Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

New Royal Hotel Owners Earn Position in Qld Hall of Fame; Recognition for CQ Couple Who Produced a Real Gem

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

New Royal Hotel Owners Earn Position in Qld Hall of Fame; Recognition for CQ Couple Who Produced a Real Gem

Article excerpt

Byline: Steph Allen stephanie.allen@capnews.com.au

AFTER winning the Best Bush Pub in Queensland for the past three years, Rubyvale pub owners Wendy and Bruce McFarlane were inducted into the Queensland Hotel Association hall of fame last Wednesday night.

A record number of 1130 industry members attended the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre ceremony to honour the retirees-turned-hotel-moguls in lavish style.

Mr McFarlane was a director of a large property evaluation company and specialised in pubs before retiring, and when he came across the pub in the heart of the Gemfields, he came up with a brilliant proposal for his wife.

"It just appealed to us. If you walk into the pub it just has such a great atmosphere," Mrs McFarlane said of the rural gem.

"Bruce had looked at a lot of pubs over the years. We could see there was potential there to tart it up, and repair a lot of the stuff that had been let go.

"There's a beautiful native garden with four log cabins in there which are very popular particularly with families over school holidays.

"We've invested a lot of money into it over the years but we're really happy with how it's turned out."

Mr and Mrs McFarlane set to work to revamp the 20-year-old property, which is made of logs, "billy boulders", and local stones from the sapphire mines.

When they bought the New Royal, the logs had not been oiled in so long that there were large gaps between the wall logs.

"The first thing we did was oil over those logs and that's an ongoing thing - we do that every year - and of course they expanded again and we did have to put some wood in between and sort all that area out. We retiled all the toilets with lovely white tiles and brightened them up. Put some hand driers in," Mrs McFarlane said.

"In the beer garden, we laid pavers everywhere and made it all flat and fixed up the garden. We put a sail up for the summer time to provide some shade so it made it a really nice area to sit out."

It's this kind of attention to detail and care that has made the hotel a meeting place for locals, travelling nomads, tourists, and international buyers from Thailand and China. …

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