The 1870’s & 1880’s were a boom time in Mallala with many of the main buildings such as Mallala Hotel, Post Office, Institute, Primary School, Flour Mill & the Methodist, Catholic & Church of England Churches all being built in that period.
In the midst of this boom, in 1877, a two-storey hotel was built by Johannes Schirmer at 7 Adelaide Road, known as the Schirmers Family Hotel. It was an imposing building in Mallala at that time, - being dwarfed only by the new Flour Mill, built in the following year.
It is interesting to note that at this time, Johannes was the licensee of the Mallala Hotel – just across the paddock -somewhat a conflict of interest!
He relinquished his licence on the Mallala Hotel on 8th. June 1879 & commenced in the new hotel on 8th. December 1879. He transferred the licence to William Nicholls on 22nd. March 1881 who renamed it the Family Hotel. Johannes went back to Adelaide where he had had a long history in the hotel business, and freehold title was sold to Frank and Francis Botting, brewers of Hindmarsh on January 24th. 1882.
William Nicholls relinquished his licence on 21st. March 1882, and were followed by -
21-03-1882 to 22 -08- 1883. - George.C. Lowson
22-08-1883 to 29-12 -1886. - Thomas Henry South
Freehold title was again sold, on 4th. December 1886, to William Chambers & Frederick Blades, brewers of South Tce. Adelaide & the licensees following were-
29-12-1886 to 8-02-1887 - William Rowan
8-02-1887 to 10-03-1887 - Charles Jesse Garrood
The township of Mallala apparently could not support two hotels, for on 10th. March 1887 it was de-licensed and leased to Richard Northway, publican of the Mallala Hotel until 29th. March 1888 and then leased to Charles Heynen, also publican of the Mallala Hotel until 15th. April 1889.
Freehold was sold on 8th. December 1892 to William Birkinshaw Wilkinson, accountant, of Adelaide, then sold back to Messrs. Chambers & Blades on 12th. April 1893.
On 7th. April 1894 the property was sold to Reverend Thomas Weatherill, Primitive Methodist Minister of Mallala and it is possible that at this time it became known as Cleveland House. The Reverend’s nephew Arthur Weatherill, who had married the Reverend’s daughter Mabel in New York, came to Sth. Australia in 1911 & lived in Cleveland House. Arthur – nicknamed “Marker” because of his billiard room connections - worked at various times for East Bros, Curnows Garage and later as an agent for East Bros. During this time he closed the cellars, demolished the first storey except for one bathroom which continued to be used, with the stone being used to build his new home at 9 Balaklava Rd. Mallala. The upper floor balcony rail became the front fence for this property and is still intact to this day.
Sydney Dean Roberts, farmer of Mallala bought Cleveland house from Rev. Weatherill on 28th. July 1922 on a walk in- walk out basis. Sydney Robert’s wife Ellen operated Cleveland House as a boarding house, while Sydney worked as a labourer lumping bags of wheat, or as a contractor with horses and scoops, building the Mallala – Long Plains railway line. Their youngest daughter Viola was born at Cleveland House in February 1923 and her aged uncle was allowed to live in a stone outbuilding.
Cleveland House was sold to Edward Morton Richards, draper of Owen on 2nd. November 1923 and the front rooms on the northern corner of the building were used as a drapers shop. The sign at the front read “E.M. Richards Draper & Clothier”
In 1939 Mr. Albert.Edward [Bert] Pym, a local contracting builder and carpenter of Mallala heard that Mort. Richards was off to the war, and Cleveland House was for sale for ₤150. He travelled to Balaklava to see the selling agent only to be told the price was actually ₤250 but he still saw it as a bargain, and it was purchased by Grace Cabot, of Calomba on behalf of Bert Pym on 20th. January 1939. Mort.Richards called at Cleveland House shortly after on his way to Adelaide, dressed in his army uniform, to join his unit. He offered Bert Pym twice the amount that had been paid, but Bert was not interested – he had already started work on modifying the building.
Because the house in its present format was too big for him and also the front wall being badly affected by salt damp, Bert Pym demolished two of the front rooms and established a new façade to the building on the first line of the inside walls on the northern end; except for the southern front room. He realigned that wall by shifting it six feet inwards & erected the pillars of the veranda on that alignment. He then removed the remaining section of the upper floor and built a very high gabled roof in its place. The exposed cellars were filled with rubble from the demolished walls.
During the construction of the RAAF base at Mallala, the large yard area on the south side was used to store construction timbers for the base and a small saw mill was set up to cut the timber. He converted Cleveland House into four flats initially, living in the largest, and renting the others to personnel from the Mallala RAAF base.
Bert’s son Neville remembers the property in its original layout in the 1940’s. when the house came out to the footpath. There was a stone building also aligned to the footpath on the south side, consisting of three stables, coach shed & tack room. At the rear of the backyard there was a very deep, brick-lined well with a small stone building adjacent to house the pump and there was a large underground tank by the house. The garden area on the northern side was divided into three areas – at the front were roses, shrubs and lawn, the centre section was vegetables, and at the rear were rows of citrus & fruit trees with almond trees along the eastern boundary.[Butler St.]
Title of Cleveland House went to Bert Pym on 11th. June 1952 & on 18th. March 1953 he sold a portion of land on the northern side to Bennett & Fisher. In1954 he set up a regional pest control business from the property, and after his retirement it remained an appointment agency for the firm. In the mid fifties he sold land on the southern side to Archie Griffiths which included the stables & coach shed.
Cleveland House remained in the Pym family until 1991, when after the death of both Bert & his wife Glad, it was sold on 12th. December 1991 & has been occupied since then as a private residence.
In the Sands and Mc Dougall publications there are listings from 1913-1923 for A. Weatherill operating a billard saloon.