The Exchange Hotel, Mossman Qld

The Exchange Hotel, Mossman Far North Queensland, 2014

The Exchange Hotel, Mossman Far North Queensland, 2014

IN August we visited Mossman in Far Northern Queensland. This pub dominates the streetscape, and dates back to 1896.

exchange hotel mossman 1910

The original Exchange Hotel, Mossman in 1910

The pub was rebuilt in 1935 by Mrs D. O’Brien. At some stage the name looks as though it was changed to the “Daintree Inn”. On the facade of the building to the left can be seen the markings of the signage. The Northern Herald, based in Cairns, reported the opening of the new Exchange Hotel on June 15 1935:

EXCHANGE HOTEL, MOSSMAN. With implicit faith in the great expansion of Mossman and the stability of this wonderfully fertile district, the owner, Mrs. D. O’Brien, has had erected this really palatial hotel on the site recently occupied by the old hotel of the same name. Its great expanse can be gauged from the fact that it covers an extent of 193 feet, facing the two main streets.

The frontage to Mill-street is 140 feet, and that to Front-street is 53 feet, with spacious verandahs, having a width of 12 feet, both back and front. On the back verandah are the ladies’ and gentlemen’s bathrooms (one in each instance having a shower) Only, and another the plunge and shower), the ladies’ being situated about the centre of the building on the Mill-street length, and the gentlemen’s at the end of the Front-street block.

The lavatories, which are part of an extensive septic system are, in each case contiguous to the bathrooms, the whole of which look — and are — spotlessly clean in their coat of white, and are most convenient.

The spaces not occupied by bathrooms, etc., are enclosed with casements, which open in sections of four, and from which, as also from the front verandah, beautiful scenic views over valley and hill can be obtained; likewise the wonderful full-length Semblance of ‘The Good Shepherd’ on the mountain in front. Those seeing this for the first time would undoubtedly have the impression that it was chiselled in the rock by a master craftsman, so realistic is the representation.

Situated on the ground floor opening on to both streets is the bar,which is of large dimensions, and in the centre of which is set an Amatice refrigerator of heroic size, capable of supplying cool drinks of every description to any number of patrons. This is practically encircled by counters, which makes for the greatest convenience in service without loss of time. As all wines, spirits, etc.,are of the best brands and quality, patrons are certain of satisfaction. At the rear of the bar there are the usual parlors and also two small alcoves, where those desiring a game of bridge, euchre or other card game can play in comfort and quiet, away from noise in any other part of the building.

The downstairs lounge is a very roomy place, comfortably and cosily furnished, where guests can enjoy a smoke and after-dinner chat, with always someone in attendance to administer to their requirements. The coffee room is also a spacious apartment, nicely set out with small tables, with, spotlessly clean cloths and napery, also cutlery and silverware. The food supplied is of the very best, and cooked and served in a manner guaranteed to satisfy the desires of the most exacting, ‘inner man.’ This room is separated from the lounge by folding doors, and, when it is necessary to ‘clear the decks for an occasion of indulging in the ‘light fantastic,’ these can be folded back almost flat to either side wall, which gives an enormous dance floor, occupying two-thirds of the Mill-street portion, and covering the whole width of that part.

The dining-room is opposite the ‘coffee-room, and the satisfying meal provided is in keeping with that expected and served in a high-class hotel. Also on the ground floor is the kitchen — which is large and airy, having been designed with an eye to coolness during the hot summer months — billiard room and shops.

The maids’ quarters is a comfortable detached building, having its own septic system.

The bedrooms, of which there are 31 (10 being double rooms) are roomy, ventilated, well-lighted and appointed, each having amongst the other necessaries a built-in corner wardrobe and a corner wash-basin, with running water if necessary. This latter does away with the necessity for a washstand, which, besides giving a greater amount of room, makes for greater cleanliness. A different color scheme obtains in every room, and the effect is indeed pleasing. A corridor, which leads into the up stairs lounge room — another well appointed and cosily furnished apartment, which, on the rear wall, has built-in cupboards for linen storage and other purposes — runs the full length of the building and divides the rooms, the even numbers being on one side and the odd numbers on the other. Each room has two doors, so that they can be entered from the corridor and front verandah, and corridor and back verandah, respectively. There is no room No. 13 in the building, so any visitor with a touch of superstition need have no fear of having to occupy a room bearing the so-called ‘devil’s number.’

For more history of The Exchange Hotel, visit the pub’s website.

Categories: Queensland hotels

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