Rich history to Royal Mossman watering hole
THE history of the Royal Hotel stretches back through two world wars, the gold rushes and the booms and the busts of the Douglas region.
The original Royal Hotel started its life as Mullavey’s Hotel, built by Jack Mullavey, at the foot of the bump track in the 1880s to serve the thirsty needs of travellers who hauled, humped and bumped their way up and down the track to and from the Hodkinson goldfields.
Explorer Christie Palmer opened up the track in 1877 to connect the goldfields to the coast.
With around 20 other pubs in the Mowbray Valley and the gold rush running out of gold, the single-storey pub was moved, most likely in pieces on horse-drawn carts to Mossman in 1894.
The pub took up its place on Front Street and was bought in 1905 by Fred Jensen who then ran the pub with his wife and family, serving the cane cutters and locals during what was arguably Mossman’s golden age.
In the early 1900s Mossman was a boom town, driven by cane and logging, and boasted several pubs, a new shire hall and a new hospital while Port Douglas languished in virtual obscurity.
The cane cutters would spend large chunks of their paypackets at the Mossman pubs on the weekends, prompting the Mill to call a meeting with the local hoteliers to ask for a ban on drinking on Sundays.
On February 19, 1931, the Royal Hotel burnt to the ground, with a report in the Townsville Daily Bulletin at the time attributing the fire to a lamp setting the curtains alight in the ballroom.
Only a month earlier the nearby Post Office Hotel also burnt down at a time when there was no organised fire brigade and no fire hoses to quell the flames.
It was a requirement of both hotel licences that the pubs be rebuilt within a certain period or they could be revoked.
The Royal was rebuilt the following year as the two-storey traditional Queenslander style hotel that was to become an iconic part of the Mossman streetscape.
Fred Jensen died in the 1940s when he fell from a gas lamp pole while trying to light it.
The Royal Hotel remained in the Jensen family for a further 70-odd years until it was sold in 2009 to the present owner.
As it was: the early days of the Royal Hotel