The Betoota Forum

Welcome to our forum. Feel free to post a message.

The Betoota Forum
Start a New Topic 
Author
Comment
Betoota Hotel

I remember the Betoota Hotel well, as I was the sole Police Officer in Windorah, approximately 200km towards Quilpie, when it was still operating and it was one of two hotels in my Division, the other being the Western Star in Windorah.
On occasions I would patrol there as it was licensed premises but of course the bush telegraph works very well and Simon would know I was on my way long before I descended the jumpup.
Simon was a true character of the west, and I never failed to visit him whenever I had my parents or parents-in-law, other family members or friends visiting in Windorah. It was always my great pleasure to show these Brisbane/Gold Coast folk the real Australia and to introduce them to Simon. Sometimes myself, my (sadly now deceased) wife and three kids would visit Ziggy, (Simon) on a 'Sunday drive'.
Because of the winter 'chill factor' (well below zero C) Ziggy very successfully grew stone fruit such as peaches and apricots at the rear of the hotel and great crops of watermelons and rockmelons in summer.
I notice that it is stated that the hotel was sandstone, while it was always my understanding that it was made of pise (pronounced pie-zee), a mixture of crushed termite mounds and blood (kangaroo, bullock). The timbers holding up the front verandah roof are botanically a softwood but are arguably the hardest wood in the world, impervious to termites, and found only in the interior of Australia and similar geography in South Africa. (The softest wood in the world is balsa, botanically a hardwood).
It is a shame that it is now referred to as the Betoota Ruins, I would love to revisit although I fear it will probably not happen.
There is a largish hardcover book called 'Starlight's Trail' by James Cowan, photographs by Colin Beard, which was published by Doubleday whilst I was still stationed at Windorah. It concerns the exploits of Captain Starlight (Harry Redford) who stole a thousand head of cattle in 1870 from Bowen Downs near Longreach and drove them to Adelaide. It contains a great collection of yarns and photographs, many of them from the Betoota and Windorah areas. I bought quite a few copies of this book and gifted them to family members. They claim it is because it contains two photographs of my eldest son, but I think that is a bit unkind.