The Two Rising Sun Hotels 1857-1946

How interesting it was to discover that there were two hotels with the name “Rising Sun” in the Rosewood township and that they were situated not too far away from each other.

The first Rising Sun Hotel started operating in December, 1857. Only once have I seen it referred to as the “Sun Rise” and more frequently it was know as “O’Brien’s Hotel” by locals. It was situated on Michael O’Brien’s land (Lot 11 on the map) at the end of School Street and on the other side of the Ipswich-Rosewood Road (the Old Toowoomba Road). Jane McGeary’s six acre block was next door.

It was described by William Pitt Vance, the son of John William Vance, one of the earliest pioneers. William was born in 1868. In 1923 he wrote to the Daily Mail about his boyhood memories of what was then known as Rosewood Gate. My dearest memories are of two small clearings where the town now stands, and a strip of scrub with a track cut in it (now the main street), and the old home, slabs and shingle roof, and over across the forest, on the main road to Toowoomba, a large two two-storied hotel, where the coaches used to stop prior to the railway coming.

Pughs Almanac of 1866 says The Red Lion Inn, Moore’s, is 7 miles on the road from Ipswich, and the Rising Sun, at Rosewood, is 14 miles on.

Henry George McGeary’s obituary (1939) gave information about his father Henry. He later purchased O’Brien’s Hotel, a building on Toowoomba-road near where the McGeary home now stands, and converted the bar portion into a butcher’s shop. Then he built a shop in John-street, Rosewood. The McGeary home still stands there.

1 December, 1857 – A license was granted to Michael O’Brien, Rising Sun, Rosewood.
 Michael sold his property at the Seven Mile in July. It was a 4 roomed cottage, milking yard and shed with a garden and pig proof fence.

20 April, 1858 – A license was granted to Michael O’Brien, Rising Sun.

14 September, 1858 – Michael O’Brien was charged with illegally refusing to accommodate a traveler. He was fined but did not appear.

19 April, 1859 – Michael O’Brien renewed his license for the Rising Sun, Walloon (sic).

7 April, 1860 – Phoebe Cook was granted a license for the Rising Sun. Phoebe James was born in 1787 in Kingston Seymour, Somerset, England. She married John Cook in 1813 in Bristol. She was a widow, aged 67, when she immigrated on the Ramillies to Sydney in 1855.

3 August,1860 – Michael O’Brien was summoned for keeping up a sign without having a license and selling spirituous and other liquors. This was the sign of the Rising Sun and the name of Michael O’Brien, but the name had been painted over, and the name of Phoebe Cook painted over the door. Charges were dismissed.

16 April, 1861 – Frederick Lloyd from Gatton was granted a license for the Rising Sun. Fred was born about 1821 in London.

15 April, 1862 – Frederick Lloyd’s license for the Rising Sun was renewed.

1862 – 1863  – Joseph Cook had the license. (Son of Phoebe Cook, born 1815)  Joseph was also a mail contractor in Gatton.

At the same time:
 15 April, 1862 – A license was granted to Joseph Cook for the Rose Inn, Gatton. On the 3 March, 1863 Joseph Cook passed the license to William Cook (his brother) for the Rose Inn. On the 1st September, 1863 a license was granted to Joseph Cook for the Queensland Hotel, Laidley.

24 October, 1863 – Michael O’Brien gave notice of intent to apply for the license of the Rising Sun previously occupied by Joseph Cook, but which had been closed since the 1st of July last. This license was granted 12th November.

19 April, 1864 – Michael O’Brien, owner of the property, applied for a license. Charles Clay was a barman at the hotel at the time.

In March there were floods, the highest ever experienced. A large party of road workers, who for some months had been engaged in forming and making a road between the Seven Mile Bridge and the Rising Sun Inn were camped on the paddock behind the hotel. It was covered by 4 ft of water. The hotel was situated on the most elevated part. The whole of the country from the Seven Mile to Rosewood was immersed inflicting great damage to the settlers in the district.

11 July,1865 – Renewal of license of Rising Sun granted to Michael O’Brien.

At some stage Michael became insolvent. A promissory note was made by him on the 8th June, 1867 in favour of Cribb & Foote, Ipswich for £1,643. 19s. It was payable nine months later together with interest of 12 per cent. Michael didn’t honour this agreement apart from £600 which he paid. Michael left Rosewood and went to Roma where he bought a property named “Tinowon Station” near Yeulba, and he became a grazier. Cribb & Foote then owned his land including the house known as the Rising Sun Hotel.

