Hotel has lots of history
THERE will be loads of fun next Saturday, October 6, at the Central Hotel to celebrate its 140th birthday and manager Helen Colvin said that it should be a great day.
“We have two bands booked with The Rockmans starting at 2pm and then Hilly Billy Goats at 7.30pm,” Helen said.
The Central Hotel was established in Port Douglas as the Northern Australia Hotel in 1878 when the first parcels of land were surveyed and put up for sale. The hotel, built by Denis O’Brien, was only a single storey and was one of 23 pubs in the town at the turn of the 20th century.
In 1911, Port Douglas was hit by a devastating cyclone and according to Helen, “most of the town got blown away but the hotel was rebuilt, this time two storey”.
Another cyclone in 1956 blew the hotel’s balcony off the main building with dire consequences according to Helen.
“I was told that the thenpublican’s young daughter was killed during that incident,” she said.
“She is one of the two ghosts who apparently haunt the place, but I’ve yet to see either.
“Many of the staff have seen the young girl’s ghost in the kitchen area and she seems quite friendly however the one ghost of a man in the cellar is not so friendly apparently.”
Other memorable moments in the Central’s history include a visit by former US President Bill Clinton in September 2001 who sat at one of the tables out the front of the hotel only to be told of the terrorist attack on New York and three other US sites as they unfolded.
Scenes of the Warner Bros movie, that starred Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey, were filmed in the front bar of the Central Hotel.
“That was funny,” Helen said, “because they checked out the place for the movie months prior to filming and in the meantime the owners did a bit of a refurbishment and when the crew came back for filming, they had to respray some of the walls.”
Helen, who started tending the bar 20 years ago at the Central, said that the hotel “is a great place” and is looking forward to the celebrations on Saturday.
“We have face painting, a magician and clown and lots of games and giveaways and 200 cupcakes to give away,” she said.
Tait's North Australian Hotel, before it was destroyed in a cyclone and renamed the Central Hotel, Port Douglas 1919.