PA Hotel manager recounts a life well-lived
HIS first job was working as a trolley collector at Booval Fair in the 1970 and today Peter Coultas still lives and works in the suburb where he was born and raised.
As the suburb has grown over the years, the manager of the PA Hotel in the heart of the suburb has never seen any reason to leave, and he's seen the pub grow to include a sports bar with more beers on tap than any other in the southern hemisphere, a gaming room and one of Ipswich's most popular eateries, Char'd.
"I was born and bred in Booval, lived in Hamilton St as a kid and, yes, my first job was at Booval Fair as a trolley boy," Mr Coultas said.
"I then joined the navy but came back to Booval where I've seen lots of changes over the years.
"I'm someone who loves the old home on a quarter- acre block and that's what's so good about Booval.
"I think that's what gives the suburb its character.
"Right now it's bringing younger families in because the homes in Booval actually have a backyard that kids can play in.
"It's not only so affordable but everything is here, from doctors and specialists to great pubs and food."
Peter, who has been the manager at the pub for more than 10 years, says working for a family business has so many advantages.
The owners, the Johnson family, were earlier this year named in the Top 50 List of Ipswich's Most Influential People in The Queensland Times.
"I've been here at the PA for the past 10 years.
"I remember coming here in the 1980s when there was a disco where Plantations was, I even had my first beer here.
"I have such fond memories of this suburb, and it's a real privilege to work for the Johnson family, they really empower their staff and for me, a local boy, to be managing the pub that was always my local...again, it's a privilege.
"The foresight of the owners to look ahead and see what the future involved - they embraced food and, if you don't do that these days, you won't survive in this industry.
"Winning the Best Hotel award for two years running gives the community a place to hang their hat on, and reflects the energy the owners put into delivering great food," Peter said.
"One of the comments I get all the time from visitors out of town is 'Can you move this hotel to Brisbane' and the thing is no, we are very happy where we are.
"That's such a great compliment that a pub in Booval is wanted all over the place."
Peter makes a lot of sense when he talks about his love for the area.
"Booval is the perfect suburb: Look at the location, it's the centre of Ipswich.
"We are close to all the main highways to Toowoomba, Springfield, Gold Coast, Warwick, plus Brisbane Rd runs right through it, so everyone coming or going to Ipswich goes through Booval.
"Having businesses like Costco and Harvey Norman in the area is just going to bring more people to Booval."