Friday, October 28, 2011

Norman Hotel, Woolloongabba

How would you like your business to be known as "Brisbane's worst vegetarian restaurant?"

The hotel below doesn't mind it - in fact it advertises itself that way. It is the Norman Hotel at Woolloongabba, one of Brisbane's excellent steak restaurants.
(Photo: © 2011 the foto fanatic)

"The Norman", as it known to locals, was designed by John B Nicholson and built by F Steffans in 1889 for Robert Heaslop. The hotel was situated on the Brisbane to Ipswich road in an area that was growing quickly, with both residential and commercial properties emerging following the completion of the railway and horse-drawn tram lines to Woolloongabba. Ipswich Rd is today one of Queensland's busiest. The photograph below shows the hotel in 1988.
(Photo: Brisbane City Council; BCC-T120-988)

Heaslop was the publican at the Norman for a few years before leasing it out. In 1900, the brewery company Perkins & Co bought the hotel. At that time, the brewer was in competition with arch-rivals Castlemaine Brewery, and both companies were setting up "tied houses" around Brisbane. Later the two breweries combined to form Castemaine Perkins, the makers of the famous XXXX Beer.

In 1987, the well-known Queensland hotel family, the Cavills, bought the Norman. The hotel had been going through a difficult patch, but the Cavills did some refurbishment, added a steak house at the rear of the property, and set about making the place a desirable venue. Amongst other hotels, the Cavills had previously run Queensland's iconic Breakfast Creek Hotel, also famous for its steaks, and so were well-placed to do this. They ran the hotel until 2006 when it was sold. It is now owned by the Independent Pub Group.

The Norman thrives today, despite the set-back of a serious fire on the premises that occurred when some renovations were taking place in 2008. The ensuing damage has been repaired and the pub is once again trading at full capacity.

Click here for a Google Map.



  1. I love Victorian pubs which have wrap around verandas and original wrought iron decoration. Good on the owners for keeping the architecture intact. But is the burgundy colour original?

  2. Hels: I couldn't find any older photos, so I am unsure. But I tend to doubt it.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...