Theebine Hotel, Theebine QLD


WP_20141229_09_58_46_SmartSometimes there comes a time in life where you get that niggling reminder that you should stop making excuses, and start actually doing some of the things that you’ve thought about doing, or even doing again. This Christmas period, I decided to pack the car and do a bit of a busman’s holiday back down around the south east QLD corner, and in doing so, made a note to try and revisit some of the great pubs that are in that region.

The Theebine Hotel is situated well off the Bruce highway, around about 20 minutes north of Gympie, and inland next to the railway. I hadn’t visited for many years and its location was highly convenient to break for the night on my intended travels, so I did just that.

On the topic of it being away from the highway and closer to the railway, it was that railway line and it’s once busy rail junction station that was established at Theebine between the main north coast line and the Kingaroy branch railway, which necessitated the services of a pub to be established to slake local thirsts. Originally beginning life as Kilkivan Junction, the hotel was built and named as such – the Kilkivan Junction Hotel. I’m not immediately certain as to when or on what basis the name was changed to Theebine. If you’re really interested in further history of the Theebine station in its hey-day and that of the Kingaroy line in detail, you can check that out here; http://www.stationspast.net/queensland/theebine-to-kingaroy/

WP_20141229_10_00_02_SmartFor the avoidance of confusion, Kilkivan is another regional centre on the line between Theebine and Kingaory nearby, and I can only assume that the location of Theebine was originally called “Kilkivan Junction” possibly due to different stages of the Kingaroy lines construction, with stage one being from the main line to Kilkivan, but don’t quote me.

Regardless, the town of Theebine was established as more or less of a service community attached to the railway. Where there was a railway, there was a whole host of people required to live in these sorts of locations in order to support the operations of the old manual railway, prior to centralised signalling, and these people clearly needed a social venue, accommodation for passers-by,  and a cold drink on those hot days.

The railway influence on the small town had all but dried up completely by the early 1990’s, with the streamlining of rail operations brought about by centralised train control handling the signalling remotely from Brisbane, thus rendering the station and its substantial crew of staff no longer necessary. This sort of dramatic change was widespread across regional QLD in the same period, and often had devastating effects on the economies of some small communities, including their pubs.WP_20141229_09_24_28_Smart

 

The ambient Theebine Hotel has stood the test of time, even being tastefully and respectfully renovated in the late 2000’s, giving the old building a stronger grip on its future, and not at the expense of its unique atmosphere. Family operated, publican Claudia and family create a very welcoming homely feel,which is added to by the friendliness of some of the local identities whose local watering hole it is. This pub is the real deal in that it offers everything that it has done since opening – beer, meals and accommodation – the latter of which I was particularly keen on after a day of long distance driving.

The rooms are typical of regional QLD pubs – upstairs – usually up a princely set of stairs, VJ walls and linked by a single corridor, with external French doors opening onto the veranda. The view from the upstairs veranda is very pleasant, overlooking the green rolling hills of the districtWP_20141229_09_14_35_Smart and the main north coast railway, which with the advent of continuously welded rail, the trains pass over quite fastly  and aren’t as noisy as one could expect. If you’re a bit of a train fan, then this is the pub for you! I took a standard room that had the basics – as well as an air conditioner, which wasn’t required. As with most traditional pub accommodation, toilets and showers are shared commodities, but not far away from the rooms and clean.

One of my favorite things about this pub was the availability of good meals. There are pub meals, and then there are good pub meals – Theebine has the latter, with very tasty home cooked meals available even at my somewhat late-ish hour of arrival. I enjoyed a classic rissoles and veg counter meal at the bar for dinner, and enjoyed a very nicely presented continental breakfast in the museum-like dining room the next day. Prices for the meals were remarkably good value and very reasonably priced.

These days, this lovely pub seems to get by on local trade and visiting passers-by. There is quite often live entertainment,karaoke and other typical pub events scheduled for certain dates in the pubs community calendar. My past days as a tour coach captain were prompted by the fact that this pub would be an ideal lunch stop for touring coaches (or indeed anyone else touring), with its fascinating dining room and collection of artifacts.

Short summary – lovely pub, great people, tasty meals, clean, ambient and affordable accommodations, wonderfully welcoming atmosphere….and of course, delicious cold beer.

WP_20141229_09_32_55_SmartIt does require some thinking and a little planning to not get caught up in the sheep-like mentality of only considering stops at the “major centres” so conveniently located on our highways, but once you’ve seen one sterile box of a motel room and the same corporate branding of the next major service station, you’ve seen them all. These lovely pubs are a great way to socialise, meet the locals,enjoy real food and conversation with the owners & locals and the ability to retire to accommodation that oozes history and charm whilst doing so for a far better rate than the average motel.

To get to Theebine, if coming from Brisbane, you take the Gunalda turn off about 15 minutes north of Gympie to the left, pass through that town and follow the signs to Miva and Theebine. From the north, an advertising sign for the pub on the highway just after coming down the Gunalda range south of Tiaro, provides clear instructions on how to access it from that direction.

The Theebine pub has a facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Theebine-Hotel/137618916310794?fref=ts and can also be contacted on (07) 54 84 182. It would probably be a good idea to book ahead for rooms if you’re travelling like I was.

Thankyou Claudia and family for a wonderful relaxed night – I’ll be back!

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