Friday, May 8, 2009


(Photo: National Archives of Australia; #A1200:L12157; J Brand)

Although recent years have seen an upsurge in the number of quality hotels in Brisbane, it wasn't always that way. For decades, it seemed that the only upmarket hotel accommodation was Lennons Hotel in George St (above, in 1949) - temporary home to presidents, politicians and pop stars. In WWII, it was the Brisbane home of General Douglas MacArthur and his family, along with other US armed forces personnel. The hotel was called "Bataan" in army-speak, and MacArthur motored between there and his headquarters in the AMP building accompanied by an armed escort. Apparently Brisbane residents used to queue outside the hotel to catch a glimpse of him. Old pictures of the hotel are hard to come by, but this line drawing of the building can be found on this WWII history site.

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(Photo: Courtesy Michael Elton and

There is also this advertisement from the 1889 Post Office directory, showing a previous version of the hotel. Note the three-digit telephone number:
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #13064)

As the image suggests, the hotel faced west on George St, and was bounded to the north by Ann St and the south by Adelaide St. As well as MacArthur, Brisbanites also gathered in crowds outside Lennons to see The Beatles (well, there was no McCartneys Hotel, was there!) and US President Lyndon B Johnson. Each of these gatherings had both supporters and critics of the respective visitors. I didn't make it to The Beatles when they visited in 1964, but I did go into the city to see a real US President, LBJ, when he arrived in Brisbane in 1966. Along with thousands of others, apparently. I wasn't part of the protest on that evening, but had I noticed this girl, I might have been.

(Photo: © 2009 the foto fanatic)

The old Lennons has been torn down and replaced with stuff that in turn is being torn down and replaced. There is now a Lennons in the Queen St mall (above); its full name is The Chifley at Lennons. Bigger? Perhaps. More central? I guess so. But better? Nup!

here for a Google Map.


Next: An old queen


  1. a pub in the basement of lennons is where i had my first beer (underage too)

  2. I was 15 when I came into town to see the Beatles at Lennons prior to their gig at Festival Hall. They were installed in the centre part back from the street high up on a balcony. The earlier Lennons building I was told had monkeys and parrots in a public menagerie area, any one else heard this?

  3. I worked as an au pair for the people who owned Lennons in the 70's until the guy walked into my room uninvited and tried to feel me up. Can't remember their name? I was 15, I ran out of there as fast as I could. Creeps


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