Kelly’s Motor Club Hotel is a 4th generation hotel dating back to the early 1900s. Kelly’s has long been an integral part of Cranbourne’s history alongside other fundamental industries that have formed a major part of Cranbourne’s historical identity, including dairy farming, market gardening & horse, trotting & greyhound racing (Cranbourne holds Australia’s only tri-code meeting).
In 1917, Arthur T Kelly purchased the Mornington Hotel, which was located on the present site that is now Kelly’s Hotel. The former hotel was aptly named for reasons it was in the parish of Mornington. The new pub was called Kelly’s Motor Club Hotel. Why that name ? Last century you had to be considered a “bona fide traveller” to get a beer on a Sunday. As you had to travel a certain distance from Melbourne to qualify, motor vehicle owners came from far and wide to meet at Kelly’s. Once here, for entertainment, they made a local driving circuit starting and finishing at the pub.
After serving with the 37th squadron of the R.A.A.F, Flight Lieutenant Thomas Arthur Kelly (Arthurs son), returned to take over as publican & together with his wife Betty, managed the hotel for 30 years.
Tom & Betty had two children, Margaret & Arthur, and alongside Margaret’s husband, Alan Stocks & Arthur’s wife Carol, successfully transformed Kelly’s into the hotel it is today. Together they observed the social changes of the hotel industry including the end of 6 o’clock closing, responsible serving of alcohol, gaming & anti smoking laws.
The tradition continues today into the 4th generation of the family, with Kelly’s sitting at the centre of a fast growing, vibrant and diverse community.