Old Tom Thorne and the Golden Spur Hotel, Baree

The Golden Spur Hotel, Baree. Picture: Central Queensland Herald, February 24, 1938.

OLD Tom Thorne, who built the Golden Spur Hotel in the Central Queensland gold mining town of Baree, needed to be “a hard headed, two fisted man” to hold his own with the clientele.

Even though Tom, who hosted the pub with his wife Rhoda from 1886 to 1904, was said to have been awake to many of the tricks and scams of his hard-drinking customers, he was, on occasions, out-witted by conniving miners.

The Golden Spur didn’t have much of a cellar, and Tom generally stored his beer, which was in half or whole hogsheads, on the side verandah.

On one occasion, the publican was puzzled at a prolong ‘session’ enjoyed by a character of the day named ‘Long Dick’ and his cronies, who were camped not far from the pub. They never bought any beer over the bar, but were always well primed.

The secret was out when Thorne, tapping what he thought was a full cask, on the verandah, found it to be nearly empty.

Long Dick had bored a hole through the floor of the verandah and tapped the keg. Each night the party would fill buckets with the beer, re-plug the hole, and fill-up on Tom’s casks.

The Golden Spur Hotel was established in 1885, and traded for 43 years before a rapid decline in population with the closure of the nearby Mount Morgan Mine caused its closure in 1928. The pub was located at the corner of Kyonet and Creek Streets, Baree, a small settlement about a five minute drive from Mount Morgan.

Old Tom retired from the bar of the Golden Spur in 1904, and leased the pub to a long list of licensees, until its closure in 1928. His wife, Rhoda died in 1906, and the old publican followed in 1909 at the age of 71.

The last publican of the Golden Spur Hotel was Catherine Thring, who took-over as host in 1921, and was granted her last license renewal in 1927.

After the pub’s closure , the Golden Spur was pulled down in September 1928 and re-erected as a house at nearby Moongan for a bloke by the name of David Jones Senior.

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Categories: Queensland hotels


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