Einasleigh Pub – an outback old girl


All over Australia you can find some very interesting and colourful pubs and there isn’t any better example than the Einasleigh Hotel, which has been the local watering hole in this outback town on the Savannah Way for 107 years.

Built in 1909, it is in remarkably good condition thanks to the restoration work of Allan ‘Starty’ Start, Einasleigh’s town publican and  former antique dealer turned bushie,  who left Melbourne for a quiet life in the country.

While Starty acknowledges that life might be simpler in the bush, it sure isn’t quiet. “It takes a lot of stupidity to open a pub in the middle of nowhere, but I was enthusiastic and younger then.”

He jokes there is always a new experience to be had. “It is an old pub and all sorts of things happen. We regularly receive reports of a ghost – a young girl in a blue dress – but I don’t know who she is,” he chuckles.

This no-fuss, no-frills hotel and pub, serves cold beer on tap, with variety and choice dependent on the time of year, offers basic meals and has 10 air-conditioned rooms available for overnight stays or letting, which is a welcome luxury for visitors passing through.

Sitting on the banks of the Copperfield River, Einasleigh has dramatic outback scenery with flat top hills, or mesas, that rise out of the grasslands.

Just across the road from the pub is the spectacular Copperfield Gorge, with sheer walls dropping into the sandy river bottom, suitable for swimming all year round.

“We are one of the last 100-year-old pubs still standing in the Gulf area and it is pretty well the same as the day it was built.”

Adding to the uniqueness of this pub, is Starty’s personal collection of around 400 pieces of miniature dolls’ furniture.

“People get a bit of a surprise when they walk in and see this. The collection was made by my father in the 1970s to exactly the scale of one to 12,” he says.

From Einasleigh, you can visit the Kidston Gold Mine area, the largest open cut gold mine in Australia.

For safety and security reasons visitors won’t be able to access the mine but its size can be appreciated from a high point on the road on the way to the old Kidston Battery. The annual Einasleigh Races and Rodeo weekend is an event not to be missed and is usually held at Easter.