Gympie Royal Hotel a Winner

Excerpt from story by The Gympie Times. Written by Jannette Parke.

Local watering hole wins top Hotel awards!

Gympie's stylish art deco showpiece, The Royal Hotel, has been named one of Queensland's best hotels after it scooped prestigious industry awards.

The crowning accolades for the smartly renovated hotel in Mary Street - owned and developed by Wes and Trish Wright and their daughter and son-in-law Kerrie and Paul Candrick - were announced at the 16th Annual Queensland Hotels Association Awards for Excellence Gala Dinner at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Taking centre stage at the black-tie function, The Royal won Best Redeveloped Licensed Premises - up to $2 million and Best Boutique Accommodation Hotel, from very competitive fields. The Royal was also a finalist in the Best Casual Dining Award and Best Marketed Hotel Award.

QHA President, Tom McGuire, said this year's finalists and winners have once again raised the standards of the industry and shown an ongoing commitment to ensuring safe and enjoyable experiences for all patrons and guests. Queensland hotels, like The Royal, Mr McGuire said, demonstrated their global competitiveness proving they are amongst the world's best.


In June 2007, this family team joined forces to give the dear old Royal a major facelift. Sadly it had been closed down and boarded up for two years. There were pigeons nesting in the rooms upstairs and holes in the floors and ceilings.

Wes and Trish Wright, their daughter Kerrie Candrick and her husband Paul Candrick spent over a $1 million on renovations. They installed an all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant, lounge bar, sports bar, outdoor deck areas and eleven hotel rooms with ensuites.

Twenty years of managing hotels has given the Wrights extensive knowledge and experience in the hospitality industry. They are also community minded and have had a large involvement with the Rotary Association.

Since raising four children of their own and now enjoying their eight grandchildren, the Wrights also have a good idea what members of a family want from their local hotel.

They like their pubs to have a safe and welcoming atmosphere for all ages. The new Royal caters to families as well as singles.

Paul and Kerrie run a successful property development company in Sydney and have three young children of their own. They assist Trish and Wes with the development and marketing of the hotel.

Paul, having over twenty-five years in building and construction, supervised the building works with his team of workers along with numerous local tradesmen.

Architects and interior design consultants were hired to ensure the pub was brought back to its former glory.

The original façade was restored and enhanced to complement the many beautiful buildings in Mary Street built during the Gold Rush.

No longer a gold mining town, Gympie is now famous for its beautiful countryside producing prime beef and dairy products amongst other things.

Patrons at the Royal are encouraged to "stay till the cows come home".

The Royal Hotel 140 Years of Entertainment

"Every comfort and delight can now be found in this the only Theatre on Gympie," the Gympie Times declared in an advertisement back in 1868.

The opening of the original Varieties Theatre in August, 1868 was an exciting development for the social scene of the new gold mining town. Gympie was booming and growing at an amazing rate

Hiding over 4 million ounces of gold, Gympie was a miracle that saved Queensland from going bankrupt.

Within 6 months of James Nash's discovery of gold in 1867, over 15,000 men had raced to Gympie to dig for their fortunes.

Suddenly there were a lot of thirsty men in Gympie in need of a cold beer.

Over 48 pubs sprung to life at one time or another on Mary Street, with 28 of them being open at the one time !

Probably the reason Gympie's pubs were the first to be issued licenses in Queensland.

The Royal Hotel, then called the Exchange Hotel and Varieties Theatre, was one of these. Situated in the centre of town on Mary Street, it was a popular venue for locals. First class concerts, Shakespearean tragedy, roisterous comedy and even wrestling matches were big attractions at the theatre.

Unfortunately, its license was cancelled in 1875 following a devastating flood which totally submerged most of the town and a violent cyclone which blew part of the theatre down.

In 1882 it was re- built into a two story timber structure designed by architect Hugo Darietz. The Varieties Hotel and Theatre was again hailed as the most popular venue in town.

In 1885 its name was changed to the Royal Hotel. The Varieties Theatre kept operating successfully in a building attached to the back of the Hotel.

In 1910 the name was changed again. It was now the Theatre Royal and still the hub of entertainment for Gympie.

Locals were treated to their first movie at the Theatre Royal which was a picture of British warships passing through Suez Canal. The movie was made realistic by men behind the screen making sounds such as waves lapping and sirens blowing.

When the Royal suffered a devastating fire in 1935, the Gympie Times commiserated.

There was removed from Gympie a building which had been the scene of many social and political events, which had its historic interest, and, for the few remaining pioneers, its cherished associations.

Actors, acrobats, operatic stars, politicians and statesmen had appeared at various times upon its stage.

Bulimba Brewery quickly snapped it up and re-built it in the Art Deco style popular before the war. The garage at the back of the hotel served as a temporary bar during construction.

A few years later in 1938 and at a cost of £15,000, the Royal Hotel resumed its position as the best pub in town.

In 2005 the Royal was closed down and boarded up for a couple of years and was sadly missed by the Gympie townspeople.

Publican Wes Wright, along with his wife, daughter and her husband, purchased the pub in 2007 and gave it a major facelift. They spent over a million dollars renovating it and bringing it into the twenty-first century.

Patrons are now entertained by huge television screens, surround sound systems and live music. They can also enjoy a wonderful buffet restaurant, lounge bar, sports bar, outdoor deck areas and 11 modern hotel rooms with ensuites.

Situated in the middle of historic Mary Street, the Royal is certainly the place to visit.

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