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”. This in an excerpt from the now out of print book on the Leap Hotel, about 30 minutes drive north-west of Mackay in north Queensland:
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 implements. 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 Aborigines retreated to the fortress on the summit of Mount Mandarana, thitherto inaccessible to the police. But the troopers were determined this time and eventually succeeded in gaining the top.
The Aborigines 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 ensnared 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.
Pictures and history of the Leap Hotel, visit the Time Gents website:
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Categories: Queensland hotels