WINNERS: Bruce and Wendy McFarlane took out the Best Bush Pub award at the Queensland Hotel Association Awards.
WINNERS: Bruce and Wendy McFarlane took out the Best Bush Pub award at the Queensland Hotel Association Awards.

Rubyvale's New Royal Hotel wins Best Bush Pub award

IN A place like the Sapphire Gemfields, tourism is the key to the economy.

That's why places like the New Royal Hotel at Rubyvale are so important - and luckily, it's in safe hands.

For the second year in a row, the country establishment has been named the Best Bush Pub in the Queensland Hotel Association Awards.

Owners Wendy and Bruce McFarlane were shocked to hear their name read out at the presentation night in Brisbane last Wednesday, but said they were thrilled to even be nominated.

"It's going to generate more publicity for not only us, but for the whole area," Wendy said.

"Once upon a time this area was an incredible sapphire industry.

"As the sapphires get less and less it's great that tourism is building up, and it's building the economy."

Wendy said the whole town, from "the butchers, the bakers and the candlestick makers", all depended on tourism to bring in money and stimulate growth.

And while the locals are a regular fixture at the award-winning pub, Wendy said the grey nomads also meant a lot to their business.

School holidays are also giving the region a boost.

Wendy and Bruce took over the pub a little over four years ago after Wendy retired as airline manager at Air New Zealand and Bruce retired as director of LandMark White.

It was Bruce's dream to one day own a little country pub, and the new challenge has given the couple a whole new set of skills.

Wendy also praised her staff, which currently includes two Nepalese chefs, two Dutch backpackers and one Scottish backpacker.

FINALISTS

The New Royal Hotel, Rubyvale, was up against Q Hotel at Miles, Rudd's Pub at Nobby and the Stockman's Hotel at Texas



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