Merry Christmas and a Happy & Healthy 2015
Saturday, 6th December, 2014
We are coming to the end of what has been a challenging year for me personally but I have great hopes for 2015. Things started to look up for us in October when our little country pub the New Royal at Rubyvale in the Sapphire Gemfields won Queensland Hotel Associations Best Bush Pub.
It was a gala night at the Convention Centre in Brisbane and it was great to have our little Aussie battler recognised among pubs, clubs, resorts and hotels from around the State. We came out to Rubyvale over three years ago now and took over the pub which attracts sapphire fossickers from all over Australian and overseas. Rubyvale itself is a speck on the map located 17 kilometres from the Capricorn Highway, which runs from Emerald to Longreach and is a small township and a minute epicentre vital to the Central Queensland Gemfields. At the 2006 census, Rubyvale had a population of 510.The Gemfields here are acknowledged as the largest sapphire producing area in the Southern Hemisphere and Rubyvale is easily found just 8 kilometres from the town of Sapphire. In the 106 years since our little pub was built, and then named The Royal Hotel, rather than The New Royal Hotel, its history and fortunes have mirrored those of the surrounding Central Queensland gem fields. Some years have been rich with good fortune, buzzing with visitors and activity and The Royal sparkled as the centre of attention in the region. In other less fortunate years for miners, and the years that stretched across the depression, war times and the ebb and flow of economic and social change, The Royal sat quietly, waiting for the good times to return. But always this quintessential Aussie Bush Pub has remained a place where travellers and locals alike can find a seat, a friendly word, cold beer, tasty meals, stories (lots of hilarious and doubtful stories!) and the kind of unpretentious welcome unique to Aussie bush pubs. Rubyvale’s infrastructure boasts The New Royal Hotel, a general store, a café, post office, and otherwise many proud locally run gem galleries and tourist mines. It’s a great area for sapphire fossicking and a friendly town where the locals like to welcome visitors. Designated fossicking areas are located in and around the township include the intriguingly named nearby areas of Reward, Scrub Head, Divide, Middle Ridge and Tomahawk Creek. The area can get up to 40’C during summer which has been most of this week, and can reach 0°C in winter and this year we had frosts which didn’t do our lovely garden a lot of good. The original pub was built in 1908 by an enterprising widow Kate Leahy and her son William who built a permanent hotel on the site of today’s hotel and called it Royal Hotel. They also owned a butchery and a bakery in the town. Local folklore says that Mrs Leahy did not have the money left over to furnish the hotel so borrowed crockery and cutlery from friends in the area and returned it once she had been give the okay to commence trading by licensing inspectors. Trade varied over the years with the rise and fall of the sapphire miners and in 1949 an ABC journalist reported that there were around 16 people living in Rubyvale but there was a hotel, two stores, a post office, garage, the hall and about 40 to 50 modest dwellings. However at the hotel there was no beer as there were not enough people in town on a week day to drink a five gallon keg. Eventually in 1961 the licence of the Royal Hotel was surrendered due to lack of custom. In 1982 a hotel set was constructed behind the old storeroom for shooting of the film Buddies. In 1987 the original Royal Hotel, which was by this stage a grocery shop, residence and two gem shops burnt down! There was nothing the Rubyvale or Emerald Fire Brigades could do. In 1997 some ten years later, when the New Royal Hotel at Rubyvale was built over 700 patrons attending the grand opening. Subsequently the hotel changed hands in 2004 and due to the vagaries of business was placed into receivership in 2009. Bruce and I brought the New Royal in 2011 and commenced a heartfelt program of rejuvenation, maintenance and renovation, restoring the heart and soul of Rubyvale’s iconic pub and preparing it for its next generation of miners, diners, and visitors from throughout Australia and occasionally throughout the world!
Come and visit us and check out the local mines, Miners Heritage was originally a working mine but today the owners Kerrie and Kim conduct tours and they also do beautiful jewellery as they formally owned a jewellery shop in the Brisbane Arcade. Jane and Micheal who have the local motel, a jewellery shop and an observatory with a powerful 14” Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope, perfect for seeing the magnificent clusters and colours of stars which shine so brightly in the outback. In the little town centre Peter and Eileen run a lovely café and shop and Anne is just across the road runs a shop in conjunction with her husband, Dave who cuts gems and runs tours with his brother Keith. Bobby Dazzler mine and café is short walk from the pub and there are many really good jewellers dotted around the area and we have had many guests who have found their own sapphire and had it cut and made into lovely rings, earrings and pendants. Come for a weekend in 2015 and stay in one of our delightful log cabins set in pleasant native gardens. www.rubyvalehotel.com.au .
I was in Bangkok last week helping some lovely shoppers experience the delights of Bangkok, we stayed at the wonderful Rembrandt Hotel, enjoyed a cooking class there and of course a farewell dinner at their fabulous Indian restaurant . We shopped up a storm and we bought exciting Christmas gifts and experienced the twice yearly Jim Thompson sale at the convention centre.
We will have more tours in 2015 so why don’t you join us?
Meanwhile trust you all have a wonderful time with family and friends over the holidays and I hope all your dreams come true in 2015, do hope that includes some travel.
Happy travels Wendy