Barcaldine Globe Hotel (Landscape)

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ONE hundred years of Queensland history is facing the bulldozer, with the last shout called at Barcaldine's historic Globe hotel. The watering hole holds a unique place in Queensland political history, with its links to the shearers' strikes and the formation of the Australian Labor Party.

Owner and Labor stalwart Pat Ogden will pull the last beer on June 30 at his beloved hotel, which has been bought by the Barcaldine Regional Council. The 19-room timber building with 4m rickety veranda overlooking the shearing town's main street will be offered for sale for removal. Mr Ogden said on Tuesday that if a buyer could not be found, the council would knock it down. It was sad for him, his family and the town of 1800 people.

The Australian Labor Party's revered Tree of Knowledge - preserved after being maliciously poisoned in 2006 after it was heritage-listed - stands about a block from the hotel. The ghost gum outside the railway station was a rallying point for striking shearers and pastoral workers in 1891. The dispute led workers to realise that to win lasting conditions they had to have their own MPs and this eventually led to the formation of a political party.

The Globe was built after the strike but its location made it popular with workers and identities in the emerging political party, and in later times, to city travellers who realised its historical context.

Mr Ogden, a former railway worker, said the tree and pub characterised a lot about the town. "But what do you do? My daughters want to move on and I'm 83 in a couple of months," he said. "I've just about had enough. I've been in this pub for 41 years." Barcaldine Mayor Rob Chandler said he recognised the Globe's historic importance but it would be replaced with a visitor information centre, library, art gallery and convention centre.

"We desperately need those things in town but architects I've had a yarn with have brought to my attention that we might be able to incorporate the old building," Cr Chandler said.  "It would be terrific if it could be saved."  Mr Ogden said he had tried to sell The Globe, built in 1910, for about a decade before the council offered him the price of the land upon which it sat.

The town, 1000km northwest of Brisbane, had 500 to 600 drinkers split between six hotels, two motels, a bowls and golf club and the Barcaldine Club, all of which had liquor licences. Cr Chandler said he would like Barcaldine's classic outback streetscape to stay and this could occur perhaps by keeping the hotel's facade or by recreating it.

Mr Ogden said he planned to have a few beers with friends and regulars on the last day. "Nothing is too good for the workers, that's my slogan," he said. "Back in the wool days about 20-odd shearers would stop here every weekend."

The Courier-Mail  (April 13, 2011)

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