The History of Bluey’s
Originally serving as a blacksmith shop, Bluey Blundstone’s was built in 1865 by blacksmith William (Bluey) Blundstone (3rd from the right dressed in black in the first image). Bluey was born in Derby, England in 1833 and became a blacksmith by trade. At the age of 22 he sailed to Australia with his wife, Martha, aboard the ‘Grand Trianon’.
Bluey and Martha had 6 children but sadly their first born died at sea from malnutrition and two of their children, Frederick and Julia, died before they reached the age of 3. Their remains are buried in the park next door to Bluey’s which was the original Melrose Cemetery.
As one of the three blacksmith shops in Melrose at the time, Bluey Blundstone’s provided for the mounted police force, located directly across the road, and wider community.
Whilst the simplicity of life in Melrose during the 1850’s paints a beautiful picture, people living in rural Australia also faced many hardships during this period. A local newspaper article c1860 gives insight into one of the challenges Bluey faced;
“Our blacksmith, Mr Blundstone, met with rather a serious accident last week. While engaged in the smithy he received a kick from a horse, which cut open the side of his face and broke his collar-bone. The injuries were somewhat severe, but I am happy to state that under the skilful treatment of our butcher, Mr Yates, he is recovering fast. It no doubt sounds rather fierce in the ears of some of our city friends to talk of running for the butcher in cases of accident, but it creates no alarm whatever at Melrose. Our butcher is no-doubt somewhat skilled in anatomy; at any rate Mr Yates and his kind lady have done good service to this neighbourhood in cases of illness when no medical assistance can be obtained. Whenever an accident occurs our first words are, “we want a doctor up in the north”.”
Bluey’s blacksmith shop closed in 1914 it’s believed Bluey was of extremely good health, living to the grand age of 75. He died in Glenelg on 3/10/1908.
Following the end of the blacksmith shop, the premises was used as a carpenters shop for 30 years before being lovingly restored into the beautiful piece of heritage we enjoy today.
In the 1980’s a young couple, David Ball and Glynis Spencer bought the property and set about restoring what had become a run down derelict property into a fully restored and magnificent preservation of it’s history. In the early 1990’s they received a Heritage Award for their efforts and transformed Bluey’s into a thriving restaurant and accommodation.
Bluey’s has changed hands with many owners since this time, each giving Bluey’s their own piece of love, inspiration and effort to make Bluey’s what it is today.
- William “Bluey” Blundstone pictured 3rd from the right with other members of the Melrose Community (even a little dog on the knee of one fellow)
- Bluey Blundstones c1920 operating as a carpenters shop
- The peak of the Bluey Blundstone’s wall as it is today
- Bluey’s in approximately 1990, not long after the restoration works began
- The Blacksmiths shop in 2020
- David Ball and Glynis Spencer receiving their Heritage Award in 1992
- Bluey’s Loft space with the old staircase used before the latter added spiral staircase currently used – c1992
- The rear of Bluey’s during the construction and addition of The Cottage around 1992 – the stone was obtained from an old stone house property in Willmington and carted back to Bluey’s and built in the same historic methods as the main Blacksmith’s shop residence.
- David Ball’s old 1930’s Dodge flat top ute (used to cart the stones to build the cottage) parked under the Barn – c1992