The Seaview Hotel was famous during World War II as an Australian Officers' Mess. The oldest part of the present building was designed by Townsville architect Joe Rooney in 1929, and it is one of very few remaining masonry hotels that were built in Townsville in the first half of the 20th century. It replaced the old timber hotel, built by Joe Rooney's ancestors in 1889, which was destroyed by fire.

Original hotel destroyed in fire

In the 19th century it was fashionable to build villa residences overlooking the sea along this part of the Strand. None of them survived, but the name of one, 'Seaview House', probably inspired the naming of the hotel.

Rebuilt

Seaview Baths, situated opposite Gregory Street, was a unique recreational facility. Opened in 1921 as a seawater bathing enclosure, it was extended in 1930 when a dance pavilion was added, fronting the Strand and extending over the water on timber piers. Electric light illuminated the water, and a local dance band supplied music. Music was also broadcast over loudspeakers so that bathers could enjoy music while swimming. It was probably Townsville's first piped music. With the additional facilities of changing rooms and a cafe, the Seaview Baths was a popular venue until its destruction in a cyclone in the 1940s.

Interestingly, in 1870 the wooden paddle steamer Black became an early victim of a tropical cyclone near this spot when the storm caused it to founder. Fortunately passengers and crew survived.