As it was vacant, the old hotel was used as a residence and school room until September, 1870 when Cribb & Foote gave a portion of their premises formerly known as O’Brien’s Hotel for a provisional school. The school was opened in a matter of days under the management of a teacher appointed by the Board of Education (Walter Hore). The property was later purchased by Henry McGeary.

So in the intervening years between 1865 – 1874 no hotel was operating under the name of the Rising Sun.

The second Rising Sun Hotel was situated on land (Lot 274-55 acres) belonging to James Ryan (Butcher), which is where the present day hotel stands.

1874 – James Ryan had the license of the Rosewood Hotel.

18 April, 1876 – A license was granted to James Ryan, Rising Sun Hotel, Rosewood Gate.

2 February, 1877 – A man named Peter Carroll indecently exposed himself in the hotel to Elizabeth Ryan and Elizabeth Larkin, a servant. When he was reprimanded for it he pulled a knife and threatened the Ryans. The Bench found him guilty and he was sentenced to fourteen days’ imprisonment in Brisbane gaol with hard labour.

Also in February, a slaughtering license was granted to James Ryan of Rosewood Gate.

13 February, 1877 – James Brady J.P. bought a 55 acre farm for £500 from James Ryan with an old house, the Rising Sun, on the land. The house was said to be old and of very little value. In March James Brady accepted the tender of John Farrelly for alterations and repairs to the hotel and a new bar, store and corn shed at a cost of £230. Ryan was still the publican.

13 March, 1877- James Ryan transferred the license to Thomas Adolphus Kelleher, a School Teacher from Alfred.

12 June, 1877 – T. A. Kelleher’s license was renewed.

13 July, 1877 – [Q.T.] The Rosewood races took place at the Rosewood Gate in a fine paddock belonging to Mr. Kelleher. The course was not very even, but it was as good as any to be found in the district; and although it was composed of black soil the rain which had fallen did not soften it much. The morning was rather gloomy, which no doubt kept a great many intending visitors at home.Never the less there was a good sprinkling of’ the fair sex, local residents, and sporting friends. Several lovers of the turf arrived from various parts of West Moreton and entered their horses to make a good day’s sport. About 250 people were on the field. Towards noon the sun shone out, and all went off as merry as possible. Our old friends Ash and Kuder were present with abundant supplies of apples, lollies, cakes, &c.; “Aunt Sally” was there, and the owner did his best to make people try and break the pipe in her mouth. Mr. Kelleher, of the Rising Sun Hotel, had a booth, in which he dispensed the best brands of wines and spirits. This gentleman deserves great credit for the able manner in which he acted as secretary and treasurer, and, in fact, for his exertions in getting up such a good day’s racing.

Thomas Kelleher was readmitted to the Department of Public Instruction and went back to teaching in 1878. John Madden became the licensee.

18 March, 1878 – Daniel Ford obtained £1 on false pretenses from John Madden. Ford asked to change a £1 note and Madden gave him 19s.6d. change after Ford had two drinks at 8d. each. John Madden put the note in his pocket. Ford had more drinks and spent 5 shillings altogether and took a bottle of rum with him when he left the hotel. A little later John Madden examined the note and discovered that it was marked “£100”. Madden found Daniel Ford near the railway gate and asked him about it and Ford said that it was a “good one” and that the station master at Dalby had given it to him. The Bench found him “Guilty” and sentenced him to one month’s imprisonment with hard labour in Brisbane goal.

16 April, 1878 – The license was granted to John Madden, Rising Sun Hotel. John was the brother of Elizabeth Ryan, wife of James Ryan.

6 July, 1878 – James Brady sold seven business sites immediately opposite the Rosewood Gate including the Rising Sun Hotel and six adjoining lots. The hotel had been let at an annual rental of £50 and was advertised as commanding the best position of any country hotel in the colony. James Ryan bought back the hotel and adjoining lots. Brady ran as a candidate for Rosewood electorate later that year.

