Good times roll at Goodna Royal Mail

COLD beer and good old fashioned hospitality has been a feature at the Royal Mail Hotel in Goodna for over 150 years.

What has changed is the vista you might lay eyes on out the front of the iconic pub.

Participants get ready (above) for a fox hunt outside the Royal Mail Hotel in Goodna in 1892. Photo: Contributed
Participants get ready (above) for a fox hunt outside the Royal Mail Hotel in Goodna in 1892. Photo: Contributed

The picture above, taken in 1892, shows a large group of horse riders and dogs gathered in front of the hotel in readiness for a fox hunt, a relic of our colonial past.

The picture below, kindly supplied to the QT by Cr Paul Tully, is of a scene from what is thought to be the 1940s with some old cars parked out front.

Below is a photo of the Royal Mail Hotel in Goodna taken c1940s. Photo: Contributed
Below is a photo of the Royal Mail Hotel in Goodna taken c1940s. Photo: Contributed

The third below, taken last week, is a scene those who visit the Royal Mail today will find familiar of patrons on the "steel horses" of the modern era.

ROYAL RIDERS: Motorbike enthusiastts (from left) Richard Freeman, Steven Hawkins, Danny Reno, and Mal Watts, enjoy a visit to the Royal Mail Hotel in Goodna. Photo: David Nielsen
ROYAL RIDERS: Motorbike enthusiastts (from left) Richard Freeman, Steven Hawkins, Danny Reno, and Mal Watts, enjoy a visit to the Royal Mail Hotel in Goodna. Photo: David Nielsen

The photo is a historical document of its own, so it is worth meeting the men in it, and their bikes.

Three mates - Danny Reno, Richard Freeman and Mal Watts - make frequent pilgrimages to the Royal Mail on their impressive bikes.

Reno has a collection of Indians, and the 1937, 1200cc Indian Chief he had at the Royal Mail is the only one he's bought from the US. The pub fits in perfectly with his lifestyle.

"It is close and it suits my old bikes," he grins.

"It is 20 minutes down the highway and you could be anywhere. You could be in country Queensland. Sitting out the back, it's beautiful."

Mal Watts was on a 1700cc Harley Davidson Breakout, a real beast. He got a buzz out of our historical photos.

"Australia doesn't have a lot of history, so to see something like that is very impressive," he says.

"Our bikes are the modern horses…with a lot of horsepower.

"We are three mates who come out here. It is a real destination. It is an easy ride from Brisbane to experience a really old pub with character.

"Every time I come here, I notice all the guys seem to know each other. It is fantastic."

Blues fan Freeman was riding his Harley Davidson Softail Springer FXSTS, modified to 1800cc after having some work done to it.

"This is one of the great pubs," he says.

"It is the only one I know in south-east Queensland where you can come and have a few quiet beers and listen to some good music.

"I love my blues, and (the late bluesman) Wiley Reed was a good friend of mine. I first came here around 15 years ago. I live in the city, but it wouldn't matter how far I had to ride, I'd come out here."

Steve Hawkins dropped in from Ripley, via a city bike shop, just for the photo shoot.

He sat proudly on his Kawasaki Ninja H2 1000 supercharged bike.

"It has just rolled out of the shop and I have ridden here from Bowen Hills to park it here for this event," he grins.

Meanwhile Cr Tully, with a keen eye for history, notes the 1940s photo has similarities with modern times.

"It is very interesting that the camphor laurel trees are still there," he says.

"You can see one camphor laurel tree in Lowe St, and the other on Brisbane Terrace."

The hotel was once on what was the main road from Brisbane to Ipswich and Toowoomba until December 1955.

"And back in the 1800s the Cobb and Co coaches used to run between Brisbane and Ipswich several times a day," Cr Tully says.

"Often they would make it a two-day trip and stop off at the Royal Mail Hotel.

"I call it the closest country pub to Brisbane. Behind the houses across the road is the Brisbane city boundary."

The hotel has been through several floods and undergone various modifications. Publican Andrew Café didn't like some of them so he restored the high ceilings and welcoming veranda of yesteryear.

"When we came the front veranda was all enclosed with glass louvres and was bricked up with orange house brick. It was intimidating," he says.

"So we took that down and put the veranda back in to get that old feeling back.

"We took the false ceiling down inside where you could just about touch the ceilings."

As he flicks through the old pictures, Café is just glad he has managed to retain what gives the pub its endless appeal.

"It was a very well built hotel at the time, and it has certainly stood the test of all that time," he says.

"The hotel's uniqueness is creating the appeal."



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