We’re on a 'zig-zag' tour of Australia keeping a very close eye out for the smaller, less commonly mentioned locations… like Miriam Vale, a very pretty little Queensland town located roughly halfway between Bundaberg & Gladstone.

WikiCamps and various Facebook groups recommended Miriam Vale’s local pub would be a great place to stay overnight – taking advantage of the fact it’s a free-camp AND there is a bit of an implied hint we could return the favour by purchasing a drink or two and even a meal. :-)

Turns out that was a great decision because not only were the meals we ordered typically huge and 'country style yummy' but we also learnt a lot about the town and its history from locals with our special guest & pub owner, Mitch Brennan.

 

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TRANSCRIPT:

KAYE & BRIAN:

G'day and welcome to another Food-Wine-Pets-Travel podcast I’m Brian Pickering and I'm Kaye Browne &  together we're on a zig-zag tour of Australia keeping a very close eye out for the smaller less commonly mentioned locations like Miriam Vale, a very pretty little Queensland town located roughly halfway between Bundaberg and Gladstone.

Now both WikiCamps and various facebook groups recommended Miriam Vale's local pub would be a great place to stay overnight and although it was suggested as a sort of a pub stay / free camp kind of thing, there was a bit of an implied hint we could return the favor by purchasing a drink or two and even a meal.

Turns out that was a pretty good decision because not only were the meals we ordered typically huge and country-style yummy, but we also learned a lot about the town and its history from the locals.

Things like…  there's only one or two timber cutters still operating in the Miriam Vale area right now as most of the original timber cutting mills shut down in the 50s apparently due to Queensland rail introducing concrete slabs under the rail lines.

The sandy soil in the region once produced Australia’s most sought after tobacco but it's no longer grown here although there are still some dairy farms operating locally I think!

The cows like the fresh grass but while people still love to live in Miriam Vale they are doing it tough. For instance to find work many locals have to travel to Gladstone and that's about an hour's drive away but the spirit of this town is alive and well.

There's an op shop, a general store, a service station and a post office and loads of real characters..

Real characters like Mitch Brennan - he's the owner of the Miriam Vale pub and he took us on a tour and revealed why more people should drop in for a taste of fair dinkum Aussie history complete with genuine antique memorabilia

BRIAN:
We're at the Miriam Vale hotel in Queensland… and nice to meet you Mitch Brennan

MITCH:
Nice to meet you both!

BRIAN:
So we’re about halfway between Bundaberg & Gladstone and you have a very quirky hotel here. I'm looking around at some of the amazing ‘objet d'art’ …. I'm looking at a bear and there's horns and things – amazing…  describe it for those who can't see it 😊

MITCH:
I’ve tried to create an old school pub – well it is an old-school pub built in 1897.

Originally three kilometers down where the radio grounds are now but it got flooded twice in in the year so they cut it in half and brought it up by bullet wagon and set it up here.

Basically everything you see on the walls there either belongs to me or has been donated by local people… like the horns and the old signs and just the old hats and all the whatnots!

Yeah I love it!... I have memories from way back of seeing people buying things like cold duck which was a ghastly drink apparently and then the beautiful sign you see ther - the story behind that was I about six months ago a local guy that lives here came and said to me “I've just cleaned out my father's shed and he said when I was 17 years old he said I stole I signed from the Miriam Vale pub after football game one day” so he brought it back six months ago and I hung it on the wall.

He's now 57 so it's been in his dad's shed for about 40 year!

KAYE:
Well it's good to see that the town is full of honest people.. VERY honest and a bit like we were accidentally not charged for dinner last night so we came and paid our bills *LOL*  which was a unique way of us getting him to talk here ! 😊

 

So what about some of these other things Mitch?...  there’s the beer of course…  what's the story behind the beer?

MITCH:
Well every November we do a Miriam Vale hotel woodchop. It's a huge  with everything from  axes, chainsaws, cross-cut sawing… we even have the old guys that come to sleep here!

There's a guy by the name of Matt Bird -  he's a chainsaw carver so he carved that one (points) but it went up for auction and I just had to buy it! They had to come into the pub so that was carved in four and a half hours out of a seven foot high blue gum log that had been laying on the ground for about seven or eight months so it sort of started dry out a little bit.

It's a beautiful piece. It's really gorgeous… I could spend hours just talking about it!

KAYE:
Amazing!.. Mitch there are so many different little pieces of art here – so if someone comes across something that they think might be suitable, how should they get in touch?


MITCH:
Oh that'd be fantastic so the best way to do that is through our website www.merriamvillehotel.com - we're also on facebook and I’ve just got instagram up and going too.

BRIAN:
Mitch thank you so much for having a chat with us today and we look forward to coming back again definitely!

MITCH:
It was great to meet you both and I'm glad you enjoyed your stay

KAYE:
Absolutely best steak we've had in years! 😊