After a devastating fire, Morven’s pub has been reopened, thanks to a valiant effort by locals.

Story + Photos Annabelle Brayley

Anzac Day is a big deal in the Morven district in south-western Queensland. There are a lot of local names carved in the cenotaph and a lot of respect for all veterans. Along with the annual races, it’s a significant milestone in the progression of any year. Anzac Day 2016 is also remembered as the day before the Morven Pub burned down. 

In the very early hours of April 26, something ignited and up she went. By daylight, all that remained was smouldering ruins and the remnants of the motel rooms out the back. While rumour and speculation ran rife, the only established fact was that Morven had lost its meeting place – that central hub where people meet by accident or design and weave the threads of connection that underpin and strengthen the fabric of a community.

By 2019, a conversation at the tennis courts one Saturday night prompted a ring-around to see who might be interested in forming a cooperative to kickstart a new pub. In due course, a half dozen local graziers, the sparky and his mother, and Chris and Nina Hart from CNH Transportable Homes pooled their money and formed the Morven Hotel Group. They established themselves as a board of directors – with grazier Tim Williams as chairman – and successfully applied for the licence. 

This story excerpt is from Issue #137

Outback Magazine: June/July 2021