Cheers to hotel memory
SOME may have found ‘the one’ there: Whether it was a cold one with mates, the only trophy you ever won in a pool competition or life’s-love but whatever your memories today is the time to reflect on what was the Universal Hotel.
Twelve months ago today the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service received the first triple-0 call at 6.36pm to report Warwick’s iconic Grafton Street pub was ablaze.
One year on – with only an empty block where the hotel once stood – regular patron Peter Guy remembered one of his favourite watering holes.
“She went up quick,” Mr Guy said. “I couldn’t believe how many people came down and saw her go up, there were hundreds of people.”
The nimble-fingered Mr Guy said he fondly remembered Friday night Texas Hold’em poker, a cold beer, dart and pool competitions.
“That was my poker family, there was a group of us and over the years we all got to know each other. The pub is missed,” he said.
The 102-year-old wooden building was reduced to rubble and ash in about one hour but the burnt shell of the Rose City’s night spot precariously remained for more than six months.
Even Southern Downs Regional Council (SDRC) Mayor Ron Bellingham said he could see the red glow from the blaze from his home’s deck about 10km from the scene.
An SDRC spokeswoman said council demolished the pub’s remains after an enforcement notice was issued to clean up the site during late February with the cost of the demolition billed to the owners.
Hotel co-owner Terry Hangan was unavailable for comment yesterday.
Mr Hangan recently told the Daily News he intended to rebuild a modern night club.
August 24, 2009: First triple-0 call received at 6.36pm
August 25, 2009: Police label inferno ‘suspicious’ but no charges were laid
January 11, 2010: Icon now an eyesore as it lays dormant
February 1, 2010 : Wind blows over unsteady wall
February 24, 2010: The remains are finally demolished