Miriam Vale Hotel publican Mitch Brennan inside the renovated pub. COVID-19 has hit his revenue, but not his determination to make the pub better. Please include photo credit: Jodie Healy.
Miriam Vale Hotel publican Mitch Brennan inside the renovated pub. COVID-19 has hit his revenue, but not his determination to make the pub better. Please include photo credit: Jodie Healy.

Pub chat: Iconic Miriam Vale Hotel going strong 130 years on

STANDING proudly opposite the railway line, the iconic Miriam Vale Hotel's roots date back to the 1890s, when a name synonymous with its history, John McNamara, was granted its first liquor licence.

Those were the days when Cobb and Co coaches were the preferred means of transport to the town, 70km south of Gladstone and 30km from the coast.

And that was the way the pub used to face, looking toward the Bruce Highway, until rails and steam locomotives came to town.

The town of Miriam Vale was named after a pastoral leasehold, first occupied in 1854, owned by Arthur Chauvel, who named his property after his sister Miriam.

In 1891, when the town became more established as part of the route north, Mr McNamara was purchasing ales, rums, whiskey and other alcoholic beverages from Breslins wholesale stores in Gladstone.

 

Miriam Vale Hotel in the early 1900s. Photo courtesy the Golding Collection from Shanties, Pubs and Hotels.
Miriam Vale Hotel in the early 1900s. Photo courtesy the Golding Collection from Shanties, Pubs and Hotels.

 

In 1896, he was granted a liquor licence, according to the book Shanties, Pubs and Hotels, by Pamela Ward.

But the pub wasn't always situated on Blomfield Street, where it is today.

"John McNamara, after several vain attempts, had the Miriam Vale Hotel moved to the centre of the little township and was in 1897 its licensee," Mrs Ward wrote.

In January 1899, James K Greig took over the then single storey premises, followed by Kate Theodore in 1901.

On August 6, 1902, Mr McNamara was again licensee of his beloved pub, before he transferred the licence to Mary McNamara.

From 1904 to 1915, the hotel changed licensees several times, with RJ Healy (1904), Albert E Baxter (1908), Martha Dettrish (1909), James Hill (1911) and C Johnson in (1913) holding the authority.

 

Miriam Vale Hotel owner Mitch Brennan.
Miriam Vale Hotel owner Mitch Brennan.

 

During World War I, William S Hides and Charles Chapman were licensees.

In 1930, Edward Deacon renewed his liquor licence, then, on October 2, 1935, the licence was transferred from Mr Deacon to William Henry Klumpp, followed by Joe and Mona Magoffin.

By 1977, the hotel's licence had continued for 81 years, until in 2000, Fay Whitley became the licensee.

Current owner Mitch Brennan said he took over the pub in 2016, from Marshall Anderson.

"After Fay Whitely, Charlie and Helen McCallister owned the pub before Marshall Anderson," he said.

"Things are going good now that we're open after the COVID restrictions.

"It's a good, old-school country pub with good wholesome home cooked meals with good old-school country hospitality and ice cold beers on tap."

When health restrictions forced the doors to close in March, Mr Brennan said he undertook more than $30,000 in renovations.

"We took the opportunity when we were shut down to do some long-awaited renovations," he said.

"People love the new dining room, they love the new sports bar and the comments have been great.

"A nice fresh lick of paint and the improvements we have done have breathed new life into the pub."

Next time you are heading south on the Bruce Highway, call in and say hello to Mitch and his friendly staff.



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