Herald Sun

‘Ma’ bred pub­li­cans


HERE’S a woman we don’t know much about. but sus­pect we should. It started yesterday when Phil rang and asked if we could find out more about a re­la­tion of his named Ellen “Ma” Ryan.

Ellen ran the pub in Ivan­hoe, we be­lieve from around the 1920s un­til her death at the age of 98. Phil be­lieves she was then the old­est pub­li­can in Aus­tralia.

“She had 11 kids, with nine boys who all be­came pub­li­cans.”

The pub, known as Ryan’s Ho­tel, was in Up­per Hei­del­berg Rd, and was built in the early 1920s by Ellen’s hus­band, John. It be­came one of Mel­bourne’s most suc­cess­ful ho­tels.

Ellen made the news­pa­pers in 1957 when the horse pulling her jinker slipped and fell.

Ellen, car­ry­ing her in­fant daugh­ter, was flung out, and in try­ing to save her baby, Ellen landed on her head and sus­tained se­ri­ous in­juries and spent a long time in hos­pi­tal.

The baby was un­harmed and Ellen was cel­e­brated for her brav­ery.

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