Recapturing the magic of history
MOUNT Perry Federal Inn owner and operator Bob Gilbert has returned to the hotel he rebuilt with his bare hands after more than a decade away.
“I first bought the building in 2003 and began renovating it,” Mr Gilbert said.
The building was an old movie theatre which had been closed down in the 1950s.
“The building had been condemned at the time. I did the renovations myself because I am a builder by trade.”
The full renovations took Mr Gilbert more than a year to complete.
He decided to lease the building out after a handful of years running it.
“My wife and I ran it ourselves for 13 months before she passed away suddenly,” Mr Gilbert said.
“I kept it for three years before I leased it out.”
Mr Gilbert remained in Mount Perry.
“I stayed in town and kept Mount Perry as my base and decided to take the place back over in July this year,” Mr Gilbert said.
Upon returning to the Federal, Mr Gilbert set out to revamp the place he built.
“You definitely feel the theatre theme again,” Mr Gilbert said.
“Especially with all the billboards and posters up, when I took back over I set the place back up how it used to be, with old movie posters and memorabilia around the place.”
Mr Gilbert embraced the unique nature of an old theatre as a restaurant and bar.
“It is a great little spot in Mount Perry and the Federal Inn offers a unique experience,” he said.
“I have hired a new chef, Kerry Smith, she is excellent.
“We will be doing a mixture of tapas and a la carte food, the tapas is definitely a new addition to the menu.”
The restaurant will be open for lunch every Thursday to Sunday from 11am until 2pm and from 6pm Monday to Saturday for dinner. Bar opens at 4pm. “Everyone is always impressed with how the place is done up and the atmosphere it has,” Mr Gilbert said.
“They enjoy being able to sit inside or outside with the view of the mountains and the bush setting.”
With the warmer seasons ahead Mr Gilbert looks forward to seeing visitors to Mount Perry.
“As spring comes on we tend to get a nice flow of tourists, like motorcyclists on long rides or day trippers from Bundaberg and Hervey Bay,” Mr Gilbert said.
“Mount Perry is a great little spot out here in the ranges and has a lot of unique things to offer.”
This was something that inspired Mr Gilbert to start the Federal Inn in the first place.
“It would have been just as easy to knock the whole thing down and build it from scratch,” Mr Gilbert said.
“But this is a special part of our history here and I wanted to preserve that.”
HISTORY REPEATING: The Federal Inn is back in its original owner’s hands.