- Brisbane City
George and Alice Streets, Brisbane 4000
In a time when Brisbane was known as a cultural backwater, the Bellevue Hotel was at the forefront of change as a new era of fine dining, entertainment and accommodation. Located close to Parliament House and the Queensland Club, the hotal was utilised for official functions, weddings, dances, dinners and gala events during the war years.
Famous for its architectural elegance, it was the ornate iron work adorning the verandahs that set the location apart from most others in the city.
A hotel establishment existed on the site from as early as the 1850s, and three successive 'Bellevues' followed consecutively. The main andmost ornate version appeared in 1886, designed by John Cohen, for proprietor J.A. Zahel.
Cohen was tasked with designing a hotel that would be 'commercially successful and climatically adapted, while blending into the fashionable parliamentary precinct.' Cohen’s design incorporated a rendered brick three sided core enclosed by a verandah web of filligree cast iron.
By 1887, there was a ladies drawing room, private suites for informal dining, baths with hot and cold water, smoking, writing and reading rooms, and an attending barber who plied their services each morning for the convenience of guests. Additionally, a waiter was available to meet each steamer that arrived at the nearby wharves.
By the 1930s, the facility has become 'the best known and most popular first class hotel business in the state'. The hotel’s list of celebrities is impressive. Sir Robert Menzies, Marlene Dietrich, Gracie Fields, Joan Sutherland, Frank Sinatra and Katharine Hepburn have all enjoyed her hospitality over the years.
The 'Bellevue' was sold to the State Government in 1967, being used as accommodation for country parliamentarians. Following assessment of safety, the ornate iron work and verandahs were removed in 1974, leaving a bare box structure.
Despite protests from the National trust and the public, the hotel was demolshed on 21 April 1979 in the middle of the night. The site was then occupied to develop the new Government Public Works precinct, including Queens Place with the iconic statue of Queen Elisabeth II.
- Courier-Mail Brisbane. Obituaries 26 JUL 2008, Page 102
- Haydon, C. H. (1969). The Bellevue Hotel 1885 : drawings and photographs, Dept. of Works, p.14
- Fisher, Rod.(1991). Colonial George and William Street heritage tour, Brisbane History Group, Wooloowin, 1991, p24