People's Palace


Significant not just for its iconic Queensland style of multi storey wrap around cast iron verandahs, the People’s Palace is also a rare example of a purpose built temperance hotel.

In 1910 the temperance movement (a pre-cursor to the US prohibition era) was gathering pace and the People’s Palace, a haven from the social ills of drinking gambling and other ‘immoral activities’, was designed for the Salvation Army’s founder’s son William Booth by their architect Colonel Saunders and upon completion in 1911 was the first of its kind in Queensland. Consisting of three floors of accommodation, a basement and rooftop garden and with its proximity to Central Station, it became a place for working class travellers to stay.

Other than a fire burning out the upper floor in 1938 the hotel operated for 68 uneventful temperance-filled years until it was leased out as budget accommodation in 1979. At the time long-term Psychiatric hospitals were closing their doors with ex-inmates rehoused in the community and the People’s palace became somewhat of a doss-house for the mentally ill.

After they were moved on it was reclaimed as Salvation Army offices and then, in a move that would have William Both turning in his grave, has metamorphosed into the ultimate anti-temperance hotel – a backpacker’s hostel.

People's Palace 

308 Edward St



308 Edward St Brisbane

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