Ho­tel has lots of his­tory

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Moya Stevens

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.

Pic­tures: SUP­PLIED

Tait's North Aus­tralian Ho­tel, be­fore it was de­stroyed in a cy­clone and re­named the Cen­tral Ho­tel, Port Dou­glas 1919.

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