The Waterloo Bay Hotel (Wynnum, Queensland)

The Waterloo Bay Hotel (Wynnum, Queensland)

The Waterloo Bay Hotel (Wynnum, Queensland)

The original section of the Waterloo Bay Hotel was constructed in 1889 by George Gibbs. The hotel was extended in 1918, when work was undertaken by Brisbane architect, GHM Addison. Major refurbishments were also undertaken in the 1980s and in the late 1990s.

The bayside suburbs of Wynnum and Manly were known as Oyster Point and Wyvernleigh, after the first house in the area. The first land sales in the area took place in 1860 at Lytton and around the Waterloo Bay. In 1882, Manly Beach Estate was auctioned. Wynnum and Manly were the only bayside stations opened with the Cleveland branch on 1 November 1889. The completion of the railway led to a surge of growth in the district, and by the early years of the 20th century, it had become a popular seaside resort town, with many people travelling from Brisbane by train on the weekend. Wynnum had a siding, loading bank and goods shed by 1891 and it was the terminus for extra Sunday trains from 1889 and weekday services from 1 March 1892.

The Waterloo Bay Hotel was constructed by George Gibbs, a local stonemason, in 1889. Gibbs was born in Cornwall and sailed for Australia on board the Firey Star in 1863 with his wife and infant. After the birth of his second child and the death of his first, the Gibbs’ returned to Cornwall. Two more children were born then his first wife died. In 1875, with a new wife and four children, Gibbs again left Cornwall for Australia on board the Great Queensland, landing at Maryborough and later residing in Gibbs Street, Kelvin Grove. Gibbs purchased land in Mary (later Berrima) Street in May 1889, and commenced construction of a hotel. He applied for, and was granted, a licence through the South Brisbane Licensing Courts. The Brisbane Courier reported on 7 November that ‘…the house was complete and ready for occupation.’ The Waterloo Bay Hotel opened for business in 6 November 1889 – just five days after the opening of the Cleveland railway branch.

Gibbs owned the hotel until 1892 when, due to ill health, it was sold and the family moved to Gibbs Street, Wynnum. The hotel was sold to Sarah Jane King in March 1892. Title passed to William Morris in 1895 and later to Helen Rankin Turner from August 1896. The hotel was purchased by William Denis O’Connor in August 1898. He remained the owner until he died on 14 January 1950. O’Connor was the licensee from the date of purchase until October 1901 when he leased the building to Bernard Kennedy for ten years. In August 1907, Kennedy transferred the balance of the lease to Augustus Marshall who held it til May 1908.

Sarah Baird took up the lease of the hotel in May 1908. Initially, her husband, Robert, was the licensee, however, following his death in June 1910, Sarah took over as licensee. In January 1911, Baird made an application to the Licensing Court to have music at the hotel every Saturday. A new application had to be made every week. The South Brisbane Licence Register indicates that the Waterloo Bay Hotel was one of the first hotels on the south side of the river to have music each week. In October 1911, Amelia Connell took out a new lease, with her husband Robert as the licensee. By the end of that year music had ceased playing at the hotel. On 7 March 1918, the ten year lease was surrendered subsequent to the death of Amelia Connell on 19 October 1917. In February 1918, the Government Gazette advertised a Transmission by Death of Interest in Lease from Amelia Connell to Patrick Joseph O’Shea, and a Surrender of Lease from Patrick O’Shea to William Denis O’Connor. By February, 1918, O’Connor had commissioned architect, GHM Addison to undertake alterations to the hotel. The alterations included the construction of a new public bar on the ground floor and private accommodation on the first floor.

O’Connor’s death was registered on 14 January 1950, at this time, the entire property passed to Douglas Wadley and Graham O’Connor as Trustees. In September 1956, the lease for hotel passed to Queensland Brewery Ltd. This lease was held until 1985 when it was transferred to Ashwick (Qld). The property passed to Moreton Bay Holdings in early 1987.

In November 1989, a week long celebration to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the hotel was organised by the then lessees. An article in the Bayside Bulletin dated 14 November 1989 states that ‘…the Waterloo Bay Hotel is serving the community as never before and looks set to take on its second hundred years with ease and equanimity.’ Renovations undertaken in the 1980s, included the addition of a beer garden and restaurant. Towards the end of 1999, further renovation work was undertaken.

Still a focal point for the local and surrounding community, the Waterloo Bay Hotel has been identified as a Heritage Place within the Wynnum-Manly Local Area Plan.

Source: Queensland Heritage Register.

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