In 1865 John Dowling purchased vacant land from George Bowser, an ex-convict and building contractor, who had purchased land on the North side of Caxton Street from the Crown and sold it off in small allotments. Dowling started work on the original building but sold it before completion to Robert Brady in September 1867. The name for the hotel was to mark the Royal Visit to Brisbane of Queen Victoria’s son Alfred in February 1868.
At that time Brady would have been competing with Michael Carrick’s Terrace Hotel, which was started in 1864. The Cricketer’s Arms is also listed as a licensed hotel in Petrie Terrace at about this time.
Just why he built the cells under the building (which still serve as cellars) is a mystery. The police have no record of them ever having been used, and when last century they were approached about the blocked tunnel seemingly running from the hotel, under Petrie Terrace, and into the Police Barracks, they flew into a state of panic. They didn’t know it existed and were worried about the security.
It’s common belief that the cellars once formed part of a watch-house when the hotel was doubling as a lock-up in the late nineteenth century. It’s also been suggested that an additional benefit of the tunnel was the ease at getting casks of rum from the hotel to the barracks’ mess. None of the old building records have survived.
It’s estimated that the current building was built in 1888 after the newly formed Castlemaine Brewery (29-years before it’s famous XXXX brew) purchased the hotel from Joseph Adams the previous year. The building as it was then was superbly fitted; stone cellars, solid brickwalls, a lower verandah on two sides, sash windows, and double French doors leading to the upper verandah.
Also in 1888, George Wilkie Gray, Managing Director of Castlemaine, Quinlan Gray and Co, became sole owner while Catherine Jorgensen took over as licensee for the next eighteen years (before losing her license for a Sunday trading offence in 1906).
Excerpt from… http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/gray-george-wilkie-6463
Gray the entrepreneur had ‘coined money’ with his schooner Monarch and other vessels on the Ipswich-Moreton Bay run from 1866 to 1872. Other investments included Barron River cedar, coastal shipping, the Bendigo pottery, land in Melbourne and Brisbane, hotel properties, mining, cotton growing and, in 1867-1907, the sugar industry. He was managing director of the Queensland Sugar Company Ltd and advocated ‘Kanaka’ labour. Innovative and receptive to new ideas, he installed the first telephone in Queensland in 1880 and pioneered the use of artesian bores. Chairman of directors of the National Mutual Life Association of Australasia Ltd (Queensland) and the Daily Mail, he held directorships in the Queensland National Bank, Millaquin Sugar Co., Queensland Insurance Co. Ltd, and Queensland Trustees Ltd. Many of the politicians and commercial leaders whom he entertained at his Hamilton home, Eldernell, were his business partners: a member of the Queensland Club from 1871, he had a talent for friendship as well as business.
Hotel LA is about live music. Under Gray, the Lord Alfred applied for and received a license for live music, putting it clearly in front of its nearest competition, the Caxton – a 1913 assessment quoting the Lord Alfred’s annual worth at eight hundred and ninety pounds to the Caxton’s four hundred and fifty.
George Wilkie Gray died in 1924, and the hotel went into the hands of Castlemaine Brewery, Quinlan, Gray and Company in 1927 during its long-running struggle for dominance with the Bulimba Brewery. They owned it for almost fifty years before Bond Corporation bought Castlemaine, and therefore the Lord Alfred Hotel.
It is currently owned by a private company…
Owners of the Hotel LA…
1867 Robert Brady
1874 Joseph Hodson Adams
1887 George Wilkie Gray, Kate Quinlan, Robert Prendergast, Nicholas Fitzgerald, Edward Fitzgerald
1888 George Wilkie Gray
1927 Castlemaine Brewery, Quinlan, Gray and Company
1986 Bond Corporation
1868 Henry Corbett
1872 Andrew Hyland
1876 Dorothy Hyland
1880 Henry M. Kavanagh
1883 Mary Ann Raleigh
1884 William Horsford
1888 Catherine Jorgensen
1906 Frank McCormack
1907 James Anderson Hourston
1910 William Augustus Collie
1911 Patrick Scanlan
1912 Timothy Patrick Brosnan
1915 James Sanderson Hourston
1918 Simon Christopher Kelly