The Bells Vue Private Hotel opened as a furniture, bedding and mattress factory in Ellena Street, Maryborough. It was named “the Ark” by the owner Frederick Popp. It was in 1914 that the building was transformed by Mr A. Hansen into the Coffee Palace and according to the Maryborough Chronicle,
‘…represents the transformation into a fine public establishment of what was previously for many years a rather painful eyesore, familiarly known as “The Ark”, and which, standing as it did right opposite the Maryborough railway station, created a very bad first impression on visitors, and was altogether a very bad advertisement for the town.’
The previous owner Popp, ‘was a man of ambitious ideas, and meant well when he started the building, but a run of bad luck always prevented him from completing it, and so it stood year after year like a ruin’.
The residents of Maryborough were pleased with the transformation that was due to the new owner and the architect, Mr C.H. Crystall, ‘who skilfully planned the building of the old skeleton into the fine premises which now adorns one of the most conspicuous business corners of the city’.
In 2012, John Perrin won the Mayor’s Award for the restoration of the Bell’s Vue Hotel.
Today, the Bell’s Vue Private Hotel is a far cry from its days as a glitzy guest-house built originally in 1885 – it is now provides low-cost emergency housing for people who have nowhere to live. The ground floor at street level also contain retail tenancies.
The Bell’s Vue Private Hotel participated in the Maryborough Open House 2012.
The next Maryborough Open House 2013 will be held on Saturday 26th October 2013.
Maryborough Open House Fact Sheet #3 Bells Vue Private Hotel.
Fraser Coast Regional Council Local Heritage Register.
Maryborough Chronicle, 22nd September 1914.