushranger, Billy Stevens.

About Captain Melville

For over 150 years, the bluestone walls of this famed establishment have provided solace and sustenance to Melbournians and visitors alike. Now housing Captain Melville, it has become the destination for accessible dining, imbibing and revelry – all within Melbourne’s oldest public house.

Captain Melville
(1822-1857)

CAPTAIN MELVILLE was a man with a devilish spirit and a sense of adventure. He was transported from Scotland to Van Diemen's Land at the age of 15 but rehabilitation was not in his nature and he constantly escaped · facing the wrath of the courts each time he was apprehended.

BOOK HERE