The Leap Hotel, The Leap

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Posted 2022-08-04 by Mayfollow
Australia is a massive country, as I've just been reminded on a month-long road trip. Roads between small townships can often stretch for so many kilometres testing the most avid nature lovers and environmentalists. There comes a point when eucalypts and undulating hills lose their charm.

The Bruce Highway between Mackay and Proserpine is one such stretch. Even spotting roadkill becomes interesting. I think it was at this stage of my travels that I began to gain perspective that it's truly "about the journey and not the destination."

Twenty kilometres north of Mackay on the highway is a somewhat rustic building that could well do with a coat of paint.

Perhaps more concerning at first glance was the giant statue of an Indigenous figure standing at the Hotel's entrance. Because it was all part of the journey, I had to have a sticky beak ...

The Leap Hotel has been operating since 1886, with beautiful Mt Mandarana Cliff and Valley as a backdrop. Despite its appearance, the hotel is full of character and historic memorabilia gathered from all around the local area. The tables and chairs on the front verandah offer access to any cooling breeze as well as a comfortable setting for a refreshing beverage.

The statue represents Kowaha, a woman from a local native tribe, who took a leap with her baby in her arms, to avoid the child being taken away from her as per white man's law at the time.

Writer, John Larkin, wrote in Australian Pubs collection, 1971 - 1973: "%%The little pub stands at the foot of a 1,180-foot rock face, just north of Mackay, Queensland. The mountain's correct name is Mount Mandarana, but the local people call it The Gin's Leap. And that is how the pub came to be named The Leap.
Back in 1866-67, the local tribes were making life difficult for the early settlers by spearing cattle and stealing farm implements. After a destructive raid in July 1867, the police decided, with the aid of the farmers, to mount an offensive against the Aborigines. As usual, the Aborigines retreated to the fortress on the summit of Mount Manadarana, thitherto inaccessible to the police. But the troopers were determined this time and eventually succeeded in gaining the top.The Aborigines fled, with the exception of a woman, Kowaha, of the Lindeman Island tribe. She was cornered with her baby in her arms and rather than surrender she hurled herself and her baby over the cliff. Kowaha died on the rocks below but, miraculously, the baby became ensnared in the brushes during the fall and survived. A farmer rode through a hail of spears to rescue the child, and his family later adopted her. She became known as Judith Johannesburg and lived in the district until her death in 1923."%%

A stretch of the legs, cooling refreshment and a dash of history. Yes, it's all about the journey. The Leap Hotel is located at 1954 Bruce Highway, The Leap, and also offers free camping. For more information, go here.

95701 - 2023-06-12 02:20:14


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