McLellan’s (later Woolloongabba) Hotel, c. 1929 State Library of Queensland
The people of Woolloongabba have always had a reputation as a thirsty lot. From the days of the bullockies and their drays from the 1840s, to city workers hopping off trams on the way home and today’s sports crowds, the area has a fine tradition of great Brisbane pubs.
Stanley Street, in particular, has long had a strong of prominent ‘watering holes’: the Australian National Hotel, named for the newly federated nation in 1901, and the original McLellan’s (later Woolloongabba) Hotel at the Fiveways being the most central.
With its trams, stations, shoppers and foot traffic, Stanley Street boasted a string of landmark hotels, notably the Woolloongabba Railway Hotel (later Chalk Hotel, now closed), the Morrison Hotel (built 1927), and the
Clarence Hotel (now Brisbane Brewhouse) established in the early 1860s. Towards Kangaroo Point there is the long-standing Pineapple Hotel, on Main Road, and the Broadway Hotel further down Logan Road, now damaged by fire and awaiting renovation.
These had many stories and were the source of many vivid memories. Annie Mackenzie, for example, remembered a menacing gang presence along Stanley Streets pubs during the 1920s and 1930s Depression era. She recalled street gangs of unemployed young men congregating at distinct pubs, with the ‘White Stars’ gang at the Clarence Corner Hotel ranging up against their rivals the ‘Blue Stars’ at the Woolloongabba Hotel.