Heart of the Mul­go­wie com­mu­nity

Gatton Star - - Life -

SET against the mag­nif­i­cent back­drop of the Great Di­vid­ing Range, the Mul­go­wie Ho­tel, af­fec­tion­ately known as the Mulga Pub, has been the heart of the val­ley’s com­mu­nity for more than 100 years.

Orig­i­nal se­lec­tors Phillip McGrath and the Hunter brothers have played a huge part in the de­vel­op­ment of the dis­trict.

The fer­tile val­ley, first recorded by Al­lan Cun­ning­ham in 1828, be­came part of the 150,000 acres of JP Robin­son’s Franklyn Vale run in the 1840s.

Opened for se­lec­tion in the 1860s, Phillip McGrath, Robert and Alexan­der Hunter made the val­ley their home and to this day their de­scen­dants still work the land of those orig­i­nal selec­tions.

The dis­trict was orig­i­nally called Burn­side af­ter Alexan­der Hunter’s prop­erty, which can still be iden­ti­fied by a ma­jes­tic av­enue of silky oaks that led to the homestead.

His brother Robert had called his prop­erty Moun­tain View and it is from here that the val­ley ac­quired its name Mul­go­wie, which in the lo­cal Abo­rig­i­nal di­alect means moun­tain view.

Phillip McGrath was the man re­spon­si­ble for es­tab­lish­ing the vil­lage of Mul­go­wie, which con­sisted of a black­smith, a store, the ho­tel, a butcher, the school, the com­mu­nity hall and recre­ation grounds.

Bill and BobWil­son built the ho­tel and ad­ja­cent store for Phillip in 1896.

It was known as the Burn­side Ho­tel and was a pop­u­lar spot for team­sters to stop and re­fresh their teams of bul­locks on the re­turn jour­ney from Lai­d­ley.

When the rail­way came to the val­ley in 1911, the name was changed from Burn­side to Mul­go­wie to avoid con­fu­sion with another rail dis­trict of the same name.

In the 1990s publi­can Ag­gie Ped­er­sen re­named the ho­tel Mul­go­wie Ho­tel.

The ho­tel is best known out­side the small farm­ing com­mu­nity for the Mulga Bull Ride.

Joe and Mick Foxlee es­tab­lished the ride 15 years ago and it just gets big­ger each year.

A huge adrenalin-packed event, the lat­est bull ride at­tracted about 1000 peo­ple to take in the ac­tion.

The Mulga is also the fo­cus for the Mul­go­wie So­cial Club, which or­gan­ises trips to the Gat­ton Races and the Christ­mas Coun­try Car­ni­val.

A big draw­card, the Mul­go­wie Farm­ers’ Mar­ket, is held on the first Satur­day morn­ing of each month and is jam-packed with fresh lo­cal pro­duce and hand­made items.

Es­tab­lished dur­ing the 1950s, the Mul­go­wie Gift is a big day for the val­ley and, though there is some se­ri­ous run­ning done, the day fin­ishes off with an egg and spoon race and po­tato sack race.

Each Septem­ber the Flight Cen­tre Epic Moun­tain Bike Ride draws more than 1000 rid­ers to tackle the gru­elling task.

The ho­tel is also the main venue for a folk fes­ti­val held in March, with live mu­sic and im­promptu jams hap­pen­ing over the weekend.

Camp­ing is avail­able at the nearby re­cre­ational grounds and the ho­tel has two cab­ins for let.

The Mul­go­wie Ho­tel sits di­rectly op­po­site the stag­ing ground used for the Mit­subishi Elec­tric Lock­yer Val­ley 300 and hosts the event and Aus­tralian Off Road Cham­pi­onship pre­sen­ta­tions.

Pioneers in the val­ley, the Em­mer­son fam­ily, bought the pub 10 years ago and Si­mon and wife Cherie Em­mer­son have been run­ning it for the past three.

Counter lunches and din­ners are served and, of course, icy cold beers and a se­lec­tion of wines.

There is a jack­pot raf­fle held each Fri­day night but you have to be there to claim the prize.

Known for its coun­try hos­pi­tal­ity and ser­vice with a smile, the shady veranda is a per­fect spot to have a bite to eat and sink a few coldies while tak­ing in the quiet am­bi­ence of the beau­ti­ful Mul­go­wie Val­ley.

It is just a great old style coun­try pub that hasn’t changed much in the past 117 years.

PHO­TOS: SARAH FLEM­ING/ MA­RINA JETNIKOFF / DAVE NIELSEN

GREAT PUB: The Mul­go­wie Ho­tel, a great bush pub, is a fo­cus point for the Mul­go­wie com­mu­nity.

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