22 November, 1878 – [Q.T.] FIRE. During the thunderstorm that raged on Friday evening last in the Rose wood district, the Rising Sun Hotel, at Rosewood Gate, was destroyed by fire. It is supposed that the building was struck by lightning, as no other cause for conflagration can be assigned. The fire occurred shortly after half-past ten o’clock, and within a quarter of an hour from that time, the building was laid level with the ground; being constructed , almost entirely of wood, it burned like tinder, while the spirits in the bar and storeroom added materially to the rapid demolition of the structure. At one time great fears were entertained for the station house, but, luckily, the flames were entirely confined to the premises on which they first broke out. The hotel was the property of Mr. J. Ryan, and its original cost was about £625, but we regret to learn that the owner was only partly insured to the extent of £300. The tenant, Mr. J. Madden, is also a very severe sufferer, as he has lost all his furniture, fittings, and the entire stock in trade, which had only just been replenished, the loss falling on him being about £200, uninsured. The residents around did all they could to save the con tents of the buildings, but the flames spread with amazing rapidity, and there was no chance of saving anything. To losers by this sad and sudden calamity we offer our deepest sympathy, as the hotel was a well-constructed building, and one much appreciated by travelers, while during his tenancy Mr. Madden had deservedly gained the reputation of being an excellent landlord.

The people of Rosewood Gate felt a lot of sympathy for John Madden’s situation. Without delay, John William Vance & James Brady J.P. set up a subscription for Mr Madden and on the 27th January, 1879, they, along with Charles Dwyer, handed him a cheque for £36.

The Rising Sun was immediately rebuilt.

13 February, 1879 – John Madden transferred the license to Thomas Brennan.

14 April, 1879 – James Ryan put the Rising Sun up for sale once again along with several adjoining allotments. He had been renting it out for thirty shillings a week.

15 April, 1879 – St Patrick’s Day Races took place in a paddock belonging to Mr. T. Brennan’s Rising Sun Hotel. After the second race everyone went to the hotel where a very good luncheon was provided by Mr Brennan. A “shilling shop” was opened on the hotel verandah and a little mild gambling was attempted. Three mounted police were present at the races during the day, but their services were never once required. A ball was held at the hotel that evening.

20 December, 1879 – Henry Best stole £2 8s. 9d. from John Madden, publican, of Rosewood Gate. Mrs Madden saw him leaving the hotel very early that morning and because she had caught him trying to steal some bed linen previously, she was suspicious. She checked the bar and two £1 notes and some silver had disappeared. She called her husband and Best was arrested and eventually sentenced to twelve calendar months in prison.

13 January, 1880 – Thomas Brennan applied to transfer the license to James Ryan. The application by James Ryan for the license was refused.
I understand that the Rising Sun Hotel has been sold to a gentleman from Dalby, and that it will be transferred to him on the next licensing day at Ipswich. [Q.T. 17 January, 1880]

11 February, 1880 – Thomas Brennan transferred the Rising Sun to Bernard Sloane from Dalby.

19 April, 1881 – Bernard Sloane, Rising Sun Hotel, renewal granted.

Bernard or Barney as he was known died in February, 1888. His widow (Margaret nee Dwyer) then became the Licensee.

In May, 1892 – Margaret Sloane gave notice of her intent to transfer the license to her son Bernard Jeremiah Sloane.

19 April, 1906 – Bernard J. Sloane was fined £1 and 3s 6d costs for having kept his licensed premises open for the sale of liquor on Sunday, the 8th instant.

In May, 1909 – Bernard rebuilt the Rising Sun. Having a billiard room also required a license and these had to be applied for along with the liquor licenses.

Plans for the Rising Sun Hotel 1908. William (Will) Martin Haenke, Architect. (Picture Ipswich)

NEW BUILDING. The alterations and additions to Mr. Sloane’s Rising Sun Hotel are now nearly completed and I understand the new premises sill be opened. The old hotel, which, for 7 years, was one of Rosewoods landmarks, was removed bodily to make room for the erection of the new building on the corner of the streets. The new building, which is 38ft. by 38ft. contains, on the ground floor, a bar, 25ft. by 16ft., a billiard-room 29ft. By 21ft. 6in, and entrance hall and staircase, the height of the walls being 11ft. 6in. On the first floor there are four large and two smaller bedrooms. There is an awning over the two foot-paths, and above that, a balcony on the first floor, from which a splendid view of the surrounding country can be obtained. The roof is surrounded by a turret, the height of which makes it visible for a great distance. The billiard room is ceiled with Wunderlich’s stamped steel ceiling, and its dimension permit of its talking a full-sized table. The bar fittings consist of large circular counter and shelves with pediment of cedar and pine for displays of liquors. The amount of the contract was £520, and the contractor (Mr. C. Ridsdale) also carried out the plumbing and painting. The joinery was supplied by Mr. A. Foote of Ipswich, and the steel ceiling was supplied by Mr. J. Cuthbert of your city. The architect was Mr. M. Wm. Haenke, also of Ipswich and the building reflects great credit on his skill. The work has been most satisfactorily carried out, and Mr. Sloane is now in possession of one of the most up-to-dated hotels in the district, besides which is also most conveniently situated for the traveling public. [Q. T. 5 June, 1909]

Some doubt can be cast over the folk lore story about people sitting in the turret of this building to watch for the Cobb and Co coaches to arrive because this building did not exist in its present form (with a turret) until 1909. Other coaches, mail carts, wagons and loaded drays would have stopped at both of the Rising Sun Hotels, the one on the old Toowoomba Road and the present hotel, and “cockies” may have sat in the turret awaiting their arrival.

