The Oaks Grand Hotel was visited by Manly NRL players in 2017 when they came to Gladstone to play the Gold Coast Titans. Photo Lachie Millard
The Oaks Grand Hotel was visited by Manly NRL players in 2017 when they came to Gladstone to play the Gold Coast Titans. Photo Lachie Millard

What did a 3yo girl do on the Grand Hotel Gladstone bar?

GLADSTONE’S Oaks Grand Hotel sits proudly on the corner of Goondoon and Roseberry streets and has done since 1898.

The hotel was built by Faircloth of Bundaberg, for the princely sum of 2500 pounds, to accommodate passengers waiting for transport by sea to North Queensland.

For the first four years of its existence, the licensee of the Grand Hotel was William Henry McCann, until JJ Luddy took over from 1902 until April 16, 1913.

It was then, Irvine Sydney Crow became the licensee and his three-year-old daughter Myre used to dance on the bar, with patrons rewarding her with half a penny.

As documented in Shanties, Pubs and Hotels, published by Pamela Ward, Mr Crowe applied for a licence for the hotel, which then contained 17 bedrooms, one sitting room, two bathrooms, one bar and one bar parlour.

His licence was short-lived, with John Stapleton taking over from 1914 until November 17, 1916.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson seen at The Grand Hotel to see the Melbourne Cup in 2017.
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson seen at The Grand Hotel to see the Melbourne Cup in 2017.

During his tenure, Mr Stapleton sought permission for a band to play music on the hotel balcony from 7pm until 11pm.

In the 1920s, the Grand Hotel was partly rebuilt, including the familiar facade and the licence was transferred from Arthur Edwin King to Anthony William Baulch on February 20, 1928.

From February 12, 1929, until December 4 in the same year, Mr Stapleton was again the licensee, until he wanted to take five weeks’ holidays, and Martin Hanson Snr took over.

An advertisement from the era posed the question: “Why do visitors stay at the Grand?”.

“Because it is a comfortable, modern hotel, noted for its cuisine. Everything is personally supervised, thus guaranteeing efficient service. Every convenience – special septic service, hot and cold showers, large vestibule, writing and sample rooms. Lighted throughout with electric light. Moderate tariff, so make ‘The Grand’ your home away from home.”

Mr Hanson ran The Grand for 24 years, until he passed away on December 12, 1953, which saw his son Martin Jnr take the reins.

In the 1960s the hotel became famous for its raffles, organised by Bill Feeney, with locals recalling his “chook” raffles and his skilful ability to raffle almost anything.

When Martin Hanson Jnr went into politics, on September 17, 1964, his wife Mary became the licensee.

The Oaks Grand Hotel Gladstone general manager Michael Cahill in the former Bottlemart bottle shop at the hotel, which closed in July 2019.
The Oaks Grand Hotel Gladstone general manager Michael Cahill in the former Bottlemart bottle shop at the hotel, which closed in July 2019.

On September 23, 1976, Mr Hanson Jnr passed away.

Then on May 18, 1993 at 1pm, The Grand Hotel was destroyed by fire.

Two years later, after being restored to its former glory, the Grand Hotel reopened under family ownership.

The Oaks Grand Hotel’s current owners Oaks Hotels, Resorts & Suites, bought the Grand Hotel, the freehold licence, and the block of land behind it in 2012.

“The reason behind the purchase of the iconic Grand Hotel back in 2012 was to open a large corporate hotel catering for corporate guests visiting Gladstone during the week, and people coming to town for events on the weekends,” a spokeswoman said.

Significant improvements have been done to the hotel since the purchase.

“The 144-room new build hotel was built on the block behind the Grand Hotel in January of 2014,” the spokeswoman said.

“The original Sports Bar and Bistro location was refurbished in 2013 to make way for the Coffee Club and Rib and Rumps which opened in 2014.

“We have renovated the Grandstand Bar and Gaming Room.”

Now The Oaks Grand Hotel employs 60 local staff and is currently hiring more.

“We are currently finalising preparations to commence major works to replace all the existing airconditioning systems in the Grandstand Bar, Gaming Room and first floor conferencing centre with a state of the art climate control system.

“Once completed, our next project is to replace the audiovisual systems in our conference centre.”

For more information visit The Oaks Grand Hotel website.

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