ROSE CITY REMEMBERS: The Mayfair Hotel Motel was a must for residents between the 60s and 80s, pictured here in 1984.
ROSE CITY REMEMBERS: The Mayfair Hotel Motel was a must for residents between the 60s and 80s, pictured here in 1984.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? The treasured history of the Mayfair

BEER-soaked carpets, late night discos, and wedding receptions - for those who grew up in Warwick between the 60s and the 90s, the Mayfair Pub is etched into minds as the place for a good time.

In Warwick Daily News' latest series looking back on the classic haunts of Warwick, we turn focus to this iconic Palmerin St hotel and how it created memories to last a lifetime.

For Ann-Maree Mann, whose dad Keith manned the bar in the 80s, it was not only her first pub, but one of her favourites.

"I met my kids' father there. I think a few families started there. People met and ended up married or together," she said.

"I made a lot of friends there I still have today."

The Mayfair on Palmerin St in the 80s.
The Mayfair on Palmerin St in the 80s.

But the pub wasn't always known as the Mayfair, starting out its life in 1875 as the Southern Cross Hotel, operated by licensee James Thomas Lethbridge, with Mr Lethbridge soon changing the name to Royal Hotel.

It only was named Mayfair Hotel Motel in 1963, following the death of Mr Lethbridge and extensive renovations.

At the time, the Daily News reported "new owners set out with one aim in mind, and that was to provide Warwick with an ultra-modern, first-class hotel-motel to cater for tastes of both city residents and growing tourist potential of south Queensland."

It continued to pass through many hands over the years from popular rugby league player Vic Armbruster to Cliff and Marcia Farrell.

Before it was the Mayfair, it was known as the Royal Hotel. CREDIT: SLQ archives
Before it was the Mayfair, it was known as the Royal Hotel. CREDIT: SLQ archives

When Mrs Mann's dad worked there, it was licensed by Gavin and Lois Furness.

The three were responsible for refurbishing the lounge bar into the famous disco.

"Dad and Gavin and Lois put a lot of effort into it, it was very modern for that time, something you would find down in Brisbane," she said.


"They even had a big disco ball and live music Friday and Saturday.

"It was very popular with those aged 18, or even younger, to 30. The Bacon Factory people were very frequent back in the day."

The popularity of the hotel is something former barmaid Barb Doran can testify to, remembering gigs from household names such as John Paul Young.

Working under the Rushtons, Mrs Doran said it was always busy, regardless of the time of week.

"Come Rodeo time, we always big had stuff there," Mrs Doran said.

"You had the parade, Mardi Gras, and they'd come up and put on country music."

Like Ms Mann,Mrs Doran's time there as an 18-year-old also resulted in sparks.

"I met my husband there," she said.

"I was walking behind the bar when he came in for a drink and we started talking. It just went from there and now we've been together 40 years."

The Mayfair Centre as we know it today, pictured here after John Doherty's upheaval in the 2010s.
The Mayfair Centre as we know it today, pictured here after John Doherty's upheaval in the 2010s.

Other locals recall will wild nights, topped off with a pie from the Hudson's Pie van out front or legendary brawls.

But the partying days came to an end in 1997 when former Warwick Shire councillor John Doherty purchased the spot, transforming the space into office spaces.

Today, the Mayfair Centre acknowledges its rich history but many still remember what once was.

"It was a big part of Warwick history and it's surprising to see how its changed," Ms Mann said.

"You wouldn't even know it was once the Mayfair."



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