Brian Phillips
Image: Rene Barnes
FatherThomas James Phillips b. 2 May 1897, d. 8 Dec 1980
MotherIrene Gladys 'Sis' McDonald b. 4 Apr 1903, d. 17 Jul 1987

Birth, Death, Marriage

Brian Maxwell Phillips married Maureen Therese McMahon on 7 February 1968 in St James' church, Gardenvale, Victoria.1 


Maureen Therese McMahon
ChartsCampbell, John, descendant chart
McDonald, Archibald, descendant chart
O'Loughlin, Michael, descendant chart
Phillips, James, descendant chart
Steer, Edward, descendant chart


Brian Maxwell was born in 1936. He was the sixth and youngest child of Irene and Thomas.2
Early Life 
In March 1928, Tom put the Nixon St house up for sale. It was advertised as having six rooms (one more than when purchased in 1924), bathroom, washhouse and electric light. Terms were half cash, £100 in six months, balance in 30 months and 6½ per cent interest. It wasn't sold.

Between 1924 and 1931, the address (in the Shepparton rates or electoral roll) is 62 Nixon St. From 1933 to 1937, it is 16 Nixon St. They didn't move, this was due to streets being renumbered.

The youngest three children, Rene, Don and Brian, were born while the family was in the Nixon St home. All six children spent some of their time growing up in Nixon St, though for the youngest Brian, not very long.3,4,5,6,7,8
Pine Lodge Hotel 
The family had their first taste of what life could be like while living in a pub, when they moved into the Pine Lodge Hotel in Shepparton East in 1938.

The three older boys were boarding at Assumption College in Kilmore, returning three times a year during school holidays. At home they lived in an old cable car under the peppercorn tree. In summer the mosquitoes were so bad they burned cow pats to keep them away.9,10,11
While at the hotel, Rene and Don went to the nearby Shepparton East school. Brian had not yet started school.

While Tom was busy running the business, it was also a very busy time for Sis. As well as looking after the children and the usual domestic duties, she also worked the bar and kitchen. There was also a lot of night trading, which hotelkeepers had to do to survive in the days of six o'clock closing. Despite all this, Sis found time to be involved with the Shepparton East branch of the Country Women's Association.10,9
Sis Phillips and Effie Lee were cousins. Around 1939, Effie stayed with Sis and the family at the Pine Lodge Hotel where Tom found work for her. Effie greatly enjoyed being with Tom, Sis and the three youngest children, Rene, Don and Brian (the oldest three were at boarding school in Kilmore). The camera recorded an occasion when they all dressed up a day at the Shepparton Show.

There were two Albanians known as Sam and Louie who did work for Tom and lived at the back of the hotel. They made a necklace with intricate beadwork for Rene and another for Effie. Rene still had her necklace 80 years later.12,13,14
Mum's Major Lung Operation 
Around 1940, Sis had a major operation in which one lung was removed. It came about suddenly following a haemorrhage. Sis was taken from Shepparton to a hospital in East Melbourne, possibly St Vincents or St Ives, where the operation took place.

The three eldest boys, Jack, Reg and Laurie were at Assumption College in Kilmore at the time. One day at morning rosary the Brothers announced to everyone that the boys' mother was about to have a serious operation and that they should all say a few prayers for them.

The family rallied around to help. Sis's mum came up from Melbourne to help look after Rene, Don & Brian. Sis spent time recovering at the home of her sister-in-law Tess in Essendon. And her sister Bub helped out with the kids and housework when Sis returned home.15,16,17
Orr Street Home
Tom bought the weatherboard residence at 77 Orr St from Mr Ben Seth in July 1941, though the family likely lived there earlier.18
Between moving out of the Pine Lodge Hotel in early 1940 and into the Orr St home, the family lived in a house in Nixon St, near Harold St.

Tom was then involved in a number of business ventures including the Court House Hotel, where Sis also worked for a while.

When they bought the Hotel Australia, they kept the Orr St house which the whole family called home for several more months. And years later, two sons lived there after they married.15,19,10
Brian left school after Intermediate.20
Hotel Australia Home 
For a more comprehensive account of the Phillips family's time at the Hotel Australia, see House of Phillips.

Although the family's official commencement at the Hotel Australia was November 1944, Tom and Sis still lived at Orr St for several months before moving. Sis was keen to move in but Tom insisted that her sister Bub would need to help out first.

At the time, Jack, Reg and Laurie were about 21, 20 and 19. Jack and Reg were serving in the Second World War and Laurie was about to do the same. Rene was about 15, Don 13 and Brian 8, and so were still at school.

Jack, Reg and Laurie moved into the hotel as they returned from the war, so Jack around February 1946, Reg March 1946 and Laurie January 1948.19,13
The 'Cupboard' was a small room under the stairwell where after hours drinking would occur, often well into the night. Unfortunately for Sis, the stairwell was near their bedroom causing many a disrupted sleep.
Time Gentlemen, Please!: At about 6:10 pm the head barman in the main bar would shout 'Time gentlemen, please!', meaning it was time to drink up as the bar was about to close. After everyone shuffled out, there would be a tap-tap-tap on the front door with a coin, and the hardier ones would sneak in again and meet in the 'Cupboard' to continue drinking. The drinkers would be from all walks of life, including cops. Tom recalls times when it seemed like there were a hundred blokes in there - it was packed and noisy.21
Rene recalls: When the drinkers got a bit rowdy while drinking late at night in the 'Cupboard', Sis would drop a little soap into one of their pots. She said 'you get to be a pretty good shot after a while'.22,13
The family's living arrangements changed as the children married. Reg was first to wed, marrying Madge in March 1948, and they lived in the Orr St home. In 1952 they returned to the hotel with baby Michael and stayed until soon after Susan was born in 1953, when they moved into their newly constructed home in Maude St.

