Hotel History of Gympie: part two

Guest blogger: Rochelle Bull, Local History Officer, Gympie Regional Libraries.

Grand Hotel, formerly Otago Hotel – Mellor Street, Gympie

Formerly known as the Otago Hotel and built in 1886, Mr E. Murdoch held the license in partnership with Mr McCallum (The Gympie Times and Mary River Mining Gazette, 8 June 1868, p. 4) from when they were running a Royal Mail Coach commencing from the United States Hotel (The Gympie Times and Mary River Mining Gazette, 19 December 1885, p. 2). They continued the running of the ‘Royal Mail Coach’ service from their Otago Hotel establishment (The Gympie Times and Mary River Mining Gazette, 27 February 1886, p. 1).


The Grand Hotel, Gympie, ca. 1915 (formally the Otago Hotel) demolished in 1951 due to instability of a mine shaft collapse underneath. Keith Waser Collection, Gympie Regional Libraries.

The hotel then changed its name to Allchin’s Hotel after its publican Chris Allchin in late December 1985 until early 1897 (The Gympie Times and Mary River Mining Gazette, 9 January 1896, p. 2). The hotel was thoroughly renovated by Allchin to a first class establishment with the convenience of being opposite the Gympie Railway Station (The Gympie Times and Mary River Mining Gazette, 31 December 1895, p. 2). Christopher Allchin who previously had the license to the Railway Hotel (The Gympie Times and Mary River Mining Gazette, 31 December 1892, p. 3) took over the license from Englebert Pedersen who seemed to have run a disreputable establishment.

Gympie Times and Mary River Mining Gazette, 9 January 1896, p.2.

There were quite a few articles in the courts section of the newspaper about fights, illegal selling of alcohol and gambling.  Pederson was warned in November 1895 that his license would not be renewed (The Gympie Times and Mary River Mining Gazette, 16 November 1895, p. 4).  When Allchin and his wife moved on to the Royal Exchange (The Gympie Times and Mary River Mining Gazette, 15 May 1897, p. 3) then the Freemason Hotel (The Gympie Times and Mary River Mining Gazette, 1 July 1899, p. 3), the hotel reverted back to the Otago Hotel after being transferred back to Mrs Murdoch (The Gympie Times and Mary River Mining Gazette, 8 April 1897, p, 3).

In December 1899, early on a Sunday morning, it was reported that inmates of the Otago Hotel were startled by hearing a crash of glass and on investigating found that a man had jumped through the bedroom window, a height of 18 feet from the ground and carried the window sash away. He was only found at noon near Elworthy and Mellor’s slaughtering yards. He got off very lightly, his only injuries being a sprained ankle and several scratches. He was brought up at Police Court on suspicion of being of unsound mind (The Gympie Times and Mary River Mining Gazette, 12 December 1899, p. 3).

In 1915, the hotel was refurbished again and it was published in the Maryborough Chronicle that the Otago Hotel has been converted into a very handsome, two storied structure and has now the dignified name of Grand Hotel (Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser, 17 December 1915, p. 8). The Grand Hotel was completely demolished in 1951 due to a mine shaft collapsing underneath the building and making the building structurally unstable and beyond repair (The Gympie Times, 2005, p. 53).

Northumberland Hotel – Corner of Channon and Nash Streets, Gympie

The Northumberland Hotel was licensed from 14 January 1868 and known as Croaker’s Northumberland Hotel owing to licensee Mr Henry Croaker (Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser, 1 January 1868, p. 1). This hotel would come to have three builds in its lifetime. The majestic two-storey, second version of the Northumberland Hotel, with a prominent tower was built approximately 10 years later and was constructed of locally milled red cedar. One post in the bar went right up to the ceiling and was constructed from the slab of a single large cedar. The Cobb and Co booking office and coach terminal was attached to the hotel. It was hub for travelers between Gympie and Brisbane (The Gympie Times and Mary River Mining Gazette, 22 February 1873, p. 2). The Myles and Co. Coach also departed for Noosa from the Northumberland (The Gympie Times and Mary River Mining Gazette, 10 January 1885, p. 2).

Northumberland Hotel, ca 1910. Keith Waser Collection, Gympie Regional Libraries. Image no: B3E3-17

Many prominent visitors such as the Premier visits in 1878 and 1898 (The Gympie Times and Mary River Mining Gazette, 18 October 1878 p. 2), (The Gympie Times and Mary River Mining Gazette, 11 June 1898 p. 3); the Vice Regal in 1900 (The Gympie Times and Mary River Mining Gazette, 10 July 1900, p. 3); Lord and Lady Lamington in 1900 (The Gympie Times and Mary River Mining Gazette, 5 July 1900, p. 3) and Governor Sir William MacGregor, in 1910 (The Gympie Times and Mary River Mining Gazette, 15 September 1910, p. 3), were given an escorted procession from the railway station to the grand Northumberland Hotel for accommodation, meetings and drinks.

The Gympie Times and Mary River Mining Gazette, 18 October 1878 p. 2

Sadly, the grand beauty, the second Northumberland Hotel building was destroyed by fire on 21 January 1969 (The Gympie Times, 19 January 2019, p.7).  It was a roaring inferno that caused the window glass of the Police Station opposite to explode in the intense heat and the station roof was hosed down, as the eaves smouldered.  The fire broke out at 1am and occupants fled. Incredibly no-one was injured. Owners at the time were Mrs and Mrs Bob Garrett who lived there with their son Dennis, two boarders and a hotel employee.

The third Northumberland Hotel building, a brick structure, was completed in 1971 and seated 150 people. Cabaret entertainment was featured twice weekly. In 2001 the North received a face lift with the front decking and beergarden.  The Northumberland hotel sadly closed and in 2009, Gympie Regional Council purchased the former Northumberland building. The Council’s Planning and Development offices now occupy what was the third version of the hotel (The Gympie Times, 19 January 2019, p.7).

Further Reading:

Hotel History of Gympie: part 1

Gympie Regional Memories

Contact Rochelle: rochelle.bull@gympie.qld.gov.au