Australia: Ravenswood QLD

The tiny town of Ravenswood lies 89 kms east of Charters Towers and it’s a little beauty. Heritage listed and captured in an early 1900s time warp, Ravenswood deserves an overnight stay.

Mirroring Charters Towers, Ravenswood also has a good gold mining boom and bust story to tell. At its height, 5000 people lived here and 48 hotels did brisk business. Sadly, just 200 people live here now and 2 hotels have survived.

The Railway Hotel (see feature photo) is an eye catching Queensland hotel that transcends time. Terry, the owner is incredibly friendly, plies his customers with good food and drinks, and conducts an entertaining tour of the hotel.

Enjoying the hospitality at the Railway Hotel

Terry is working hard to do great things to his hotel; one of which is to create a cigar and whiskey room.

Soon visitors will be able to enjoy a fine whiskey in here

He is also working hard to recreate the facade of Browne’s Ravenswood Hotel, once a classy establishment that boasted 50 rooms, a billiards room and a reputation second to none. The facade will be built next door to the Railway Hotel and behind it will be Terry’s prized collection of 200 imported cars, most of which are for sale. He also intends to recreate the shops that once lined this part of the street. It’s an ambitious project and one that will need to tick all the heritage listed boxes, but the tourist potential is enormous.

Browne’s Ravenswood Hotel
These steps are all that remain from the classy Ravenswood Hotel
A segment of the car collection

The Imperial Hotel, built in 1901, has also well and truly passed the test of time.

Imperial Hotel
A curved cedar bar, fabulous lead lights and timber floor make for one great bar. I can’t take credit for this google photo which is much better than mine.
Street view

Both the Railway Hotel and Imperial Hotel offer accommodation; rooms that open up to wide, cool verandahs as well as free camping out the back.

Thorp’s building
Court House which is a museum today
The extremely hard working Narelle has collated numerous folders on the history and people of Ravenswood over the past 17 years. A walking encyclopedia she most certainly is.
Post Office

On the way to Ravenswood, we stopped in at Mingela. Previously known as Ravenswood Junction, this was where my husband’s grandfather Fred Clark grew up with his timbercutting and timbercarting family. In 1906, he purchased the Mingela Hotel (then known as the North Australian Hotel). Fred sold his hotel to the Quinn family, quite possibly to fund his purchase of the Enterprise Hotel in Charters Towers in 1910.

Clark/Quinn connection. Fred’s niece Ruby Clark marries Maurice Quinn

We clinked glasses in Fred’s hotel. Today, Mingela has a population of just 6; only 2 are drinkers. The publican’s despair is genuine.

The Mingela Hotel today
Mingela general store

Next stop: Mission Beach

3 thoughts on “Australia: Ravenswood QLD

  1. Excellent article, it is good to see Ravenswood starting to grow again with more and more gold being found, a lot of people are starting to see Mingela as an attractive place to live as it is almost equidistant between Townsville and Charters Towers so you can easily visit both for all your shopping etc but further enough away that you can enjoy as much room as you want for a growing family. Some housing estate are starting to pop up on the western and southern outskirts of Townsville and it won’t be long until the same happens at Mingela which would be great to see as it would really revitalise the place.

    Liked by 1 person

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