Quigley family hosted Paddington’s Bellevue Hotel for almost 60 years

bellevue Hotel Paddington 2017 TG
The Bellevue Hotel, Paddington, 2017. Picture: Mick Roberts Collection
Bellevue Hotel Paddington 1949 ANU
The Bellevue Hotel, Paddington, 1949. Picture: Noel Butlin Archives, Australian National University.


UNEXPECTEDLY in a Paddington street trades a rejuvenated relict from Sydney’s past – the Bellevue Hotel.

Originally licensed by James Quigley in July 1878 as the Elphin Hotel, the pub is a survivor of a much different time, in the gentrified and affluent Sydney eastern suburb.

Quigley, who was 45 at the time, called for tenders to build his two storey brick pub on the north-west corner of Hargrave and Taylor Street, in what was then a working-class, and much-more tougher suburb in August 1877.

The pub was completed, licensed and trading by July the following year.

Quigley named the pub “Elphin” after a small township in his native Ireland.

Less than five years after building his new pub, Quigley made an unwise career move that would lead to his death. He leased his new pub to Robert White in 1883, and became a director and driver for the Waverley Woollahra Omnibus Company. He should have stayed behind the bar.

Driving his cab along George Street, Quigley’s horse stumbled, throwing him from his seat, head-first into the ground. He was found unconscious and taken to Sydney hospital where he later died from a fractured skull.

Quigley was just 50 years of age at the time.

His widow, Bridget, with the help of her two boys, John 17, and James Jnr, 12, took over the running the pub.

Just seven years after her husband’s shock accident, Bridget suffered another loss with the death of her eldest son, 22-year-old James.

She remained as publican at Paddington until her death in 1893.

The Elphin Hotel was taken over by Bridget’s remaining son, John, who was now in his early 20s. Retaining the lease, he sold the freehold of the pub to brewery giant, Tooths in March 1896.

John Quigley stayed on as publican until his death in 1911 at the age of 45. After his death, his widow, Phoebe took the reins of the pub, where she remained until her retirement in 1936.

The name of the pub was officially changed to the Bellevue Hotel on July 30 1934.

When Phoebe Quigley retired, the family had been at the helm of the Paddington pub for a staggering 58 years.

With deregulation and the Government’s forced end to the tied house system, Tooths brewery began selling off hundreds of its pubs across the state. The brewery eventually sold the Bellevue Hotel in 1981.

The pub, with all its historic charm, continues to trade in modernised premises on Hargrave Street Paddington.

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The Bellevue Hotel, Paddington, 1970. Picture: Noel Butlin Archives, Australian National University. 
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The Bellevue Hotel main bar, Paddington, 2017. Picture: Mick Roberts Collection

© Copyright Mick Roberts 2023

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Categories: NSW hotels, Publicans, Sydney hotels

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