The Abbey of the Roses is a spectacular sight as the sun goes down.
The Abbey of the Roses is a spectacular sight as the sun goes down. Contributed

History behind Abbey of the Roses

WHAT could a Brisbane pub have in common with Warwick's own Abbey of the Roses?

The pub in question – the Breakfast Creek Hotel – and the Abbey were actually designed by the same architects more than a hundred years ago.

In fact, in only a few short weeks, the Abbey will celebrate 120 years since the laying of the foundation stone on August 16, 1891.

Owners Mark Cains and Sonia Hunt said the beautiful old building was steeped in local history.

“It was built for the Sisters of Mercy in 1891,” Mr Cains said.

“They arrived in Warwick in 1874 and were using a small brick cottage for their teachings but it got too small.”

Mr Cain said the Abbey was built in two stages with the first stage finished in 1883 and the second in 1904.

In its heyday, it housed up to 23 nuns and up to 60 girls from the age of about 11 onwards.

“It was used as a safe house for the girls of All Hallows in Brisbane through WWII and at that time it housed up to 160 girls,” Mr Cain said.

But by 1987 there were only three nuns living there and it took too much upkeep to look after it so it was sold to Assumption College.

Then in 1993 it was sold again and became a bed and breakfast.

Ms Hunt and Mr Cains said they are the third owners since then, moving to Warwick from the Gold Coast to take on the task of running it.

“We were going to head to the UK but then Sonia found this on the internet and we bought it as a tree change in 2010,” Mr Cains said.

Despite only being at the Abbey for a year, Mr Cains has fully embraced his new career and is a walking encyclopaedia when it comes to the rich history of the building.

“It has lived up to all of our expectations,” Mr Cains said.

Ms Hunt said hosting Queensland Premier Anna Bligh was a highlight for the couple but seeing it embraced by former locals was also rewarding.

“We have people come who lived in Warwick all of their lives and never came here,” Ms Hunt said.

“Now they live away but they come to stay whenever they visit Warwick and they absolutely love it.”

Mr Cains runs pre-booked tours of the Abbey complete with a history lesson. Call 46619777 to book or for more information.



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