In On the Market by Clyde Mooney

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After 75 years in the family, Scott and Casey Cronin will soon bid a reluctant farewell to their historic Mirani Hotel.

Mirani is a town in the heart of sugarcane country, a transport hub mid-way on the Mackay to Eungella highway, on the rail line that bears its name built in 1885 to transport crops.

Before there was really a town, Henry Wesche constructed Wesche’s Boarding House. The march of progress later saw the Post Office open in 1890 and the first school in 1892 – the same year the boarding house was re-purposed as a licensed public house, the Pioneer Hotel.

The pub was renamed the Mirani Hotel in 1930, but the two-storey brick and timber structure still retains some of its original features today, and boasts an impressive collection of historic photographs.

In 1942 Frank Cronin bought the pub, which has been owned by the family since. Generations on, recent times had seen the Mirani run under management, but around two years ago the tenant failed and part-owners Scott and Casey took over, splitting their time between their thriving party-hire business and guiding the pub operation in lieu of a fulltime publican.

“The pub really needs someone there to manage it all the time, and our other business just needs too much of my attention,” Scott told PubTIC. “After two years, I could see if we kept running it the way we were, we would go broke, so as much as it has sentimental value for our family, we decided we just had to close it for a while, until it sold.”

The couple report the decision to close was their hardest ever, and “not one made lightly”.

The decision comes despite the biggest instalment yet of ‘Backyard Bluesfest’ – a celebration of live music initiated by the Mirani Hotel, billed as ‘The best day of blues, rock and funk – right in the beautiful Pioneer Valley’.

Taking place last Sunday, hundreds of live music die-hards turned up to the popularly known ‘Blue Pub’ for a good time, with bands playing from 1-9pm. Poignantly, Scott relayed “Thank you thank you thank you” on social media, but admitted the event did not get enough patrons to be a financial success.

On 13 May, the Hotel staff and “krewe” will be holding a ‘Reunion’ party to celebrate the pub’s 125-year history, inviting anyone with past connections to come and reminisce.

Meanwhile, the Mirani Hotel and adjacent land bundle is being marketed for sale by Ray White Mackay’s Gordon Galletly.

This property has endless potential for development as it is on five separate titles in the Business Centre of Mirani. The Cronins will sell them separately, or in combinations, which lends to a lot of possibilities for the site.”

The titles are the freehold hotel, with or without its 10 gaming machines, a squash court and offices, a block with a two-bedroom cottage, currently tenanted, and two vacant blocks. All titles are 1,239 m² and zoned Business.

The town of 1,700 has been undergoing significant residential growth, and enjoys local amenities including a golf course, caravan park, and Kinchant dam and associated water sports.

“It’s a great pub, in a great town,” says Cronin. “An owner-operator investing the time will be successful.”