Kairi Hotel Founder John Irvine
One of the first residents of the Warinlge / Kairi area was John Alexander Irvine. John was born in in Scotland in 1869 before moving to Queensland with his parents and brother David, around 1885 – 1887.
John was very much a businessman, so on the success of the family’s transport and supply business, he built a warehouse in Atherton in conjunction with Mr.A. Hollman where they traded produce and built tanks to store maize. They also held a wholesale liquor licence.
John also fared dairy cows, but in 1912, he bought the first sheep to the Tablelands – they were unsuccessful because of the constant wet weather. That same year John built the Kairi Hotel (on Irvine St), followed by a store, butcher shop and dance hall. John needed financial assistance to enable him to furnish the hotel, so he went into partnership with a Tolga publican by the name of Tom Reddan. The pub was first managed by Nis Nissen, then Mrs Neilson. John Irvine took over management of the hotel until the late 1930s, before he moved to his store which he managed until his retirement.
Kairi Hotel Building History
The Kairi hotel was owned and built by John Irvine in 1912. It was a well patronised establishment with many local timber cutters and workers meeting there on a regular basis. The hotel was the social centre of the Kairi township.
The building specifications for the Kairi Hotel that are dated 2 April 1912 stated
“The whole of the work is to be executed in the best possible manner and to be done to the entire satisfaction of the owner or his representative. All material used is to be the best material of the kind, free from all defects and to be thoroughly seasoned before being erected.”
“The Contractor to ensure the whole of his workman policy of same to be placed with the owner before he signs contract under the Workmen’s Compensation Act.”
Located with the records was a hand-written note that stated Boyle, Irvine and Reddan agreed to “Building to be completed within 4 months. Bathrooms upstairs and downstairs are to be provided. Also, a fire escape stairway to be approved by the inspector.”
Some of John Irvine’s specific requests were regarding the types of timbers that were used. For example, Yellow Stringey (sic) for the verandah posts, Kauri Pine for ceiling frames and White Beech or Penda for the balcony flooring.
The result, a charming 2 storey iron and timber (tongue and groove) building with a verandah extending over the footpath. The external staircase was covered to provide protection against the elements. In addition, stalls and a feed room were constructed to compliment the main hotel building. Three 1200-gallon water tanks were also connected to the hotel.
Kairi Hotel's Previous Owners / Managers
NB: Whilst all care has been taken to ensure this list is accurate, we apologise if any of the information is mis-dated.
1912 – 1930 … John Alexander Irvine (Owner)
1912 – 19?? … Nis Nissen (Manager)
19?? – 1930 … Mrs Neilson (Manager)
1930 – 1938 … John Alexander Irvine (Owner & Manager)
1938 – 1946 … Jean Berkeley (Manager) assisted by her sister Connie and Brother in Law Jack Wincen
1946 – 1953 … John Irvine sold the pub to Mr Ferguson
1953 – 1953 … Mrs Pettith (Owner)
1953 – 1960 … Bruce McPherson (Owner)
1957 – 1959 … Leased to Mrs May MacGregor – Renamed to “Mac’s Kairi Hotel – Installed Kairi’s first neon sign
Early 1960s …. Lil and Bill Thomas (Owners)
1965 – 1966 … Stan Foxwell (Owner)
1966 – 1967 … Barry David and Myra Savage (Owners)
1960s -19?? .. Frank and Hilda Franzic (Owners) – no specific dates specified
L / 60s – 1980 . Keith and Val Battle (Owners)
1980 – 2004 … Eddie and Sue Wagner (Owners)
2004 – 2017 … Paul Wagner (Owner)
2017 – pres …. Tanya and Pompey Pezzelato (Owners)
Thanks to Netti Dunne for her assistance with this information. nettieodesign.com
Kairi Hotel encourages the Responsible Service of Alcohol – Be Drink Wise and know your limits.