Queensland Places - Palais Royal Hotel, Ipswich

For many years the Palais Royal Hotel stood as an imposing building on the south-west corner of Brisbane and East Streets and was one of Ipswich’s larger hotels. Originally built in 1859, it was to be demolished more than one hundred years later, in 1970, to make way for the Ipswich Tavern.

The Palais Royal Hotel stood opposite the earlier Queen Arms Hotel, which was owned by prominent Ipswich merchant and pioneer, George Thorn, and was Ipswich’s first licensed hotel. The Thorn family’s own residence may actually have existed on the Palais Royal Hotel site prior to the hotel’s initial construction in 1859, but this has yet to be confirmed. Records indicate that the hotel’s first licensee under the actual name Palais Royal Hotel was J. McGill in 1879.

This photograph shows the hotel in 1954, dominating the streetscape. Earlier images show that the building underwent significant changes throughout its life, including the partial closing in of its distinctive wide balconies. This image also shows the addition of a large and impressive neon sign, which would have added significantly to the hotel’s presence in this part of the city. One wonders if this sign was preserved, following the building’s demolition?

With the construction of the Ipswich Tavern, the continuity of the site as a hotel or licensed premises for some 153 years, which is as long as Queensland itself, is itself worthy of historical note.

Brian Randall - Queensland Places Coordinator, State Library of Queensland

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The Palais Royal Hotel was originally the home of George Thorn (Snr) and his family. The home was built for the Thorns 1858/59 and became their residence in late 1859 when they returned from a holiday in England. George hosted a ball in their new home for the 1st Governor of the new state of Queensland, Sir George Ferguson Bowen when he visited Ipswich in 1860

My parents had the license of the Palais Royal Hotel from about 1955 for three years. I remember the huge lounge room at the top of the stairs.Polished floors in a light coloured timber. A f ireplace above which an impressive oval mirror that nearly reached the ceiling . Sounds too grand but that is what it was. French doors opened to the verandah. This room was rarely used when my parents were there and only in later years did I appreciate what a grand building the Palais Royal was. There is a picture, I've seen which shows the downstairs public lounge {ladies lounge] before our time there. The Lovely hotel lives in my memory .I've haven't been able to find any photos or plans of how it was . What a loss .cheers Marie Cosgrove

THE PALAIS ROYAL HOTEL WAS NOT DEMOLISHED IN 1970. I HAD MY 21ST BITHDAY THERE ON 10/2/1971.MY FATHER HAD THE LICENSE AT THAT TIME,HIS NAME BEING FRANK JENNINGS

THE PALAIS ROYAL WAS NOT DEMOLISHED IN 1970 I HAD MY 21ST BIRTHDAY THERE ON 10/2/1971. MY FATHER FRANK JENNINGS HAD THE LICENSE AT THAT TIME

Hi RobertI'll pass this information on to the author of this article.RegardsMyles Sinnamon - blog editor

My mother worked at the Palais Royal as a housemaid in the 1920’s and a barmaid in the 30’s. Her name was Alice White and she always spoke highly of the kindness of the publicans family. I think the name was Biltoff or something like that.Cheers Bob Dixon

The name was Biltoft. Mum lived at Rosewood. She met my father at the PR, he came from Pine mountain.

Nice to read that Bob! Harry Biltoft who owned the PR is my great grandfather. He was lost at sea on a fishing trip with a number of others in 1939. His son also called Bob and my Grandma ended up becoming publicans as well and ran a number of pubs in Ipswich and then Brisbane.Cheers,Tom

Henry Biltoft was my 3rd great uncle who was the proprietor of this hotel before he went missing in a fishing accident off of Moreton Bay. His brother Arthur was my great Pop. To poster above: @Tom Biltoft I believe we may be related !!? Could you please email me at ebloom930@gmail.com to discuss further !! Hope to hear from you