Rene was second to marry, and in 1952 moved to Warrnambool with new husband Keith Barnes. The couple's friendship developed when Keith was staying at the hotel while he was an announcer at nearby 3SR radio station.

Laurie closely followed Rene, when later in 1951 he married Lorraine and they moved into a home in Maude St.

Jack married Cass in 1952 and they moved into the Orr St home, prompting Reg and Madge to return to the hotel.13
Don and Marion married in 1958 and initiially moved out. They made the hotel their home around 1964 and remained there with sons Trevor and Paul until around 1973.

Brian and Maureen married in 1968 and daughter Peta was born when they lived in the hotel. The three moved out around 1972.
Hotel Australia Work 
All six children worked at the Hotel Australia, though probably only the five boys were paid. Jack, Reg and Laurie began working as they returned from the war, so Jack around February 1946, Reg March 1946 and Laurie January 1948. Tom had developed heart problems when serving in the war and so had limited physical abiliy. And Sis was limited having had a lung removed a few years earlier.
Tiny Moylan and the cellar: One night, locksmith genius, wag and trick cyclist Leo 'Tiny' Moylan, the only man who could ride a bike down Mt Major backwards mounted on the handlebars, rode into the cellar in the 'snake pit' before a crowd of patrons crying with laughter.23
TJ Phillips & Sons
When Tom leased the Hotel Australia from Dunnes in November 1944 for £25 a week, there were no partners in the business.

Tom Phillips and his family purchased the Hotel Australia in mid-1948. The lease had included an option to purchase and by 1948 Dunnes were finally persuaded to sell. In August 1948, Tom's licence was transferred to the new partnership of TJ Phillips & Sons. This partnership consisted of Tom and the three eldest sons, Jack, Reg and Laurie.

All five boys have held shares in the business, but never all at the same time. The first half of 1955 saw major changes in the company structure. In April 1955, they formed a proprietary limited company consisting of Tom, Sis, Jack, Laurie, Don and 19 year old Brian. Reg took his share from the earlier partnership to persue other business ventures. Sis was now part of the company structure for the first time, as were Don and Brian. Between them, Tom and Sis had a small majority share holding. Tom was nominee in the new company and Jack was company secretary.

TJ Phillips & Sons was liquidated in November 1981.24
Marriage and Family
Maureen Therese McMahon and Brian Maxwell Phillips were married at St James' church in Gardenvale on 7 February 1968. They had four children.1
The Twins' 80th Birthday Celebration 
When twins Nene and Sis turned 80 in 1983, the family gathered to mark the occasion.


  1. [S171] '[no title]', The Age, 1854-, newspaper, 8 February 1968, p. 14, viewed 21 September 2019.
  2. [S55] Maureen Phillips, personal communication.
  3. [S201] 'Watch this: Shepparton town land sale', Shepparton Advertiser, 1914-1953, newspaper, Thomas Pettit and William Callender, 1 March 1928, p. 5, viewed 5 May 2019,
  4. [S392] Australia, Electoral Rolls 1903-1980, online, Commonwealth division of Echuca, state division of Goulburn Valley, subdivision of Shepparton, 1931 & 1936.
  5. [S233] Shepparton Shire & Town Rates Index, 1885-1939/1941, computer file, Shepparton Family History Group, Phillips entries.
  6. [S392] Australia, Electoral Rolls 1903-1980, online, division of Echuca, subdivision of Shepparton, 1934.
  7. [S392] Australia, Electoral Rolls 1903-1980, online, Commonwealth division of Indi, Victorian division of Goulburn Valley, subdivision of Shepparton, 1937.
  8. [S550] 'stage II: Heritage place datasheets, vol. 4 datasheets Murchison -Z, 2004', Greater Shepparton Heritage Studies, online, GSCC, 2001-, viewed September 2019,…
  9. [S15] Irene Barnes, personal communication, 5 December 2012.
  10. [S32] Laurie Phillips, personal communication, 31 August 2019.
  11. [S32] Laurie Phillips, personal communication, 27 July 2019.
  12. [S148] John Forrester, personal communication, 12 January 2012.
  13. [S15] Irene Barnes, personal communication, 4 December 2013.
  14. [S126] Peter Phillips, personal knowledge or recollection.
  15. [S15] Irene Barnes, personal communication, 5 October 2012.
  16. [S58] Violet 'Bub' Williams, personal communication, 1 September and 30 December 1996.
  17. [S32] Laurie Phillips, personal communication, 10 December 2012.
  18. [S260] 'J McNamara & Co: Houses', Goulburn Valley Stock and Property Journal, 1910-1963, newspaper, Horan & Simpson, 23 July 1941, p. 4, viewed 4 May 2019,
  19. [S58] Violet 'Bub' Williams, personal communication, 28 September 1996.
  20. [S408] Brian Phillips, personal communication, 2 June 2015.
  21. [S214] Tom Carey, personal communication, May 2001.
  22. [S16] Catherine Wayman, personal communication, 2 March 2013.
  23. [S247] 'Mine host pulls his last glass', Shepparton News, 27 September 1979, p. 9.
  24. [S400] 'TJ Phillips & Sons', 1955-1981, company documents.