Deceased Norville Hotel owner John Anderson drinks in his pub, which has announced its closure at the end of the month. Photo Kevin Farmer
Deceased Norville Hotel owner John Anderson drinks in his pub, which has announced its closure at the end of the month. Photo Kevin Farmer

Famous Toowoomba CBD pub set to shut doors

AFTER more than 100 years and an untold number of customers, Toowoomba's famous Norville Hotel will soon cease to be a pub.

The historic CBD building, which has been owned by the Anderson family since the early 1970s, will shut its doors after Australia Day in anticipation of a new tenant moving in.

The Russell St pub, built in the early 20th century as the Meaghers Grand Hotel, was believed to be Toowoomba's first three-storey building.

This picture from the Toowoomba City Library shows railway crossing in Russell St next to Meaghers Grand Hotel, now the Norville Hotel.
This picture from the Toowoomba City Library shows railway crossing in Russell St next to Meaghers Grand Hotel, now the Norville Hotel.

Queensland Hot Property's Leon Carlile said there were three potential tenants interested in leasing the space, which necessitated the Norville closing as a licenced venue.

"The leases haven't been signed, but we've been in negotiations with them and they want to change directions so that's why the Norville is getting closed down," he said.

"One (potential tenant) will be a similar type of business but it's a new business model, and it will be more around family-oriented entertainment.

"They all just love the location, being right in the middle of town and the access to carparking up the back is very good."

John Anderson (left) and Barry Hodges in front of the Norville Hotel in August 2017.
John Anderson (left) and Barry Hodges in front of the Norville Hotel in August 2017.

The Norville's closure follows the shutting of sister venues the Settler's Inn and the DeLacy's Hotel, on each end of Ruthven St, at the end of 2018.

The pubs' long-time owner John Anderson passed away in June last year, following a battle with illness.

While Mr Carlile acknowledged how much the Norville meant to its loyal customers, he said the market was much tougher for pubs in 2020.

"It was bought by Norval Anderson in 1972, and it's ingrained in Toowoomba's society," he said.

"I think gone are the days where you can run a traditional pub - you need a unique point of difference, whether it's gaming or the pokies.

"You definitely need a niche, because it's a really tough game.

"We've seen some good pubs close, because they haven't kept with the times."

Norville Hotel in May 2001.
Norville Hotel in May 2001.

All three pubs will still be owned by the Anderson family, under the care of John's sons Robert and Lachlan.

Lachlan Anderson paid tribute to the tens of thousands of customers his family served during the Norville's run.

"I think it's important to thank the community for their support over the years," he said.

The Norville's final event will be an Australia Day party on Sunday week.

For more information about leasing any of the properties, call Leon Carlile on 0418 795 484.