Working in an Outback Pub: Hotel Thangool
(Perth (originally Netherlands))
After travelling through Australia and NZ I started working in an Outback pub in Thangool, QLD and I really had the time of my life! Finally the real deal!! I was supposed to stay a month and ended up staying for over 3 months!
How I got the job:
A friend of mine, from Holland, had worked at Dululu Hotel (one hour inland from Rockhampton). I rang the owner when I was in Rockhampton, and he told me he'd sold the pub. But he said he would call a friend who owned a pub and might be looking for a backpacker... 24 hrs later I was picked up from Biloela (where I arrived on the school bus) to work at Hotel Thangool.
I put my backpack in the hallway and had a beer... and another... and another...
There is no better way of getting to know people than to have a beer together. The owner, Kevin Mauger, and his family are all very good at playing guitars and singing, so we had a lot of songs going on. The ice was broken and the great months at Hotel Thangool started!
The place and the people:
Thangool centre is one street with a post office, a couple of houses and two (yes, two) pubs. A bit further is also a small airport and a horse racing track. The people in Thangool (the visitors or "locals" of the pub) all work at the Callide mines of Biloela or at a kettle station, and you could say they are Crocodile Dundee types of people! Very nice!!
The pub-family and some friends showed me around a lot.
We went to places where Kev's brother was working with his dozer. (Eski in the truck and go!)
We went to the mines. (Amazing how that is! Very big trucks and since the pub-locals showed me around, I could even sit in them and drive around!)
We went to the volcano called Mt Scoria, and of course I slipped and fell on my way back, and of course 70 yrs old Uncle Fred didn't, even though he climbed it wearing thongs!
We went to Kroombit tops (a very non-commercial holiday park), to the horse races, just everywhere!
Working at the pub was easy. Except for Fridays there was not much to do. Only on Fridays everyone from around Thangool would come in for the raffle and it would be busy, but that was about the only time you needed to be behind the bar with the two of you.
It is great to see yourself get to know your customers. You see a car and you know what beer you have to make and where to put it. People drink their glass almost empty and leave it standing on the bar, so you know you have to get them another one. You don't have to waste time asking if they want another one, or asking for money as the money is also on the bar. You just take some and put the change back!
When they are really finished drinking, the lay their glass (flat) on the bar and you know they're going home now!
It's just fantastic that this still exists; people who trust each other and not everything around you needs to be hidden or locked.
At the beginning the female locals were not very nice to me, because I could be the next backpacker that ran away with their husbands. But after a while they finally understood I had a boyfriend overseas and was not planning on spoiling any marriages, which made those women much friendlier :-)!
During my stay I worked, learned the slang of the town (it was pretty hard to get rid of the F word afterwards), played pool, sang along with the Mauger family, decorated the pub here and there, borrowed a pushbike (also amazing: when I was pushbiking to Biloela everyone would stop to ask if I was ok, if I needed a ride, etc. They just couldn't believe I did it because I wanted to! So funny!), had staff parties (which meant that the owner and I "got on the piss"), went out once in a while in Biloela (live music, strippers, pokies), drank a lot also during work, but most of all made really good friends over there!
It is so good to be out there and meet the REAL locals instead of only the other 20.000 backpackers in the hostels on the east coast! And you see the country and a basic way of living. People don't need much to be pleased and happy with their lives!
Well, for the dutchies: my stories from my stay in Australia (including my time at the pub) are still online at http://helene.aroundtheglobe.nl. They are, unfortunately, only written in Dutch! Since I came back a few weeks ago, I have been writing the new stories in English, so for my new Outback adventures, everyone is able to follow me (not many stories yet, but there will be a few later)!
If somebody has a question about something, I'm always willing to answer: hcg_roosen (at) hotmail.com
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