Friday 30 September 2011

Old Pubs have a history of burning down sometimes fortutiously

Historic Mossman pub burns down

Laura Packham
Friday, September 30, 2011
© The Cairns Post

M0ssman's historic Royal Hotel was destroyed by fire last night.

The two-storey building collapsed after it was engulfed by flames. Fire crews from Mossman, Port Douglas and Cairns battled the fire, which started about 7.40pm.

The pub was built in the 1930s. About 150 residents crowed onto Front St to watch the building burn. A number of gas bottles were also thought to have exploded, feeding the flames. Fire investigators will today try to determine what caused the fire.

A Mossman tradesman said the building was made from solid timber and provided the perfect fuel to feed the fire. "It was pretty wild, there were explosions, a big bang and then there was just the most roaring fire," he said. "It’s just an old timber frame hotel that’s been stripped out. It’s full of timber and old carpet so it was totally taken ablaze. "There was nothing stopping it."

Raine & Horne Mossman/ Port Douglas agent David Cotton, who sold the property in December 2009, spoke to The Cairns Post from outside the pub last night. "There are lights everywhere, ambulance, fire and a few police," he said. "The whole building, there’s nothing, just a little bit of the facade is left.

"The top is basically all gone. The rest is charcoal." Residents said the fire’s intensity melted the hotel’s roof and roller doors, before the iconic building collapsed in the middle. Last year, the hotel’s owner asked Cairns Regional Council for permission to demolish the building.

However, it was identified by the National Trust of Queensland and the Douglas Historical Society as a building of cultural significance for Mossman. Mr Cotton believed the owner’s renewed plans were to build around the famous pub.

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