IN 1848, the small town of Ipswich welcomed Mr. Woolley, who disembarked from the steamer ‘Experiment’. Records indicate that he chose to spend the night at Mr. Martin Byrnes’ Steam Packet Hotel, strategically located at the corner of East and Bremer Streets.
Around 1854, a transition occurred as Mr. Malcolm McLean, formerly engaged in the butchering business on Nicholas Street, retired to take up the license for the Steam Packet Hotel. The hotel was described as being a brick building. It is suggested that Mr. Joseph Pickards took over the license before transferring it in 1863 to Mr Alphen still under the name of the Steam Packet Hotel.
By 1864 we find Henry Alphen applying for a publican’s license, asserting that he rented the property from Alderman Byrne. The Alphen family, consisting of Henry, his wife and four children, resided on the parcel, boasting three sitting rooms and six bedrooms beyond those needed by his family. This era saw the hotel affectionately referred to as Mrs. Alphen’s Waterview Hotel, where a large clock with a unique sign reading ‘No tick!’, replacing the clock’s face, became a notable feature.
In 1869 Mr. Michael O’Malley auctioned off the Waterview’s contents, signalling a change in publican. John Smith acquired a license in the same year, adding to the hotel’s history of licensees.
Around 1870, Mr. George Livermore purchased the property, initiating the next era. In 1874 he obtained a license, renaming it the Governor Cairns Hotel. For 35 years, Livermore remained living in the establishment until his passing in 1909.