Australia’s biggest publican has won the right to invest in the future of Queensland hospitality, with a massive overhaul approved for its historic Toowoomba pub.
After lodging an application for a ‘material change of use of premises and land’ in February, Toowoomba Council sought advice and this week ruled in favour of Australian Leisure & Hospitality’s (ALH) multi-million dollar plans for the popular Blue Mountain Hotel.
Complicated by both its heritage status and proximity to State-owned roads and railway land, the redevelopment will greatly expand the hotel’s footprint and offering, plus revive some classic original features.
Aiming to “complement the historic character of the building” the design by Cayas Architects will add a new sports bar, outdoor area, expanded gaming lounge and landscaping, and reinstate the front veranda and level one balcony.
Set to go are non-heritage internal elements of the building, and the BWS drive-through bottle shop in front.
The plans were finally approved with minimal conditions, specifying only that the submitted design be adhered to, with stipulation around stormwater control and road works to “ensure no worsening or actionable nuisance” to the State and railway land.
Just over 100 kilometres west of Brisbane, Toowoomba – the ‘Garden City’ – is Queensland’s most populous inland city and a regional hub for business and government. Founded in 1816 on the discovery of the 16,000 square kilometres of lush grazing land that became known as the Darling Downs, it straddles the Great Dividing Range and developed into a gateway to commerce.
The Blue Mountain was first erected in timber in 1888, to service railway construction workers toiling on the new line from Ipswich.