How the two-storey Landsborough pub was moved over a kilometre by bullock dray


The moving of the Mellum Club Hotel, 1914. Picture: State Library of Queensland

OVER a two-week period, a historic two-storey pub in a small Queensland town on the Sunshine Coast hinterland was painstakingly moved over a kilometre by bullock drays to its new home – without losing one days trade!

Landsborough is located north of the Glasshouse Mountains and is on the main railway line from Brisbane.

Near Landsborough Railway Station sits an old two-storey, timber pub with an interesting history. Now known as the Landsborough Hotel, the pub was established in 1888, when the town was known as Mellum Creek. At the time the pub traded as the Mellum Club Hotel.

Then first licensee’s name was Stephens. Then followed John McCallum, and after him, Henry Dyer who came to Mellum Creek in 1888 to manage a butchering.

The Landsborough Hotel didn’t always trade from its present address, almost opposite the railway station. In fact it traded over a kilometre away at the corner of Gympie Street North and Landsborough Maleny Road, and was pulled on skids by bullock teams over a two week period to its current location in June 1914.

mellum club hotel landsborough qld transported 1914
Another view of the Mellum Club Hotel being moved past the Landsborough Police Station in 1914. Picture: Queensland State LIbrary.
A Google Map showing the route the Mellum Club Hotel took from its old location at the intersection of Gympie Street North and Landsborough Maleny Road (red arrow) to its current home near the railway station. Picture: Google Maps

What was more extraordinary was the fact that the pub didn’t lose a day’s trade over the two week period! The pub was shifted slowly by day, and, at night, stopped to serve thirsty patrons.

In its original location on the Old Gympie Road, the Mellum Club Hotel sat on the main route to the Gympie goldfields, and offered hospitality and refreshing ales to the passengers of Cobb & Co coaches, teamsters and to the early selectors.

That all changed with the arrival of the railway in 1890, when the name of the town became Landsborough, after noted explorer, William Landsborough, and a new business centre developed around the train station – over a kilometres from the Mellum Club Hotel.

The Mellum Club Hotel in its original position. Picture: State Library of Queensland. Inset: Henry Dyer owner of the Mellum Club Hotel 1891 – 1913. Picture: Supplied.
mellum club hotel move 1914
The Mellum Club Hotel on the move in 1914. Picture: Queensland State Library.

Henry ‘Harry’ Dyer took over the license of the pub in March 1891 and watched as his profits slowly dried-up.

Dyer first arrived in Mellum Creek from England in 1888 to manage a butchering business for John McCallum. The enterprising businessman soon prospered, and besides the butcher shop, operated a successful timber mill and community hall.

At the age of 63, Dyer retired from the pub and sold its freehold to Arthur Bennet in 1913. He retained his other businesses, the butcher shop and general store, where he built a new home nearby. Dyer eventually retired to Toowong in 1931, where he died in 1938 at the age of 89.

Meanwhile, the new owner of the Mellum Club Hotel, Arthur Bennet leased the pub to Alfred Wright in 1913 and a plan was hatched to resurrect the ailing business. The entire two-storey structure would be relocated closer to the business centre of town.

Bennet and Wright had the pub painstakingly pulled with winches and bullock teams, across skids, from Old Gympie Road to a new home in Cribb Street.

The Brisbane Courier reported on June 17 1914 that the contract for shifting the Mellum Club Hotel “to a site close to the Railway Station was successfully carried out by Contractor McKenzie. Extensive additions are being made to the building.”

Today the hotel has its feet firmly in place in Cribb Street Landsborough where it continues to trade and is a favourite with the local drinkers.

mellum club hotel c1912
The Mellum Club Hotel, Landsborough early last century. Picture: Supplied
Landsborough Hotel 2
Landsborough Pub as it looks today. Picture: Landsborough Hotel Facebook Page

© Copyright Mick Roberts 2023

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