The iconic Commercial Hotel in the heart of Dalby has been destroyed by fire, after emergency services were called early Wednesday morning to a blaze engulfing the building.
The tile-fronted two-storey brick Commercial Hotel was built in 1909, replacing the original pub structure on the site, built 1885 by Dan Condon, who ran it until 1894, when his daughter Ellen took over as publican.
The pub has had a history of female operators, with Ellen handing over to Mary Hanley, who ran it until 1917.
In 1952 Tom Shanahan and Mary Barry partnered to buy the business. Mary went on to purchase Tom’s share in 1958, and eventually the freehold in 1986. She famously ran the pub – colloquially known as “Mary’s” Commercial Hotel – until her passing in 2010 at the age of 91, at which time the Hotel’s name was officially changed in her honour.
Fire crews were called to the building just before 2am on the 22nd, finding a blaze that appeared to have begun on the second level. One of the co-owners was reportedly inside at the time, and called 000.
Surrounding buildings were doused to help prevent the fire spreading, the main road was blocked for some hours, and crews worked until midday to ensure smouldering ashes were fully extinguished.
No people were injured, and no other buildings damaged.
The popular local pub was set to go to auction next Friday.
The extent of the damage means identifying the fire’s cause may take weeks, and Dalby Criminal Investigation Branch detective senior constable Digby Ford reports the ruling as so far undetermined.
“We still have forensic investigations ongoing at this early stage.”