HISTORY THE VIC

 

In 1892 permission was granted by the Licensing Court for the removal of the Cosmopolitan Hotel from McIllwraith Street to the corner of Main (now Boundary Street) and Sixth Avenue. However this did not eventuate and the owner of the Cosmopolitan WD Casey applied for permission to erect a new building at the corner of Main Street and Sixth Avenue which was to become the Victoria Park Hotel.

 

The Licensing Court was reluctant to grant another licence as there were six hotels for 1500 people. However, the licence was granted provided the building was erected within four months.

 

It was probably the last hotel in Townsville to be built with a narrow balcony rather than a wide verandah on the upper floor. Council bylaws were altered soon after it's completion to allow verandahs to extend over the footpath.In consequence, later hotels were all built with wide verandahs. Today it's only one of three such balconied hotels in the city; it is one of the very few timber hotels now remaining in the Townsville region.

 

The hotel was designed by Townsville architects Tunbridge and Tunbridge in 1895 and built by local builder Jeremiah Dempsey. On the 9th of October 1895, the day the new hotel was to be handed over to the first licensee, Jane Guthrie, it burnt down. William Dennis Casey opened the second building of similar design and construction, in January 1896.

 

The site was leased to Townsville merchant firm, Samuel Allen & Company prior to the opening of the second building in November 1895. Samuel Allen sublet the site of the destroyed hotel to the first licensee, Jane Guthrie, on the 26th of November 1895. In 1898 Northern Breweries (Qld) Ltd took over the lease from Samuel Allen & Company. They sublet the property to Adelaide Joyce in January 1899.

 

Samuel Allen & Company, who purchased the property on the 13th of November 1911, retained ownership until 1945 when they sold to Emily Hall of Bondi Junction, New South Wales. After Emily died on the 21st of July 1958 the hotel passed through a series of private owners until Townsville firm Cummins and Campbell purchased the hotel on the 6th of October 1969. On the 12th of February 1993 Carlton and United Breweries purchased the hotel.

 

The Queensland Licensing Commission advised the owners that they had to replace the old building by 1982. It would appear that the decision to demolish the old building was prompted by the Townsville City Council, who was concerned about the condition of the hotel. There was a community outcry. The main protagonists were the regular drinkers who regarded the hotel as theirs. It was largely their efforts in attracting media attention and the assistance of the local manager that saved the building. The decision was reversed and the exterior of the hotel restored.

© 2023 by Victoria Park Hotel. 

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