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Whistle Stop at Gympie’s Phoenix Hotel

What does an old gold mine have in common with a mythological bird and salmon?

They all co-exist at 29 Red Hill Road in Gympie, Queensland, in the form a hotel where Saucy Pierre* and I ate out on Saturday after making a day visit to Brisbane.

Well, the bit about the bird is not quite true. The ancient bird doesn’t really exist there as a living being but instead the historic Phoenix Hotel bears its name.

In Ancient Greek folklore, a phoenix is a bird that dies and gains new life by rising from the ashes of its predecessor. Likewise, in 2014 the Phoenix Hotel was ‘reborn’ after extensive renovations.

The hotel wasn’t named after the mythological bird, however.

Built in 1887, it was named after the North Phoenix No. 2 Mine, near where gold was discovered 20 years earlier. Three tunnels are said to still exist under the hotel.

Popular Phoenix Hotel

Judging by the number of people packed onto the hotel deck when we arrived on Saturday, we could have been forgiven for thinking the chef was dishing up gold.  

We were pleased to have booked a table. The car park was full, as were the side streets, and people of all ages from young children to retirees were tucking into their meals with gusto.

Our dinner choices

Pierre ordered his favourite meal – Graziers Eye Fillet 200gr with pepper sauce, salad and chips – while I again took the fish option with Crispy Skin Salmon on garlic mash with char-grilled capsicum, broccolini and a balsamic glaze.

Both meals were served in good time and well presented. We chose to forego dessert this time but had we ordered, there were plenty of delicious options on offer.

To accompany our meals we chose Arrogant Frog Rosé from the South of France, a pleasantly dry wine with ripe cherry and strawberry flavours.

Back in the 1970s and 80s

Pierre and I were surprised to discover the Phoenix Hotel on our whistle stop visit to Gympie last weekend.

I lived in Gympie in the mid 1980s and Pierre in the late 1970s. Back then I didn’t know the Phoenix Hotel existed. Today, it’s hard to miss and is highly rated on Tripadvisor.  

We both recommend that if locals and visitors get the chance, they visit the Phoenix Hotel in Gympie, located 160 kilometres north of Brisbane with a population about 22,000 people.

 For Phoenix Hotel details and bookings visit phoenixhotelgympie.com.au

 

*Saucy Pierre is not his real name. He’s shy – really!

Graziers Eye Fillet

Graziers Eye Fillet, Phoenix Hotel, Gympie.

Crispy Skin Salmon

Crispy Skin Salmon, Phoenix Hotel, Gympie.

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Young couple re-open historic pub, backpacker style

PICKING tomatoes all day under a hot Queensland sun is more bearable for backpackers when they know there’ll be cold beer on tap close to their bedroom door by night.

Emma Hurley, 21, and Hayden Rimmington, 22, are providing just that for backpackers and locals alike in their new venture as publicans of the Globe Hotel in Bundaberg

Arguably the youngest couple ever to run a pub in Australia, they initially wanted to run only the adjacent backpacker hostel but to do that, they also needed to be licensed publicans.

So now they are! They quickly learnt how to pour beer and opened for business on September 1, 2019.

“I always wanted a pub but never knew we’d do it so young,” Hayden said.

“If anyone had asked us three years ago where we thought we’d be now, we couldn’t have imagined this, Emma having been in retail and me a farmhand.

“The most nerve-wracking thing was being of a younger age and thinking people wouldn’t take us seriously for the venture we’ve undertaken.

“It was quite overwhelming at first but having the locals and new people coming in encouraging us made things easier.”

Great spot for backpackers

The Bundaberg-born couple said the Globe was an excellent spot for backpackers, many of whom come here for their required 88 days of regional work.

“We have just 16 beds; we know everyone by name and can have a yarn and a laugh with them. They can even meet our beautiful pub dog Bessie.”

Emma said backpackers could find jobs all year round, picking small crops and packing fruit sheds.

“Early each morning, Hayden drives the backpackers to the farms and greets them again at the end of the day,” she said.

“At the Globe, backpackers have access to facilities such as kitchen, bath, showers and washing machine as well as a common room and big outdoor area.”

Old world charm in city centre

Hayden said the Globe was one of only a few country pubs left in the centre of Bundaberg.

“There aren’t many places still around that have kept their heritage atmosphere.

“We want to spruce it up with some fresh paint but keep its old colouring and features such as the old timber-lined cold room; that’s what people like to see.”

What’s next?

Emma and Hayden are yet to decide what new services they’ll introduce at the Globe. 

“We already have a wedding and wake booked in but otherwise it’s about testing the water and seeing what people want,” Hayden said.

“There are no poker machines; no gambling. Please come in for a cold beer and a yarn!”

Young couple re-open the Globe Hotel in Bundaberg

Emma Hurley, 21, and Hayden Rimmington, 22, re-open the historic Globe Hotel in Bundaberg.

Making headlines in the Bundaberg Newsmail

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New life for Federal pub

The recent sale of Maryborough’s historic Federal Hotel is positive sign of things to come for the Fraser Coast region, says Division Four Councillor Daniel Sanderson

“There is growing confidence in the city, which is reflected by the number of recent property sales, development applications and enquiries,” he said.

“Owning and running your own business is a big operation and I know the locals will make the new owners of the Federal Hotel feel welcome and appreciated.”

The Federal Hotel was built in 1884 and retains much of its historic charm.

The Federal also enjoyed some notoriety in the 1950s when a dead man was discovered on the premises. Police at the time discovered a cache of 80,000 pounds in cash under the body. The money was never claimed nor the mystery solved.

History buffs can find out more about the region’s rich history by following the Fraser Coast Historic Pub Trail http://www.livelifehappy.com.au/admin/uploads/PubTrail.pdf

Cr Sanderson said the ongoing success of Maryborough’s many pubs, restaurants, cafes and shops was a key focus of the council’s Imagine this City visioning program.

“Imagine this City is chance for residents to help shape Maryborough’s future,” he said.

“We are looking at ways of shaping a vibrant, sophisticated and prosperous CBD for locals and visitors alike to enjoy.”

The council is preparing to hold a series of place-based forums to discuss visions for particular localities.

“This is a great opportunity to rethink how we do things, identify the key projects and initiatives to reshape our future and work towards implementation.

“Our aim is to start rolling out some of the initiatives in 2014 and turn these visions into reality.

“I really think this process is vital to ensure a viable long-term future for the Maryborough CBD.”

Photo: JOCELYN WATTS

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