It’s shabby but they love it: Brisbane’s Queen’s Hotel

The Queens Hotel, Creek and Charlotte Streets, Brisbane 1880.
The Queens Hotel, Creek and Charlotte Streets, Brisbane 1880.

The Queen’s Hotel traded at the corner of Charlotte and Creek Streets, Brisbane from 1865 to the late 1970s. The pub was established by a well-known ‘blackbirder’, Henry Lynde. On the eve of the historic’ pub’s demolition, The Brisbane Sunday Mail reported on September 6, 1953:

THE boys down at Mark’s are worried.

‘Mark’s’ is what they call the Queen’s Hotel, at the foot of Creek Street.

It has the oldest continuous’ licence of any hotel in Brisbane, and if it’s not the oldest building, it should be.The hotel has maintained a club-like atmosphere under youngish friendly Mark Mulroney,who couldn’t look less like a publicanFor years the boys who go to Mark’s – mainly people in the wool, shipping, and wholesale businesses – have been afraid that one day the building would slip into the river. Now, it is rumoured the brewery owners are about to rebuild.

The boys fear the new hotel may be a tile and chrome monstrosity with as much character as a chain store. They think, too, that they may lose the murals in the public bar- abo. heads drawn by the late Garnet Agnew, and some rather earthy crayon drawings by fellows Mark knew in World War II.

Mark’s is one of the shabbiest hotels in Brisbane, but it always has worn its shabbiness with a genteel air. One-time a keg of beer nearly went through the floor, and there was a hole in a lounge floor that Mark used to joke about, saying: ‘The rats have been bad lately.’ 

There are two lounges at Mark’s. Where the paper is not peeling off, the plaster is.You have to be careful about the springs in the upholstery, and the tables are inclined to slope away from you, like the floor. You don’t wait for a man in a white coat to come around. You go and get your own at the barBut Mark’s ‘piece de resistance’ is a bar wall which you can push back-ward or forward, just like a gate.

Mark has a photo of the place (see above) taken in 1880. The hotel’s just the same now, only with verandah posts. Actually, the hotel was built in 1853 – six years before Queensland separated from New South Wales.In those early days Creek Street was a creek which joined the river near the Queen’s, and most of the up-river trade came in where creek and river met.The hotel was built to house Ipswich squatters bringing their wool down by barge.

For a history of the Queen’s Hotel visit the Time Gents’ story: Blackbirder established the Queen’s Hotel on the Brisbane River wharves.

Footnote: The Queens Hotel has now been demolished. Can anyone tell us what year the pub was demolished?

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Categories: Brisbane hotels, Queensland hotels

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4 replies

  1. A story behind the Queens demise which was about 1980/81. 4ZZZ radio station, was partially funded by events they organised at pubs and bands at UQ. The Queens was the place to go to see up and coming bands in the late 70’s early 80’s. 4ZZZ by the early 80’s was at logger heads with the then National Party Premier Bjelke Petersen, the Queens was one of the venues 4ZZZ received funding from. Petersens reasoning, was get rid of the funding source get rid of 4ZZZ (didn’t work as we all know), consequently another grand hotel was demolished at this mans hands. Public reasoning from Bjelke Petersen was the noise from the bands was drifting across the river and the residents at Kangaroo Point were complaining.

  2. Hello Mick Roberts, I like this photo of the Queen’s Hotel. I am interested in using it in a publication, but I would need to give attribution for the source of the photo. Would you please, if possible, help me with that.

    • After thinking about it, I’ve realised that the photo is from the Sunday Mail — and that info will be enough for me. Thanks for alerting me to this photo, which is the only one I have found of the Queen’s Hotel.

  3. Mid ’81 it was pulled down. It was still there when I started Telecom training school, which was right behind it in Elizabeth St.

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