An Iconic Watering Hole
The Australian Hotel, fondly known as ‘The Aussie’, stands atop Caledonian Hill and is virtually unchanged from Gympie’s pioneering days.
On the corner of Apollonian Vale and Lady Mary Tce, the first Australian Hotel was built in 1873 when the license was granted to Mary Jane Catherwood.
She was married and had held two other licenses in Gympie between 1870 and 1873. The public house contained two sitting rooms and four bedrooms plus a number of rooms for Mrs Catherwood’s “private use”. In 1875, Mrs Catherwood’s license application was rejected in favour of a Scotsman, Thomas Findlay, who became the new licensee.
Succeeding licenses included Mary Findlay, wife of T. Findlay (1890-1899), Michael Kearney (1899-1903) and J.Layden (1903-unknown).
In the early hours of Tuesday, May 15, 1917, the Australian Hotel was yet another victim to the fiery end that razed many pubs in last century. The cause of the fire was a mystery, but the site licence, lease and goodwill was purchased by Mr J. Jerks on or about June 28, 1917. He also purchased the One Mile landmark The Cricketers’ Arms Hotel on Brisbane Rd for removal.
Built in 1884 by Gympie’s leading architect, Hugo Wilhelm Durietz, the Cricketers’ Arms, spectacularly, was removed not long after and resurrected to become the current Australian Hotel.
To this day the two story Queenslander still stands, boasting a historically unchanged public bar, dining room, kitchen, large outdoor deck and accommodation which extends onto a vast veranda showcasing spectacular views of Gympie.
“It’s pretty special,” K. Reeves (prev. owner) said. “It’s an old style country pub. “I think Gympie is a town that still lends itself to that style of building.”
Australian Hotel Caledonian Hill
T. FINDLAY would take this opportunity of returning thanks to his numerous Customers for their past liberal support, and assuring them and the Public generally that he has always on hand none but the best of brands of WINES, SPIRITS, ALE and PORTER. The Additions to the House lately made have rendered it one of the most commodious on the Gympie Goldfields. A first class Table is kept and an experienced Cook. Best Accommodation for Travellers. T. FINDLAY, Proprietor. The Gympie Times Saturday January 4, 1879.
A tender was accepted for the erection of the new Australian Hotel for Mr. J. Jerks.
The price was in the vicinity of 2000 pounds and the building, when finished would resemble the Grand Hotel.
The Gympie Times, 1917.
A START has been made to remove one of the land marks of the One Mile – The Cricketers’ Arms Hotel.
The building was purchased by Mr J Jerks for removal and will be re-erected on the site of the Australian Hotel which was recently burned down. The license of the Cricketers’ Arms Hotel will be allowed to lapse.
The Gympie Times Thursday 19 July 1917.
A brief history as written and published by The Gympie Times.