The current Boundary Hotel was constructed circa 1884 on this site, occupied by a ‘Boundary Hotel’ since 1864. Donald Wilson employed architects John Hall and Son to design the new hotel. Although the building has been heavily modified from its original form, it still retains its cultural and historical importance as a late nineteenth century hotel that has been a popular meeting place for Brisbane residents for more than 120 years. Since 1922, the hotel has been owned by well-known local hoteliers, the Corrigan family.
Local Heritage Place Since —
Date of Citation —
Roof: Corrugated iron; Walls: Masonry - Render
John Hall and Son (Architect); Wilson and Corrigan families (Association)
Criterion for listing
(A) Historical;(D) Representative;(H) Historical association
Hotels have been a focus of social life in Brisbane since the opening to free settlers of the former penal settlement in 1842. Publican’s licences were always in demand, and if not obtained ‘illicit grog selling’ was often carried out as an alternative. A number of hotels were established in the South Brisbane area during the nineteenth century. The patronage of hotels, or pubs, was a predominantly working class male activity. A lower class ‘taint’ was associated with drinking in such establishments. Members of the upper and middle classes in the nineteenth century had private clubs for social interaction, and hotels provided the equivalent function for the working class.
Donald Wilson, a Glaswegian who had arrived on the Artemesia in 1848, acquired a 3 acre 2 roods allotment of land, which included this site, by Deed of Grant in 1850. Wilson built the first hotel on the site in 1864, naming it the Boundary, after the street on which it was built. Wilson held a liquor license for the hotel from 1864 to 1872, transferring the license to John Drake in 1872. John Wilson, son of Donald, acquired the license in 1874 and held it for ten years. In 1883 Donald Wilson passed title of part of his allotments, which included the hotel, to his son.
It appears that almost immediately upon acquiring the property, John Wilson engaged the firm of John Hall and Son to design a new hotel. He took out a mortgage to James Laird over a seven-year period to presumably finance the venture. The red brick hotel was erected by 1884, a contemporary report attested to the fact that the hotel was ‘a most comfortable one’ and provided rooms and stabling ‘for the good accommodation of visitors’. Although he retained ownership of the hotel, Wilson transferred the license in 1884 to James Cain, who held it for five years. Subsequent lessees included Thomas and Margaret Lehane, John Gustavson and William Reuban McEwan.
In 1922, Thomas Corrigan, who mortgaged it to John Wilson for £5000, acquired the hotel. Corrigan agreed to a ten-year lease of the hotel to Castlemaine Brewery and Quinlan Gray & Co, during a time when the brewery was expanding directly into hotels. During 1930s, major renovations were carried out on the hotel. These included a bedroom wing that was added facing Jane Street, plus two small wings and a verandah at the rear. These changes were made at the behest of Castlemaine Perkins so as to increase accommodation space in the hotel. The corner main entry doorway was also removed as was the rear kitchen block, as were the cantilevered verandahs and their external door and windows. Some effort was made to use materials detailing that replicated the original 1884 design.
In 1934 Thomas Corrigan transferred ownership to Corrigans Pty Ltd, and after his death in 1935 the family business continued. During the 1930s, Queensland Breweries secured a lease from 1936 into the 1960s. In 2000 the property still remains in the ownership of Corrigan Pty Ltd.
The Boundary Hotel is predominantly stuccoed or timber veneered with a hipped corrugated iron roof. Timber corbels decorate the lower edge of the main roof with tapered timber beams protruding from the brickwork to support a lower stepped, terracotta tiled roof which shades the horizontally hung, timber windows on the first storey. On Boundary Street, on the ground floor the main entry is slightly to the right with a mixture of window and roller door openings to both sides. A suspended awning also runs the majority of the way along this street edge, with metal fascia and soffit. Steel rods strut from the second storey to support the awning.
The building also has several other auxiliary rooms that are orange brick but are not under the main roof, and could be described as box-like add ons. However, each of these have a character and material usage that is representative of the time period. A ground floor space on Jane Street has rectangular sections of decorative brickwork. However the hotel has recently been renovated and all the brickwork on the ground level has been timber board veneered. The whole exterior of the building has been also been painted. A balcony has also been created by the addition of timber balustrading on the top of the Jane Street building section. The wall on the right end of the Boundary street elevation finishes with a parapet at roof level, but still has the lower roof section supported by tapered beams. The fabric of the building seems predominantly intact, the major change being the painting of the facebrick exterior.
This building has over the years had a series of renovations and additions. The above mentioned alterations are only some. Originally the hotel building was only the section under the main hipped roof. It had a brick chimneystack rising from the left side of the Boundary Street elevation. A verandah balcony ran along both Jane Street and Boundary Street, with decorative iron verandah brackets and balustrading. The verandah roof was convex corrugated iron sheeting with a diagonal angling to the street corner. This diagonal was also expressed in the main roof. The Hotel entry was off Jane Street through a projecting gable porch on the ground level.
Statement of significance
Relevant assessment criteria
This is a place of local heritage significance and meets one or more of the local heritage criteria under the Heritage planning scheme policy of the Brisbane City Plan 2014. It is significant because:
The place is important in demonstrating the evolution or pattern of the city's or local area’s history
as a building on a site that has had an unbroken association with Brisbane's hotel industry since 1864.
The place is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a particular class or classes of cultural places
as an 1880s Brisbane hotel.
The place has a special association with the life or work of a particular person, group or organization of importance in the city’s or local area’s history
as a hotel designed by Brisbane architects John Hall and Son, and for its association with hoteliers the Wilson and Corrigan families.
Allom Lovell architects, Boundary Hotel Report, (Brisbane: Allom Lovell, December 2001)
Brisbane City Council Water Supply and Sewerage Detail Plans
Brandle, Maximilian and Karas, Steve, Multicultural Brisbane, (Brisbane: Ethnic Communities Council of QLD, 1998)
Department of Natural Resources, Queensland Certificates of Title and other records
Donnelly, John J., Hotels of Brisbane, (thesis, 1963)
JOL Estate Map Collection and photographic collection
McKellar's Map of Brisbane and Suburbs. Brisbane: Surveyor-General’s Office, 1895
Morrisson, The Aldine History of Queensland, Volume 2 1888
Queensland Post Office Directories
Citation prepared by — Brisbane City Council (page revised September 2020)