Queensland Places - Doyle's Store, Victoria Street, Thursday Island
This photograph, dated to 1910, shows a quiet Victoria Street with only a few people along the footpath. Prominent at the right of the image is the premises of P.J. Doyle, which had operated on Thursday Island from at least the 1890s.
As with many businesses on Thursday Island, P.J. Doyle undertook a wide range of business activities, buying and selling a variety of goods, including island produce. In 1897, the business was advertising for sale a number of popular brands of beer, stout, spirits and wine, including Spanish port and sherry and Bulloch Lade whisky. As well, various tobaccos, cigars and cigarettes were available.
P.J. Doyle also advertised his services as a mining, shipping, customs and general agent, reflecting the large flow of goods into and out of the area as well as the prominent part Thursday Island played within this flow of trade. P.J. Doyle also had interests in the pearl shell industry, advertising that pearl shell, as well as general island produce, would be bought at highest market value and that his business was prepared to make regular shipments to European buyers.
The Doyle family may have had wider business interests apart from this general merchant and agency. A James Doyle is listed in 1897 as the proprietor of the Grand Hotel, also in Victoria Street, thereby providing another avenue to sell the store’s goods and services.
Doyle’s Store, the goods he sold as well as the services he provided, show that Thursday Island had access to a wide range of essentials as well as luxuries, thereby ensuring that the otherwise relative isolation of the area was softened.
Brian Randall - Queensland Places Coordinator, State Library of Queensland