Hotel renovations uncover historical treasure trove
IN past months, the Palace Hotel in Nanango has undergone a tremendous transformation. Adding a modern edge to the historical hotel, managers Beau Smith and Nathan Hendy have dazzled patrons, who returned to the local favourite on Friday.
After taking over the Palace Hotel in July last year, Mr Smith and Mr Hendy had big plans for it. After COVID hit, they made the best of a tough situation and started getting creative - remodelling the country pub into a modern city-style hotel.
"It's a little bit of city in the country," Mr Hendy said.
"We were trying to be seen as a hotel as opposed to pub, because we want to be family friendly. Our kids are a big part of what we're doing, so we wanted to make sure we promoted that.
Starting renovations back in March, the two publicans began by installing a ramp at the entrance of the building. After pulling up the pavement, they were met with the first of many curiosities, which have been hidden or buried at some point during the hotels 106 year lifespan.
Underneath the Drayton Street footpath, the original hexagonal tiles that once lined the sidewalk of old Nanango are still there. Wanting to preserve the tiles, Mr Smith and Mr Hendy pulled them up for safe keeping and underneath found something even more bizarre - a silver spoon.
"Someone was saying that back in the day when they used to lay concrete, you would put a bit of metal underneath it for good luck," Mr Hendy said.
"Some of the artefacts we've found have been a Chinese restaurant menu," Mr Smith said.
"I haven't spoken to anyone yet who remembers there being the Chinese restaurant here, which is interesting. Given the phone number on the front of it, we're guessing it's from the 70s or 80s."
"There was also a different menu for a French chef that was here. The phone number again alludes to around the 70s or 80s."
They also found the original electricity line into the hotel, complete with cotton covered wire and porcelain clamps.
Any historical materials that could be salvaged has been reused to preserve the history of the building, and any finds that cannot be repurposed have been stored. Eventually they will be showcased on a storyboard for patrons to enjoy.
"Nanango's a town that steeped in history, so we had to make sure we captured that," Mr Smith said.
While the hotel is already unrecognisable, there is more to come, with a bottle shop in construction and stained glass windows set to be installed.
With a new chef at the reins in the kitchen and a new range of liquors ready for experimentation, a restaurant dinner menu and cocktail list are also on the way.
If you are keen to check it out, Mr Smith and Mr Hendy want to remind everyone that reservations are a must to avoid disappointment.