Family feels loss after fire guts historical Dululu hotel

HISTORIC BUILDING: The Dululu Hotel around the late 1930s or early 1940s. James and Sophia Duthie are pictured.
HISTORIC BUILDING: The Dululu Hotel around the late 1930s or early 1940s. James and Sophia Duthie are pictured. Contribued

The building as a boarding house in Mount Morgan before it was moved to Dululu in 1935. Contributed

FOR decades, the Dululu Hotel was the heart of a small community.

It was filled with local chatter and was the scene for hundreds of social gatherings over the years.

But for Denise Duthie-Dorsett, there's an unbreakable family bond with the building, which was gutted by a fire on Monday.

The original hotel was built in 1928, but was also wrecked by a fire.

Although Denise isn't sure of the year, it was her grandparents, James and Sophia Duthie, who brought the pub back to life.

In September 1935, Sophia took over the hotel licence after the pair had moved the current building from Mount Morgan, where it was a boarding house, out to Dululu.

The pair had decided to take on the hotel after the fire because they "wanted to stay in the district and keep the area going".

Denise said they had previously owned the local shop and several properties in the area and were heavily involved in looking after sporting and community groups.

Sophia ran the hotel until her death in December 1949, when the licence transferred to her daughter.

The hotel stayed in the Duthie family for the next few decades and Denise said the family moved to Rockhampton in the 1970s or 1980s.

Since then, the hotel has been owned and operated by several others.

Denise, who grew up on a dairy farm near Dululu, said she spent many hours in the hotel growing up.

"We spent a lot of time there with my aunt and uncle and their family," she said.

"At that time it was a very big social hub.

"It was the centre of everything.

"It's sad to see it happen and sad to see it end up like this.

"It's always been part of our lives."

Denise said her 92-year-old father, the son of James and Sophia, was shocked by the fire.

"It's going to be hard for him," she said.

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