House debates

Monday, 20 August 2018


Dooley, Ms Jan

7:35 pm

Photo of Ken O'DowdKen O'Dowd (Flynn, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Vale Jan Dooley, nee Evans—unofficial Irish ambassador and matriarch of the Irish community in Queensland. Jan passed peacefully on 27 June 2018, surrounded by her family. Jan Dooley, iconic as her legendary green pubs, was loved by many and will be greatly missed. She is survived by her husband of 49 years, Dr Tom Dooley. Tom's father actually worked with my father, Des O'Dowd, and a chap by the name of Mick Kelly from Bracewell in the sugarcane fields in North Queensland, around the Tully district. She is survived by her sister, Pamela, and four children: Siobhan, Thomas, Kathleen and Patrick—great Irish names. She had nine grandchildren. She was born in Brisbane on 4 January 1946 and was educated at Loreto Convent at Coorparoo.

In 1967, she trained as a nurse at Brisbane's Mater Hospital and later became the sister in charge of the casualty department. She married Tom in 1969. In 1988, Tom and Jan Dooley took over a run-down pub, the Hacienda Hotel in Brisbane. Jan was a woman of action, a game-changer. People laughed when they said they would turn this pub into a great pub, and that's exactly what they did. The rough pub, in a bad part of town, became a hotspot for all the young and not-so-young people to visit on a very, very regular basis. Defiantly, she forged ahead and painted the pub green and adorned it with authentic treasures from her family heritage back in Ireland. It was transformed into a very hot night spot. In 1989, she revived the St Patrick's Day Parade. It had been 50 years since the parade was held. It had not been held since World War II.

In 2004, Jan and Tom sold the hotel at Brunswick Street in Fortitude Valley. In 2012, they built pubs in my electorate, at Capella and Springsure. Cans of Guinness marked the opening of Dooley's Tavern. Dooley's at Springsure created many jobs for the locals and a community gathering place, which is still going strong to this very day. Being a boss didn't stop Jan Dooley from hard work. Her job was to wipe down the bar, collect the glasses, pull the pints and chat with customers six days a week. She worked in the hotels until her health began to deteriorate 18 months ago. She was a wonderful hotelier and the family was wonderful to work with. It was all about just getting things done. Position meant nothing. Whoever was there got the job. It didn't matter what the job was.

Jan was the granddaughter of Colonel Evans of Evans Deakin, the builder of Brisbane's iconic Story Bridge. Her grandmother, a widow from Thomastown, immigrated with seven children. Determination was her trademark. We mourn the loss of someone who did so much to promote the Irish culture and heritage.