The Leap Hotel


The Leap Hotel, Mount Mandarana, Queensland. Photo: Bruce Howard.

THE Little pub stands at the foot of a 1,180-foot rock face, just north of Mackay, Queensland. The mountain’s correct name is Mount Mandarana, but the local people call it The Gin’s Leap. And that is how the pub came to be named The Leap.

Back in 1866-67, the local tribes were making life difficult for the early settlers by spearing cattle and stealing farm impliments. After a destructive raid in July 1867, the police decided, with the aid of the farmers, to mount an offensive against the Aborigines. As usual, the Aboriginies retreated to the fortress on the summit of Mount Manadarana, thitherto inaccessible to the police. But the troppers were determined this time and eventually succeeded in gaining the top.

The Aboriginies fled, with the exception of a woman, Kowaha, of the Lindeman Island tribe. She was cornered with her baby in her arms and rather than surrender she hurled herself and her baby over the cliff. Kowaha died on the rocks below but, miraculously, the baby became ensared in the brushes during the fall and survived. A farmer rode through a hail of spears to rescue the child, and his family later adopted her. She became known as Judith Johannesburg and lived in the district until her death in 1923.

-John Larkins.

IN the early 1970s, writer, John Larkins and photographer, Bruce Howard went on a 40,000km pub crawl around Australia, telling their wives, “Don’t wait up!” With Larkins wonderful words, and Howards’ fabulous photos, they chronicled an amazing snap shot of Australian pub culture – many, both people and pubs, which have now gone. From that expedition they had published “Australian Pubs”. These are excerpts from the now out of print book.

Categories: Queensland hotels

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2 replies

  1. Happy to say I’m the proud owner of the 1974 re-printed Larkins and Howard book and great to see you bringing such great stories alive again, like Hebel Pub! Onya, Mick! Well done.

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