The month following his death, Mary Tynan acquired the neighbouring block of vacant land, Subdivision 5 of ESA 74, probably as an investment. In April 1882 Mary borrowed £50 from the Corporation of the Brisbane District Branch of Independent Oddfellows Manchester Unity Friendly Society. The loan was presumably to establish the grocery business that she operated from her home from 1882. By June1889 Mary Tynan had repaid her loan, and then began to further consolidate her financial position.
The extension of the South Brisbane railway and the construction of the Woolloongabba Goods Yard during the 1880s, no doubt provided Mary Tynan with an opportunity almost literally on her doorstep.
During 1889 she engaged prominent Brisbane architect Richard Gailey to design a hotel to be erected upon subdivision 5. The three story brick ‘Railway Hotel’ was erected by 1890. In March 1890 she was issued a Victualler License, current only to 30 June 1890. In the following month Mary took out a mortgage of 6000 to the Brisbane Permanent Building and Banking Company, Limited, presumably to finance the erection of the hotel. On the same day she leased the property to publican James Kelly, to whom she transferred her license in July 1890. The lending of such a large sum to a woman at that time might be considered highly unusual, and would appear to indicate strong confidence in her entrepreneurial abilities.
Renowned for the number of its hotels, Brisbane had 117 hotels to service a population of just over 47000 in 1881. Other hotels in the immediate vicinity were the Buffalo Inn (1864), Woolloongabba (1868), Burkes (1891), Broadway (1890), Clarence (1864), Norman (1890). According to Lawson, public hotels functioned primarily as working men’s clubs. As the population in Woolloongabba grew, and local industries such as the Dry Dock and the rail yards developed, the Woolloongabba Hotel would undoubtedly have fulfilled an important club function for those living in the vicinity.
In the decade following 1890 the Railway Hotel passed through the control of a number of lessees, though Mary Tynan remained the owner. In 1901 the lease was transferred to Perkins & Co Limited, an early indication of the interest in outlets by the brewing companies. The lease went back to an individual again shortly afterwards.
In August 1907 Mary Tynan died at the age of sixty-four. By June 1908 the Railway Hotel had sold, and the new owner Matthew Fearron used the property as security for a 6000 loan from The Brisbane Permanent Building and Banking Company Limited. It remained in Fearron family ownership until 1918, when the Castlemaine Brewery and Quinlan Gray & Co Brisbane Limited obtained title. Castlemaine operated the hotel until 1976 when the brewery began to divest itself of assets.
Although this building has undergone alterations and refits over the years – it is not known when the verandahs were removed - the basic form of the exterior is still apparent and elements of the original detailing remain intact. Freeland has argued that pubs are among the most socially significant, historically valued, architecturally interesting and colourful features of Australian society. The Railway Hotel provides evidence of these attributes.