Grand Hotel (Otago Hotel)

Corner of Mellor and Chapple Streets, Gympie

Grand Hotel, ca 1915

A grand old building, formerly known as the Otago Hotel and built in early 1886. Mrs Martha M. Murdock opened the new hotel circa June 1886 and held the publicans licence in 1886-1887 before it was transferred to Edward Murdock in 1887 until 1889. E. Murdock had been running a Royal Mail Coach from the Otago in 1886/1887 partnered with Mr McCallum (they had ran the Mail Coach prior from the Northumberland Hotel). See other publican licencees listed at Appendix A.

Grand Hotel, Gympie – Chapple Street view
The Gympie Times and Mary River Mining Gazette, 1 June 1886, page 4

It then changed its name to Allchin’s Hotel after its publican Chris Allchin in 1895 until early 1897. The hotel was thoroughly renovated by Allchin to a first class establishment with the convenience of being opposite the Railway Station. Christopher Allchin who previously had the license to the Railway Hotel took over the license from Englebert Pedersen who seemed to have run a disreputable establishment.  There were quite a few articles in the courts section of the newspaper about fights, illegal selling of alcohol and gambling.  He was warned in November 1895 that his license would not be renewed.  When Allchin and his wife moved on to the Royal Exchange then the Freemason, the hotel reverted back to the Otago Hotel.

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 hotel was refurbished again in December 1915 and the name changed to the Grand Hotel. (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”.

An order for demolition of the hotel was issued by Gympie City Council ca 1951. A Brisbane architect firm had inspected the building for owners Queensland Brewery Ltd, and reported that the building was beyond repair and in dangerous condition. A mine shaft collapsing underneath had undermined the stability of the building and it continued to settle badly. The old beauty was completely demolished.

Grand Hotel, Gympie – Cnr Mellor and Chapple Streets – view from Gympie Railway Station

Appendix A – Publican’s Licencees

1886-1887 Martha M. Murdock
1887-1889 Edward Murdock
1889-1890 Francis P. Lindent
1890-1892 Alf Wilkes
1892-1892 William Martin
1892-1893 Edward Murdock
1893-1894 Martha M. Murdock
1894-1896 Englebert Pedersen
1896-1897 Chris Allchin (changed to Allchin’s Hotel)
1897-1897 Martha M. Murdock
1897-1899 Charles Rogers
1899-1899 M. A. Rogers
1899-1901 Edward O’Brien
1906 Patrick O’Donoghue
1915 J. A. Gierke
1917, 1919 W. Smith
M. J. Barry
1927 Jim Kissane
Hugh and Nancy McLeod