Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wickham Hotel, Fortitude Valley

Here is a fairly old photograph. The John Oxley Library says that it dates from 1890 or thereabouts, and that the couple shown are a Mr & Mrs Denis O'Connor of the Oriental Hotel in Wickham St, Fortitude Valley. This information would suggest that the hotel was subsequently renamed the Wickham Hotel because that's its current name, but I'm not sure when this would have occurred. I did find a newspaper clipping dated 5 July 1906 that noted a transfer of the licence of the Oriental Hotel in Wickham St, so it didn't occur before then. Also, there was an Oriental Hotel on the corner of Albert and Mary Sts in the city around the time of the floods in 1890 and 1893 - perhaps that hotel subsequently ceased operation or changed its name, thereby allowing its use by the new hotel in Wickham St upon its construction in 1885.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #80449)

According to the State government's heritage listing, the Oriental Hotel on Wickham St was built in 1885 for Timothy O'Shea, and acquired by O'Connor sometime in the 1890s. He owned it right up to his death in 1937, but the hotel was usually run by a licencee. The O'Connor family were prominent hoteliers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As well as the Wickham, Denis O'Connor and his brother JD O'Connor (we'll meet him again in another post), owned or had interests in the Globe, Dunmore Arms (became the Treasury Hotel), the Prince Consort, the O'Connor Family Hotel at Stones Corner and the Stanley Hotel. The Wickham Hotel passed into the hands of major Australian brewer Carlton United in 1972, and so it has continued to be managed by licensees. A Google search will show you that "The Wickham" is "one of Australia's leading gay and lesbian venues", and here is a link to its web site. Below is a recent photograph of the hotel.(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)
The only other thing I can tell you is that the hotel is another example of the work of one of Brisbane's best-known architects, Richard Gailey. I'll avoid any of the obvious puns ;-)

Click here for a Google Map


Next: Franklin, m'dear...


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