Skip links and keyboard navigation

Regatta Hotel

  • 600331
  • 543 Coronation Drive, Toowong


Also known as
The Regatta, The Regatta Hotel
State Heritage
Register status
Date entered
21 October 1992
Retail, wholesale, services: Hotel/inn
3.1 Developing secondary and tertiary industries: Feeding Queenslanders
3.8 Developing secondary and tertiary industries: Marketing, retailing and service industries
3.11 Developing secondary and tertiary industries: Lodging people
Gailey, Richard
Gazzard, George
Construction period
1886, Regatta Hotel (1886 - 1886)
Historical period
1870s–1890s Late 19th century


543 Coronation Drive, Toowong
Brisbane City Council
-27.48250278, 152.99616753


Street view

Photography is provided by Google Street View and may include third-party images. Images show the vicinity of the heritage place which may not be visible.

Request a boundary map

A printable boundary map report can be emailed to you.


Criterion AThe place is important in demonstrating the evolution or pattern of Queensland’s history.

The Regatta Hotel is important in demonstrating the evolution of Queensland's history, being evidence of the optimism and exhuberance of the 1880s economic boom and evidence of the former use of this part of the Brisbane River for sporting and recreational activitie

Criterion DThe place is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a particular class of cultural places.

It is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a large, ornate 1880s hotel which remains substantially intact.

Criterion EThe place is important because of its aesthetic significance.

It exhibits aesthetic characteristics valued by the community, being a prominent landmark contributing to the riverscape along the Toowong Reach of the Brisbane River.

Criterion HThe place has a special association with the life or work of a particular person, group or organisation of importance in Queensland’s history.

The Regatta Hotel has a special association with the work of architect Richard Gailey, being one of a group of large 1880s hotels designed by him, which contribute to the architectural character of Brisbane through their imposing presence, extensive use of cast-iron and classical detailing.


This three-storeyed brick hotel was erected in 1886 for Brisbane publican William Winterford. It was the second Regatta Hotel on the site; a single-storeyed timber building, dating from at least 1876, was removed to make way for the new premises.

The new Regatta was designed by Brisbane architect Richard Gailey, who called tenders in February 1886. It was constructed by contractor George Gazzard, at a cost of £4,800.

The Regatta was one of a number of large, masonry, first-class hotels designed by Gailey in the 1880s. Amongst these were the Wickham (QHR 600213) (1885), Prince Consort (QHR 600212) (1887), Jubilee (QHR 600211) (1888) and Empire (QHR 600199) (1889). They were designed not just for local patronage, but to attract travellers and visitors. Each replaced an earlier and much humbler hotel on the site, and in their ornate exteriors, they reflected the optimism and bravado of the booming Queensland economy of the 1880s.

Winterford opened his new hotel in 1887, anticipating a clientele who would be enticed by the river views, the proximity to town and to the Toowong railway station, the weekend regattas on the doorstep, entertainments such as billiards and boating, a well-stocked wine cellar, large well-ventilated bedrooms, family suites, the luxury of hot and cold baths, and good stabling accommodation. However, neither the hotel's comforts nor the Toowong scenery succeeded in attracting the desired patronage. Lack of wider custom, the financial depression of the early 1890s, and the floods of 1893, nearly ruined Winterford. In 1897, he forfeited the Regatta to his mortgagees.

Ulitmately, the Regatta survived and flourished through a number of owners and lessees, and has found a late 20th century clientele amongst Queensland University students. In 1965 it focussed attention on the women's liberation movement in Brisbane, when two women chained themselves to the public bar footrail, demanding the right to drink alongside men.


The Regatta Hotel, located on a prominent site adjacent to the Toowong Reach of the Brisbane River, is a brick building with hipped corrugated-iron roofs. Comprised of three storeys and a basement, it is encircled by wide verandahs, except for a section on the southern side.

The verandahs to the rendered street facades display a lavish use of cast-iron balustrading, paired cast-iron Corinthian columns and cast-iron and timber friezes. These facades, which curve around the street corner, are surmounted by a solid masonry parapet ornamented by masonry finials.

The more modest verandahs on the southern and western sides, now somewhat altered, have paired chamfered posts and brackets, and a continuation of the patterned timber frieze. A painted brick elevator shaft has been added to the southern elevation and a fire escape stair to the western elevation.

The ground floor, consisting of three bars, service areas and an entry foyer, has been refurbished. Original openings to the verandah have been replaced by sliding glass windows and doors. Sections of the verandah have been enclosed in brick to house toilet facilities. The entry foyer retains the original entry doors and arched openings. The unusual timber staircase located at the rear of the entry foyer runs in a single flight between floors, curving at the lower end of the flight.

Rooms on the first floor include a bar, a guest dining room, offices, kitchen, toilets and a guest suite. The bar, formerly a dining room, features a marble fireplace and a pair of curved french doors opening onto the northeast corner of the verandah. The manager's residence and guest accommodation occupy the second floor.

The interiors of the first and second floors retain original finishes including pressed metal ceilings and plastered masonry walls ornamented by arches and mouldings. Panelled timber doors with fanlights open off the central hallway. French doors with fanlights lead from the bedrooms and principal public areas to the verandahs.

Parts of the first floor northern and western verandahs have been enclosed with glass walls. The Regatta Hotel retains a substantially intact exterior and a visual prominence along the Toowong Reach of the Brisbane River.

The modern building constructed as a 'Liquor Barn' (c2006), that is partly located within the heritage boundary is not of cultural heritage significance.

Image gallery


Location of Regatta Hotel within Queensland
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last reviewed
1 July 2022
Last updated
20 February 2022