At the “Pub with no beer”

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Lees HotelSlim Dusty got to Number 3 in the UK charts in 1959 with “A Pub with no beer”. It was also an international hit. You can hear it on YouTube below.

When we visited Queensland last summer, we drove from Cape Tribulation to Airlie Beach. It took two days, but the trip was enlivened by views of sugar cane fields. And more sugar cane fields. And the odd sugar cane refinery and railway. And more sugar cane fields.

When we planned the trip we decided to break it halfway. A town called Ingham presented itself and we booked a hotel there for the night. It seemed an unremarkable town.

However, imagine my glee when I discovered that Ingham is “home to the original pub with no beer”. I had my photo (right) taken outside said aleless hostelry before we left.

There are two nuances. I was photographed at the Lees Hotel, which is on the site of the “original pub with no beer” – the Day Dawn hotel. Secondly, the Taylor’s Arm hotel in New South Wales also lays claim to being the “pub with no beer”.

The song has a complex history. Suffice it to say, it originated as a poem by Dan Sheahan, who wrote it after, desperate to quench his thirst on a hot day, he was forced to drink wine at the Day Dawn Hotel in Ingham, Queensland. The full story of the song is here.

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