This information was taken from “Cobb & Co. Coaching in Queensland” by Deborah Tranter (Published by Queensland Museum)
Cobb & Co’s coaches commenced their run in Queensland (for Ipswich and Toowoomba) on 1st January, 1866. The first stage of the rail line, Ipswich to Toowoomba, had reached Bigge’s Camp (Grandchester) in July, 1865. Cobb & Co coaches ran from Brisbane to Ipswich, where passengers and mail were transferred to the train for the trip to Grandchester. There they boarded another coach for the rest of the journey to Toowoomba. As the railway progressed, it reached Toowoomba in April 1867, marking the end of the era of horse-drawn coaches on the Ipswich – Toowoomba route.

Prior to this there were established coach routes where mail and passengers were carried from Brisbane to Ipswich and on to Toowoomba by different operators. These were usually two-wheeled drays or four-wheeled spring carts. In 1864, there is mention of a mail coach from Ipswich having an accident between the Seven Mile Creek and Rosewood. The passengers were returned to Ipswich and the mail was forwarded on horseback.

11 February, 1910 – Bernard Sloane was charged with having kept his licensed premises open for the sale of liquor on Christmas Day. Mr Ludwig Zabel had pre-ordered two bottles of rum but when he got home and took the parcel from his cart it contained wine instead. He sent his son to Rosewood to rectify it on Christmas Day and and Bernard changed it for him, hence the charge. The Police Magistrate decided that under the circumstances he would reserve his decision till a future date.

1 March, 1910 – The Police Magistrate said that he was going to view the matter from a common sense standpoint. The facts did not show that the hotel was kept open for the sale of liquor during prohibited hours, and he would exercise common sense and dismiss the case.

9 April 1914 – B. Sloane, Rising Sun Hotel, license was granted.

Bernard Jeremiah Sloane died on 7th October, 1919. His widow (Catherine nee Farrell) became the Licensee. Bernard and Catherine had 6 children.

6 April 1920 – Catherine “Cissy” Sloane was granted the license for Rising Sun Hotel, Rosewood.

During the Depression years Cissy operated a soup kitchen on the back verandah of the hotel. She died on 15th April, 1942.

The hotel was also “home” for some of the local business people including a doctor, dentist, chemist and bank manager.

The hotel was transferred from the Sloane family in 1946. On the 5th May, 2013 the “Cissy Sloane Crossing” near the Rising Sun Hotel was unveiled in memory of the family.

Researched & compiled by Jane Schy

Memories from the Facebook page.
Sissie’s brothers were in the Light Horse with my grandfather (Fred Evans) during the first world war and my father was a regular customer at the pub. As children we always scored a double sars from either her or Mary Rafter. This was in the 1950s. – Kerrian Evans

My parents, Jack & Irene McKerrow owned the Rising Sun from 1964 -1967. I started school at the Catholic school and my sister Jackie also attended. Mum & Dad made some wonderful friends in Rosewood who they kept contact with for many years.. Bevan & Kate Ahern and a lot of the Ahern family.. Lal Ahern & Snow O’Reilly were like uncles to Jackie & I for most of our lives. Rosewood is a very important part of our family memories!!!! – Kathie Brosnan 

Geldarts were there in the early 60s as I went to school with the daughter of Geldarts. Before Rex Haley was there. – Ruth Wass

Geldarts also ran the pub for a few years too. Not sure if before Rex or after think before Sis Sloan ran it for years and left late 50s I think. Rex was there in 1965.  Rob &Chris Clark

Back in the 60s, the miners used to put their beers on a tab and pay at the end of the week. The bar tenders would write their tab on a chalk board on the wall in the public bar. I remember my mum (Ivy Gannon) telling me about it. It embarrassed her that her brother, Ronnie Ross, always had the biggest tab. – Narelle Bordon

My brothers and I used to leave our bikes there with our blue cattle dog minding them while we were in school across the street. – Gloria Hill

Had our Fishing Club meetings in the back room was a great friendly Hotel. – William Bygrave



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