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Harrisville, Brisbane

Home > Brisbane > Escape the City
by Susan J Bowes (subscribe)
Writing for pleasure to showcase the best Australia has on offer.
Published August 5th 2013
True Blue Country Style.

If you are looking to take a leisurely drive in the country, yet not too far from Brisbane, then Harrisville is the place to go. From Brisbane take the exit to Warwick along the Cunningham Highway and turn left at the sign to Harrisville. Approximately 63 kilometers, or one hour's drive from Brisbane.

It is a quaint town with lots of history. In 1870 merchants George & John Harris bought land from early settler Robert Dunn and established a store and cotton gin. By the mid-1870's, cotton growing had declined but Harrisville continued to advance with a railway branch line constructed in 1882.

The Harrisville Inn, (now called The Royal Hotel), was built in 1875. The pub serviced the local cotton and beef industries and was one of three pubs in Harrisville. The new pub was built on the same site as the previous and became known as the bottom pub.

It was renamed the Royal James Hotel in 1878 and according to historical reports it was owned and operated by Mr Denis Wholey and his wife Margaret although other reports indicate Denis died of heart disease in Brisbane on 12 March 1873. After Denis died, Margaret remarried Edward Dunn and they ran the hotel until 1890. The cemetery is not too far out of town if you wish to indulge in more of the Town's history.

A source link from Trove NLA, Brisbane Courier Mail, 2nd June 1916 states "The Royal James Hotel at Harrisville, under the ownership of Mr Sam J Denman, was with its contents, completely destroyed by fire early this morning". It was then replaced with the current building.

Unique features on the building are the carved out royal crown and the name of the hotel on the steps.

Lunch and Dinner is their speciality, however I can vouch for "Hamburger and Chips" for only $10. This hamburger brings you back to the days when hamburgers were hamburgers in true style. Dinners during the winter months are spent around a warm log fire and there are barbeque facilities out the back if that's what you desire. You really can't go past The Royal Hotel for a meal and Proprietors, Steve & Monika Patrick provide that warm friendly service that is true country style.

In 2002 the Royal Hotel was transformed into the "Fat Cow Motel" and served as the main location for the production of the television series of the same name, by Brisbane-based production company "Hoodlum Entertainment".

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