Site of fire-ravaged iconic Queensland pub listed for sale

The bar in the beer garden

The site of a heritage-listed North Queensland pub that was destroyed by fire in 2018 has been relisted for sale by expressions of interest.

Located on Boundary St in South Townsville, the property, which is being sold as a development site, was once home to the Victoria Park Hotel.

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The Victoria Park Hotel at South Townsville before it was gutted by fire

Built in 1895, the now-demolished hotel was plagued by bad luck.

“On the 9th of October, 1895, the day the new hotel was to be handed over to the first licensee, Jane Guthrie, it burnt down,” historical information on the hotel’s website says.

A second building of a similar design was opened in 1896.

In 1982, the Queensland Licensing Commission told the owners that the iconic hotel would have to be demolished and replaced but, following a community outcry, the decision was reversed and the exterior of the hotel only was restored, according to the historical records.

And then, on June 7, 2018, fire again ripped through the watering hole, leaving it in a pile of rubble.

Eight fire crews battled the blaze, which took more than three hours to bring under control.

Fire takes hold at the Victoria Park Hotel in South Townsville in 2018. Picture: Adam Jeremiah

Only the beer garden, deli and bottle shop survived the inferno, but that did not stop owners Robyn and Frank Sexton attempting to raise their business from the ashes.

But in March last year, the Townsville Bulletin reported that the couple had decided to sell.

“We don’t have to sell but (Frank) can’t do what he used to do. That’s the only reason we are selling. It’s time for someone else to have a go,” Mrs Sexton said at the time.


Owners of the Victoria Park hotel site Frank and Robyn Sexton with Knight Frank agents Paul Dury and Mark Fitzgerald, who first took the site to market last year. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.

Now back on the market for sale by expressions of interest, it is being marketed by Northern Realty.

“Currently trading as a garden bar and takeaway cellar after the long term success of the Victoria Park Hotel was destroyed in recent years, the current establishment (is) zoned commercial (and) has five gaming licences, a liquor licence with the ability to have three detached outlets and (it) is all positioned on four separate titles and on a corner allotment,” the listing on says.

“This site has the potential for both commercial and residential development within proximity to the Townsville CBD, Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Palmer Street Restaurant Precinct, V8 Supercars and The Port Access Road.”

The owners are currently running the beer garden from marquees

The site identified as 264 Boundary St is currently operating as a garden bar and sits on a 713sq m block.

Two lots of 713sq m each at 266 Boundary St are being sold as vacant lots.

Altogether the site has a land area of 2366sq m, with all offers to be presented by 5pm on April 9.

Agent Bill Micola said he had fond memories of the old Victoria Park Hotel, many of which “ended in hangovers”.

“I’ve known Frank since the eighties when he was up in the Burdekin before he came down here,” Mr Micola said.

“It was a really sad loss (the hotel) but these things happen.”

The site has huge development potential

Mr Micola said the beer garden was still trading and “pulling in a crowd” – a testament to the “great publicans” who “have the gift of the gab”.

“I really think it will sell this time,” he said. “It is a fantastic development site … you could put a tavern at the bottom and units on top.

“It has a lot going for it.”

The deli and bottle shop are also still operational