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Last drinks for the Turnbulls

The Criterion Hotel’s licensee Ryan Turnbull has called last drinks at Rockhampton’s iconic pub.
The Criterion Hotel’s licensee Ryan Turnbull has called last drinks at Rockhampton’s iconic pub. Chris Ison

AFTER 21 years of Cri fries, steaks and beers, the Turnbull family has put Rockhampton's Criterion Hotel up for sale.

One of Queensland's most iconic pubs will go under the hammer in May after the Turnbulls last week made the gut-wrenching decision to call last drinks.

Speaking to The Morning Bulletin from Brisbane yesterday, owner Leigh Turnbull said it was a family decision to put "The Cri" on the market.

"There's an old saying mate - blood, sweat and tears - and we have had all of those," Leigh said.

"There are so many words to describe it, but it's a hotel that is dear to our heart and the community is dear to our heart.

"It's important to point out that if it doesn't sell we will stay.

"There's a 60-day period after the auction and after that we'll take it off the market.

"Carolyn (wife) and I will stay on with a revised management team, which we will search high and low for."

Leigh's son and licensee, Ryan, said yesterday he was ready for a "life change".

"I moved in there when I was 16 so there's lots of memories," the 37-year-old father of three said.

"I want to get into the police force and it's something I'm waiting on."

Since construction in 1889 The Cri has been a family operation - originally the Parker-Curtis families, the Smith family 1922 to 1982, Balkin, Gill, Tourish, and from 1991 the Turnbull family.

With a lifetime of memories, photographs and pieces of history lining the walls inside the pub, Leigh said he was proud of what his family had achieved over the years, and paid special tribute to his long-time bar manager Trish Cotterell and her husband John.

"We came here in 1991 as hotel managers and we ended up buying the farm so to speak," he said.

Leading Rockhampton real estate agent Pat O'Driscoll will auction off The Cri at 11am on Thursday, May 24, in the pub's famous Bush Inn Bar and Grill.

Knight Frank Rockhampton and Ray White Hotels Brisbane have the selling rights.

"Leigh and Carolyn have had 21 very successful and very happy years," Mr O'Driscoll said yesterday.

"Not many people have been owners of The Cri - it's a very exclusive club.

"We expect there to be some very strong interest from all over Australia.

"It's up there with the Breakfast Creek and Regatta hotels in Brisbane as one of Queensland's most iconic pubs."

 

Criterion Hotel

  • 1856 had the construction of the Bush Inn where The Criterion now stands, by Robert Parker of Gayndah.
  • The Criterion Hotel was constructed in 1889, the price reading "just a little over ten thousand pounds".
  • It has played host to Queen Elizabeth II, The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the English Cricket team, Rockhampton's own Rod Laver, Lew Hoad, Ken Rosewall and during the Second World War was the headquarters of General Eichelberger US Army and the planning headquarters for the Battle of the Coral Sea and the Pacific often visited by General Douglas MacArthur and many more international identities.

Topics:  criterion hotel property pub real estate rockhampton



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