RAY HUMPHRYS LOOKS AT A BUNYA MOUN­TAINS HOL­I­DAY RE­SORT

How the hard-work­ing Chan­dler fam­ily cre­ated a re­sort in the 1930s

Dalby Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

NINETY years ago, tourist brochures were rather quaint when viewed from our mod­ern per­spec­tive.

In those days, tourism was new and mar­ket­ing was a lit­tle dif­fer­ent. For the Bunya Moun­tains, tourism was just be­gin­ning.

Be­fore 1930, peo­ple vis­it­ing the moun­tains camped in a tent or rolled out their swag un­der a tree.

Wilf Rus­sell had plans for the Bun­yas and be­ing the lo­cal mem­ber of par­lia­ment, he soon got things mov­ing.

Be­fore he do­nated the large piece of moun­tain top coun­try to be­come a park, he had a large al­lot­ment sur­veyed off an open spur with a won­der­ful view over the Downs and on that he got car­pen­ters to erect a large struc­ture.

This build­ing was to be­come Mow­bul­lan House, the first guest house on the Bun­yas.

He in­stalled Wil­liam Chan­dler and his fam­ily to run the ven­ture.

The Chan­dlers had been farm­ers near Burra Burri and were keen to have a change of life­style.

It opened about 1930 and although the roads were rather atro­cious on the moun­tain climb, guests soon be­gan ar­riv­ing.

It was about then the brochure was cir­cu­lated: Queens­land’s Finest Health Re­sort – The Ideal Place for Con­va­les­cents.

“Mow­bul­lan House, over­look­ing Dalby, is now open for guests. It is sit­u­ated within 15 minutes easy walk to the top of Mount Mow­bul­lan and has invit­ingly airy be­d­rooms, a com­modi­ous din­ing room and a com­fort­able lounge,” it reads.

On the other side of the page is a colour­ful wrap-up of the Bun­yas.

“Mount Mow­bul­lan, the sum­mit of the beau­ti­ful Bunya Moun­tains (the Hi­malayas of Aus­tralia), gives an un­sur­passed view of prac­ti­cally the whole of the Dar­ling Down and Bur­nett Dis­trict.”

At the bot­tom, af­ter a de­scrip­tion of the forests and birds, it con­cludes: “This is the place to gain re­newed vigour – the place for a per­fect rest. The en­tire ab­sence of pests, dan­ger and worry make it a lit­tle bit of heaven.”

To stay there it cost adults 12/6 per day or three guineas per week.

To­day that is about $1.25 per day and a lit­tle more than $6 a week.

Chil­dren in arms were free and up to four years it was quar­ter rate and four to 12 years en­joyed half rates.

The brochure added the guest house had all mod­ern con­ve­niences, in­clud­ing bath­room and sep­tic sys­tem.

At the bot­tom was the proud com­ment: “Mt Mow­bul­lan, Bunya Moun­tains – one of the most beau­ti­ful spots in Queens­land.”

The Chan­dlers ar­rived with three daugh­ters and one son. They stayed five or six years and most of the daugh­ters found ro­mance at the moun­tains. They were the pi­o­neers of the hospi­tal­ity in­dus­try on the Bun­yas.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

TOURISM’S BE­GIN­NINGS: The Mow­bul­lan Guest House was the first at­tempt to cater for tourists on top of the Bunya Moun­tains. Af­ter 87 years it is still lived in to­day.

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