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Historic Towns in the Scenic Rim

Home > Brisbane > Accommodation | Day Trips | Hotels | Travel
by Susan J Bowes (subscribe)
Writing for pleasure to showcase the best Australia has on offer.
Published February 2nd 2014
Mannequins in period costume adorn hotels balcony
I couldn't get over the feeling of release from the stress of traffic and having to be somewhere at a certain time that a recent leisurely drive in the Country gave me, whilst travelling along the Cunningham Highway and into small towns in the Scenic Rim.

Many an interesting letterbox, obviously hand-made by the landowner made a photo stop worthwhile, whist wondering if I could have this in suburbia.

historic well
Peak Crossing Historic Well

Another interesting photo stop was that of the Peak Crossing Historic Well which is the only surviving well built by the Queensland Government in the 19th Century to provide a safe supply of water for Teamsters and travellers through the Southern Downs. The pump still works but the water is not fit for drinking. One can imagine the many drovers and their herds of cattle stopping at a well such as this.

With a strong German influence the beautiful town of Kalbar is situated just over an hour from Brisbane. It was once named Englesburg, a town in Germany and this town along with many German surnames can be found on the headstones in the local Cemetery. The Cemetery is well worth a quick stop.

I stopped for morning tea at "Bakers of Kalbar" and enjoyed a cup of coffee and a delicious cheesecake tart whilst perusing the numerous tourist brochures on display for reading. There is an array of condiments for purchase and different varieties of biscuits wrapped ready to go for the traveller.

Craft stores
This old girl awaits your visit at Beary Special Crafts Kalbar

"Beary Special Crafts" has many homemade craft items for sale along with scrapbook embellishments some of which I purchased.

The townsfolk are very proud of the town and were very forthcoming in advising me of the best places to visit. The "Wiss Emporium", a building standing tall in the main street was built in 1909 by the Wiss Brothers who were general merchants. This building now houses works from local artists and antiques. Many an old time dance was held on the large wooden floorboards.

Wiss Cottage resides next door and is currently a private home. Wiss House built around 1912 operates as a Bed and Breakfast and would be just the base for your overnight stay while you discover the surrounding towns by day.

Lutheran Church Kalbar

Unfortunately St John's Lutheran Church was not open for viewing on the day I was there however, I was advised that the inside of the Church had a distinct German influence as well.

Leaving Kalbar and heading south I came across a well-stocked Boonah Tourist Information Centre. The very informative attendant was eager to give advice on the best places to visit. The park around the centre provides "Grey Nomad" travellers the facilities of a free overnight camp stay from 4.00pm to 8.00am daily. Bush walks are referenced around the Centre and are not too difficult for the walker.

Boonah reminded me of a country town with Saturday morning being the only time when farmers could come in to pick up their groceries, the hay for the cattle or the part for that broken tractor etc. Boonah definitely was a hub of activity and parking was a little difficult to obtain in the main street.

historic hotels
Commercial Hotel Boonah

The Commercial Hotel looms tall in the Main Street complete with mannequins dressed in period costume on the first floor balcony. If you didn't know they were there, one may get a fright at night thinking they were ghostly figures of the past.

Amidst a busy main street with a rather large IGA right across the road from the Commercial Hotel, I came across an old style Draper. I could remember Drapery's from my childhood that were stocked to the ceiling with work clothes, work boots to the stylish dancing pump, and not forgetting the iconic Aussie sandal "The Thong", stylish going out shirts for the men and dresses for the ladies, rolls of material to make your own if you so desired, thread and cotton and satin ribbon for embellishments; Maynard's Drapery in the main street took me back to my childhood years when the Drapery was your 'one-stop shop'. I was even able to purchase goat skin gardening gloves that didn't come in "one size fits all" but in a variety of sizes. I purchased size 7 and the friendly nature of the lady behind the counter makes one appreciate the country style of service that can leave a smile on your face for hours later.

One thing about country towns is that they usually have plenty of hotels with an historic past, complete counter lunches and specials on certain days. You could make your weekend journeys trying out counter lunches at every country pub in the South East Queensland and never run out of another to find.

historic hotels
Pick a table on the long verandah Rosevale Hotel

I decided to head back to Rosevale for lunch at the Rosevale Hotel. It wasn't a really hot day so I chose an outside table on the long verandah. Chatting to the locals as they ate their meals is a great way to learn more about the district. Rosevale once had a slaughter house but this has long gone along with the young people heading for city life. The hotel is the only operating building still standing. Cattle properties surround her perimeters. My meal of crumbed chicken came out in the shape of a heart and was of feast size.

Counter meals, hotels
My "heart

Heading home I stopped at a farmers stall to pick up a large watermelon for $4.50. I did see a sign selling 10kg of carrots for $6.00 but what would I do with 10kgs of carrots!
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Phone: 07 5463 2233
Where: Kalbar, Boonah, Rosevale
Your Comment
Great article Susan - inspires me to go visit the Scenic Rim soon. Thank you.
by Lucy (score: 3|1157) 3209 days ago
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