Normanby Hotel - History in Pictures

The historic Normanby Hotel, which sits on the corner of Musgrave Road and Kelvin Grove Road in the Brisbane suburb of Red Hill, has been a distinctive landmark since the building's construction in 1890. An earlier building, also named the Normanby Hotel, existed on the site from the 1872.

Architectural drawing of the Normanby Hotel, Brisbane. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 202854

Architectural drawing of the Normanby Hotel, Brisbane. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 202854

The new Normanby Hotel was officially opened on December 1, 1890 with an inaugural dinner hosted by the leaseholder William Valentine. Guests at the dinner included the local MP for Enoggera James George Drake and John Thomas Annear, MLA for Maryborough. Following the opening  The Telegraph newspaper reported on the features of the building design, concluding that - "The whole building is Elizabethan in character, adapted to the peculiar conditions of our time and climate, and forms a conspicuous and pleasing relief to the dull monotony of the surrounding style of architecture. The building, which cost nearly £4,000, is from the design of Messrs. Nicholson and Wright, architects, Adelaide street, and has been erected by Mr Thos Game ".

Architect John Beaumont Nicholson. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 114510

Architect John Beaumont Nicholson. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 114510

Brisbane suburb of Red Hill looking from College Road ca. 1890. Normanby Hotel is in the background. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image APE-047-01-0012

Brisbane suburb of Red Hill looking from College Road ca. 1890. Normanby Hotel is in the background. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image APE-047-01-0012

Normanby Hotel, Brisbane, 1921. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 152892

Normanby Hotel, Brisbane, 1921. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 152892

Over the years the hotel became a popular pub with locals, as well as hosting various nightclubs and bands in the downstairs bar. During the 1990's the Normanby became known as a venue for Brisbane's gothic and alternative subcultures with nightclubs such as Abyss, Arcadia, Dominion, Midian, Dark Entries and the Fiendish Fair proving popular. The hotel also at one time featured a drive-in bottleshop.

Flyer advertising the Abyss nightclub at the Normanby Hotel, Brisbane, 1996. Abyss was a Gothic nightclub. State Library of Queensland

Flyer advertising the Abyss nightclub at the Normanby Hotel, Brisbane, 1996. Abyss was a Gothic nightclub. State Library of Queensland

Flyer advertising the Abyss nightclub at the Normanby Hotel, Brisbane, 1996. Abyss was a Gothic nightclub. State Library of Queensland ephemera collection

Flyer advertising the Abyss nightclub at the Normanby Hotel, Brisbane, 1996. Abyss was a Gothic nightclub. State Library of Queensland ephemera collection

Along with the beautiful exterior of the building many patrons past and present have fond memories of the beer garden and in particular the large fig tree. On  June 8, 2016 the tree collapse during a rain storm, leading to an outpouring of grief and nostalgia on social media. The exact age of the tree is unknown with some speculating its age as over 100 years.

Normanby Hotel fronting Kelvin Grove Road, 2000. 28652, Professional and Business Archive of Allom Lovell Architects, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY

Normanby Hotel fronting Kelvin Grove Road, 2000. 28652, Professional and Business Archive of Allom Lovell Architects, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY

Normanby Hotel fronting Kelvin Grove Road, 2000. 28652, Professional and Business Archive of Allom Lovell Architects, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY

Normanby Hotel fronting Kelvin Grove Road, 2000. 28652, Professional and Business Archive of Allom Lovell Architects, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY

Normanby Hotel fronting Kelvin Grove Road, 2000. 28652, Professional and Business Archive of Allom Lovell Architects, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY

Normanby Hotel fronting Kelvin Grove Road, 2000. 28652, Professional and Business Archive of Allom Lovell Architects, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY

Normanby Hotel, Brisbane, 2000. From 28652, Professional and Business Archive of Allom Lovell Architects, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY

Normanby Hotel, Brisbane, 2000. From 28652, Professional and Business Archive of Allom Lovell Architects, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY

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Hi there, my g-g-grandfather John Davies/Davis in mentioned in the Brisbane Courier - Saturday 17 Aug 1872 page 5:-'John Davis, Farmer, Kedron Brook summoned Daniel Collins for assaulting him at the Normanby Hotel on the 30th Ultimo. The evidence showed that there had been a quarrel, and that words, which generally augment the strife, proving futile, defendant had resort to more decisive measures. He was fined 40 shillings and 7 shillings costs.'Bobbie Edes