The Railway Hotel Motel Calliope today. Picture Rodney Stevens
The Railway Hotel Motel Calliope today. Picture Rodney Stevens

FEATURE: Publican drank diluted spirits of salts and died

THE watering hole now known as the Railway Hotel Motel at Calliope has a rich history dating back to 1888 when it was called the Sun Hotel.

For its first 32 years, The Sun Hotel was run by the Mylne family, first by RF Mylne, until 1902, when Mary Mylne was listed as licensee.

When Mary Mylne passed away on November 7, 1902, her daughter Mary Elizabeth Mylne became the licensee.

The history of what is now the now Railway Hotel is documented in the book Shanties, Pubs and Hotels by Pamela Ward.

 

The Railway Hotel Motel Calliope today. Picture Rodney Stevens
The Railway Hotel Motel Calliope today. Picture Rodney Stevens

 

The Mylne family continued their involvement with the pub, with James Fleming Mylne and Henry G Otty listed as licensees in 1906, while Florence Catherine Quinn and John Booth were caretakers.

In 1906, "JF Mylne submitted that his hotel was of wood and contained two sitting rooms, five bedrooms, one bar and stables."

"Annual value was 50 pounds and the licence fee was 15 pounds."

The Mylne dynasty at the Sun Hotel continued with Martyn F Mylne listed as licensee in 1918.

 

The bar area and TAB at the Railway Hotel, Calliope, August 27, 2020. Picture Rodney Stevens
The bar area and TAB at the Railway Hotel, Calliope, August 27, 2020. Picture Rodney Stevens

 

In 1920, plumber David Lewis Farr, of Gladstone, bought the Sun Hotel and was listed as licensee.

In Shanties, Pubs and Hotels, Gladstone pioneer William Golding noted "David Farr was a plumber in Gladstone who did a considerable amount of work for me."

"Farr moved to Mt Larcom and accidentally drank diluted spirits of salts when he mistakenly took it for water and he lost his life."

On September 3, 1924, the Sun Hotel became The Railway Hotel, the name it is still known by today.

 

The Railway Hotel Motel Calliope today. Picture Rodney Stevens
The Railway Hotel Motel Calliope today. Picture Rodney Stevens

 

Wilhelmina Kreidemann and Alexander Hewat were both listed as licensees in 1924, until on September 1, 1926, when John Cowan took over.

Reginald Thomas Lawrence then became the licensee of the hotel on March 4, 1928 until January 2, 1929, when Herbert Edward Grosvenor took over.

After running the Wadleigh Hotel at Bororen, Albert and Margaret O'Sing became the hotel licensees from 1934 to 1949.

Emily Rebecca Nicholson, her husband, and son Alister McLean Nicholson and their daughter Helen Joan Kerr went into partnership as owners in 1949.

 

The dining room at the Railway Hotel, Calliope, August 27, 2020. Picture Rodney Stevens
The dining room at the Railway Hotel, Calliope, August 27, 2020. Picture Rodney Stevens

 

From 1949 to 1983 licensees of the hotel included Bill (Doc) Wilson and Joan Wilson, Halfpenny, Phil Allan, Keith and Marion English.

In January 1983, Terrance Bulger took over, followed by Richard Storey in 1992.

Then Bradley Henderson became the licensee in 1994.

"Bradley Henderson has settled into this hotel and offers family entertainment with bull rides, raffles and good community support and involvement," Mrs Ward wrote.

The next owner of the Railway Hotel was Bill Rudd, before then locals Nick and Cassy Tzoutzias bought the pub in 2002.

"I bought the hotel in February 2002 from Bill Rudd," he said.

"In 2008 I constructed the motel out the back and that really changed the business and gave Calliope something it didn't have, accommodation in town.

"In the past few years I have extensively renovated and modernised the premises, which has been a labour of love.

 

An historic display at The Railway Hotel, Calliope, August 27, 2020. Items include early editions of the Gladstone Observer, The Morning Bulletin and The Courier Mail, plus photos which were all found during the recent renovations. Picture Rodney Stevens
An historic display at The Railway Hotel, Calliope, August 27, 2020. Items include early editions of the Gladstone Observer, The Morning Bulletin and The Courier Mail, plus photos which were all found during the recent renovations. Picture Rodney Stevens

 

Since he purchased the hotel, Mr Tzoutzias said the industry has been revolutionised, which he incorporated with the extensive renovations.

"The great evolution that has happened with hotels is they were once, historically just a place to consume alcohol," he said.

"Now they have become more wholistic entertainment venues for the family.

"Once we used to sell a hell of a lot of alcohol and steak sandwiches, chips and meat pies.

"With the evolution of food we now run a quality extensive hotel menu, then there's gaming love or hate it, Keno, TAB et cetera.

"Pubs have become very much an entertainment complex to cater to everyone, rather than just your traditional drinker.

"I wanted to make the hotel appealing to everyone from all walks of life."

 

The covered back area at The Railway Hotel, Calliope, August 27, 2020. Picture Rodney Stevens
The covered back area at The Railway Hotel, Calliope, August 27, 2020. Picture Rodney Stevens

 

As a hub of the town, Mr Tzoutzias said he is proud to sponsor the Calliope Roosters senior and junior rugby league clubs, the Calliope Kindergarten and numerous other community fundraisers.

During the renovations, Mr Tzoutzias said they discovered six previous floor coverings, located old photos and memorabilia, which have been displayed in the lounge area.

"Today you have got to cater to everyone, because in all communities hotels are central meeting points," he said.

"People get together to celebrate and commiserate at the local hotel.

"Everyone from the locals to the travellers like to visit and look at the display of history and they often say 'I remember that lino in grandmothers house' and things like that.

"That's what I set out to achieve when I bought the hotel was to renovate it, to make a venue that is appealing to everyone from all walks of life."


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