Rich his­tory to Royal Moss­man wa­ter­ing hole

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - MICHAEL EDWARDS

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

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