At a new open-air restaurant at the Stockman’s Hall of Fame in Longreach, QLD, a young, enthusiastic team is delighting tourists and locals with quintessential Australian dining and great service.

Story By Paula Heelan

As the late afternoon sun fades on a crisp winter’s day, banter and laughter fill the open-air restaurant. Drums of fire warm the area and like a campfire get-together, some cattlemen stand around the flames, engaged in high-spirited talk. Others are at the Sunset bar, enjoying a few Friday afternoon drinks.
The opening of the Cattlemen’s Bar and Grill aptly coincides with the Stockman’s Hall of Fame’s 20th anniversary. More than a million people from across Australia and overseas have streamed through the Hall of Fame since it opened as a major bicentennial project in 1988. Chief executive Ben Maguire says the new addition will give people more reasons to visit Longreach and the renowned museum. “The Bar and Grill means we can offer visitors more and it will help us become more sustainable,” he says. “It’s not often you see a significant dining and functions facility of this calibre open in the outback and, as a non-profit organisation, all income will be reinvested into the hall.” Designed to become a symbolic home and showcase of the cattle industry, Ben says the restaurant is the beginning of a long-term plan to further develop the hall. “Our next step is to provide safari-tent accommodation,” he says.
The restaurant area extends into the surrounding landscape, providing a vast overflow area for guests. As the breeze blows through and staff members mingle with patrons, there is a stirring sentiment that this really is outback Australia. It’s a meeting point and a melting pot and everyone is soaking up the atmosphere. Experiencing all things outback in such a distinctive, contemporary place is unique for both locals and visitors. Constructed with timber, stone and corrugated iron, this striking building has no side walls. Using impressive custom-made, chunky furniture and a cleverly designed ceiling that in summer will cover and cool the entire room with huge, chopper-like blades, the designer has created an extraordinary place for some quintessential Australian dining.

This story excerpt is from Issue #60

Outback Magazine: Aug/Sept 2008