Moreton Bay Mysteries -1- The Grand View Hotel’s ‘lost’ cellar

‘Lost’ things intrigue me. They challenge me to find them again.  It may be as simple as locating my wife’s glasses (a plea always issued as I stand holding the front door open while waiting to go out) or as complex as rescuing a ‘lost’ soul for their redemption (I’m no so good at that one). But locating a ‘lost’ cellar in our local pub is a different matter altogether. That really stirs my imagination. How could this happen? How could a cellar be isolated in such a way? Was it fully stocked? If so, the whiskey must be well matured by now. And why hasn’t anyone bothered to find it? 

Grand View Hotel

These questions surfaced again recently when, with a tinge of nostalgia, I heard that my local pub has been sold to a ‘Southern Conglomerate’ (what a cold, unfriendly term that is). The hotel has been a venue for some of my book launches and history presentations – the last most recently as this month. The Grand View Hotel boasts the title of Queensland’s oldest licensed pub still in operation. Its long history, by Australian pub standards anyway, dates back to 1851 when it was known as the Brighton Hotel. The Brock family has owned it since 1992, when the Brocks renovated and researched its history. It was then that the tale of the ‘lost’ underground cellar emerged.  The hotel was remodelled into its present form sometime before 1900. Perhaps it was then that the cellar was ‘lost’. I wonder if the new owners will renovate again. Perhaps the cellar will finally be recovered.

The Balderdash Archibald Prize

Last evening I had the pleasure to attend the gala opening of the Bald Archy prize for 2016 at Cleveland’s historic Grand View Hotel.

For those of you who, like me, have never heard of the Bald Archy competition, it is a parody of the Archibald Prize, an important Australian portraiture award. It usually includes cartoons or humorous works making fun of Australian celebrities. It is judged by Maude, a cockatoo. It began in 1994 at the Coolac Festival of Fun, in the tiny town of Coolac near Gundagai, New South Wales but is now a popular event presented in Sydney, Melbourne and other locations.

The Grand View Hotel is the first venue in Queensland to host the event, and last night we were treated to an opening address by the Bald Archy’s founder, Peter Batey OAM.

Peter Batey's opening speech to the Bald Archy showing at the Grand View Hotel
Peter Batey’s opening speech to the Bald Archy showing at the Grand View Hotel

Peter, now well into his eightys, has a long history of his involvement with the arts in Australia, and is perhaps best known for his contribution with Barry Humphries, to the creation of Edna Everidge, while his collaboration with Reg Livermore of many of his famed characters, starting with Betty Blokk Buster is widely acknowledged.

The Bald Archy showing will continue in the upstairs gallery at the Grand View Hotel for four weeks, and if you have a sense of humour and appreciation of irreverence, satire, larrikinism then this exhibition is for you to enjoy.

The Grand View Hotel at night
The Grand View Hotel at night