EXCLUSIVE: Future of heritage Quay St building revealed
ENLISTING in the military to serve in the Vietnam War as a then 17-year-old is one of life’s moments Peter Coldwell often reflects upon.
So much so, the long-time Rockhampton local is this year paying homage to the city’s military, agricultural and mining roots as he looks to create its newest dine-in experience.
Affectionately dubbed ‘The Dig Inn’, Mr Coldwell, 68, first purchased the historical Harbour Board Building on Quay St around ten years ago – though at first unsure of its plans.
After much deliberation the site is now in the midst of both an internal and external facelift.
Out back, a generously-sized beer garden and barbecue area is well and truly underway, while refurbishments of the building’s upstairs offices are close to complete.
On its bottom level will sit Rockhampton’s newest restaurant adorned in Mr Coldwell’s many historical artefacts, including an early century police car and military equipment, among others.
“It’s going to be a bit of a revisit back to the history of Central Queensland. The military, agriculture and the mining - the younger generation don’t understand it all.”
“Having these memorabilia and equipment on display might hopefully help them understand a little bit more,” he said.
What diners can expect, he revealed, would most likely be some of Central Queensland’s finest cuts of beef and hopefully, plentiful seafood dishes.
The former owner of Coldwell Drilling Co. Australasia is a man who likes to keep busy – evident by the fact he is undertaking the project mostly solo.
His acquirement of the stunning property came following a Melbourne businessman’s failed plan to see high-rise buildings adorning the waterfront street.
“I don’t think the timing was right; people were a bit against it, and he had trouble getting it through council apparently,” he said.
“People just didn’t want to sell.”
“I’ve done a lot of vintage cars, motorbikes and trucks up over the years and I thought this would be a nice project. But I think I underestimated how big of a project it was,” he said.
Mr Coldwell said the opportunity seemed a fitting one due to Rockhampton’s current involvement with visiting military training and personnel.
“They can see things are starting to move here. Rocky’s been pretty dormant over the years; it’s dribbling upwards as opposed to downhill.”
The successful, yet humble businessman hopes to have the venue complete before Rocky Nats hits town in June 2021.