Memories Dalby has lost to fires
WITH the loss of Mary's Commercial Hotel recently it is interesting to note how many Dalby hotels have been destroyed by fire.
The town has possessed some 30-40 hotel businesses since it began.
The first structure built in the pioneering settlement was one.
Samuel Stewart erected his slab shanty on the creek bank not far from where the Edward Street weir is today.
It was 1847 and his main customers were teamsters heading to or from the far flung stations just being developed.
Using word of mouth statements, now twelve hotels have been burnt down.
In more recent times many would remember the Russell, the Queen's, the Imperial and the Grand.
Now with the Commercial fire, it amounts to five.
However it seems another seven have met a fiery end making it 12 in all.
What makes it a little confusing is different structures carried the same name and others had various names during their tenure.
The Queen's was developed from the old Queen's Arms Hotel which was probably the second one in town.
In it's life the Queen's was moved back a short distance.
Apparently trading continued during the process.
The site was used as a car park for the RSL and has never been rebuilt on.
The large two storied Grand was near the railway line and after being burned down the site was later occupied by the Hotel Motel which is still operating.
The Sportsman's Arms was on the corner of Patrick and Cunningham Street.
After it was burned down in 1919, the site was bought by the Bank of New South Wales and is still occupied by the Westpac Bank.
Some hotel sites seem to be unlucky suffering several fires.
The first Imperial Hotel was destroyed as was the last Imperial a few years ago.
The site has never been rebuilt.
The Russell Hotel fire left the corner vacant until the new Russell was built.
On the same site had been the Club Hotel which was destroyed in 1923.
However there had been a former Club Hotel which occupied the same site and had also been burned down in February 1906.
John Ryan the licensee, lost his life in that fire.
That makes three hostelries on the same corner have suffered the same fate.
The Royal was built next to the Anglican Church in Drayton Street.
It seems it was destined not to stay.
Twice it was destroyed by fire and according to legend after the third destruction the licence was not renewed.
While it is regretful to see some of the old landmarks destroyed by fire, many of those historic old structures have been pulled down or removed to accommodate new buildings.
The old arch enemy fire has consumed many other business houses or public facilities in the town too.
Still we retain fond memories of many of those establishments and the Mary's Commercial Hotel is one of them.