The Dog & Vomit, Adavale

adavale verandahc

A survivor: Adavale Pub and General Store. Photo:

WHILE the Brits have their “Dog and Whistles”, here in Australia we once had a pub known as the “Dog and Vomit”.

Albeit unlicensed, the Dog and Vomit, was a shanty pub near the outback township of Adavale. It traded sometime during 1910 and 1930.

Adavale is sits 931kms west of Brisbane. First established in the late 1870s, the town was once a thriving centre but the diversion of the railway line to the south — through what would later become the town of Quilpie – saw the community dwindle away. At the 2006 census, Adavale had a population of about 15, with just one pub left from five that serviced the thirsts of a bustling community.

How the Dog and Vomit got its name will probably remain one of Australia’s great pub mysteries.

Enticing tales, handed down through generations of Adavale residents, tell of “Australia’s toughest pub, the old Dog and Vomit”.

The pub more than likely traded on the eastern side of the Blackwater Creek, about a mile or so from Adavale, on the Charleville road in the former pub known as the Blackwater Creek Hotel.

The Blackwater Creek Hotel was licensed by Pat Burke in 1878, and closed in 1910. Ted Donohue was the last licensee of the hotel when the police magistrate refused to renew his license application on April 20 1910.

Evidence of the Dog and Vomit’s existence only survives through memories and intriguing brief mentions in old newspaper articles.

The story of how the Dog and Vomit gained its name has been taken to the grave by those who knew, like Adavale old timer, Pat Ryan. Pat briefly recalled the town’s pubs in a reminiscence published in a few newspapers during 1935.

Pat had been a resident there for many years, and, in spite of all his years under the western Queensland sun, he had a strange, un-sunburnt complexion; his voice was soft, and his eyes were clear, the Walcha News reported on September 20 1935.

adavale hotel

One of Adavale’s early pubs, the Gunadorah Hotel and store C1910: Photo: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

There was nothing that gave him more pleasure than to recall the early days of Adavale. There were once four hotels, he said, one of which was owned by a Mrs Cronin, who became an outback legend after donating £2500 to striking shearers in 1891.

Pat recalled the Great Western, which was pulled apart to be made into a dance hall at Quilpie, and the Imperial, which was burnt to the ground in 1931. But his most enticing revelation a pub called Australia’s toughest – “It was some hotel”.

Except for him revealing that it was condemned under the licensing act, and later demolished, that’s about all we got from Pat on the Dog and Vomit in his recollections. When prompted, he would comment no further, except to repress a smile.

From the scant records, it appears that the sly grog pub known as the Dog and Vomit was operated in the abandoned Blackwater Hotel. The riddle of who ran the pub, and how it got its name have yet to be solved.

The only remaining hotel in Adavale today is the iconic Adavale Pub and General Store, recently awarded “Best Bush Pub” by Queensland Hotel Association.

The pub is famous for its giant beer can and enormous 1732mm bullock horns.

Categories: Queensland hotels

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