Regulars drink toast to 100 years
THE green dog will always be Paddy Goonan’s first fond memory of the Duporth Tavern.
It was St Patrick’s Day 25 years ago and Terry Mitchell, who passed away this year, dyed his little dog green “to everybody’s amusement” for the celebration.
“And there was a wonderful barmaid called Lyn at the time who had long purple fingernails and would use the till with her knuckle,” he said.
“She was the best barmaid on the Coast at the time, an absolute institution.
When it was crowded she would go along and serve everyone and then come back and give them their change and always got it right.”
Paddy was among a group of long-term patrons enjoying a drink at the Duporth Tavern yesterday ahead of the hotel’s 100th birthday celebrations.
The tavern held a free wine symposium featuring 100 local and imported wines and leading Australian poet Rupert McCall to celebrate the milestone.
Originally known as the Club Hotel, the pub was the first drinking hole in Maroochydore and was accessible only by bullock tracks, which meant people had to travel by boat from Yandina and often had to camp the night.
Paddy said it was a tradesman’s pub when he began going but it was more upmarket now.
“It’s a remarkable piece of Maroochydore’s history. The local pub is the parliament of the people,” he said.
“When you walked in the Duporth Tavern you got a good cold beer and if you were silly enough, a fight. And otherwise you got some work.” Mick “Mad Mick” Newman said he had been visiting the pub on and off for 25 years.
“When I first arrived on the Sunshine Coast 25 years ago, I walked through the door and thought this looks like the workers’ bar,” he said.
“I was a bricklayer then so I checked out all the blokes with cement dust on them and picked up a job straight away.
“It’s changed and upgraded since then but most of the tradesmen I met, they’re all retired now and they still come and have a drink.
“When I used to come in here I would know everyone but I know only about a third of them now.” Owner Clayton Williams said while the tavern was traditionally a tradies’ pub, he was working towards creating a CBD pub for Maroochydore.
“As the pub moves forward we want to make it about family and a commercial pub for office workers in the area,” he said.
“We’re just had to move away from our past because there are few tradies left on the Sunshine Coast. They’re either commuting or gone to the mines.” Mr Williams said the dozen or more long-time patrons gave the tavern great character.
“They really take ownership of the pub and it becomes their pub. They come in every day and if the staff haven’t done something right or a chair is not in the right place, they have no qualms in telling me very quickly,” he said.
“On Melbourne Cup day Paddy sits at the front of the pub with a hat saying TAB helper.
“All the nice girls come through and he tells them how to put a bet on and he loves it.”