The Bowen River Hotel was built in the l860s from timber and originally roofed with bark. It comprises two buildings connected by a covered walkway, and is an example of careful bush carpentry and skilled jointing fixed with wooden pegs. The complex comprises two buildings connected by a covered walkway. A verandah extends round three sides of the main building, while a small verandah opens off the main room on the northern corner of the second and smaller structure.

Both building are raised on low stumps, some of which have ant caps, and flooring laid on a rough timber frame, rather than an earthen floor. It would appear to be an early example of this technique. Horizontal slabs of split timber have been used to construct the walls and the hipped roof and skillions over the verandahs are of corrugated iron.

A post and rail fence encloses what was once the front yard of the hotel. The building sits in rural landscape with White Cedar and Burdekin Plum trees near the house and Oleanders along the front fence.

Our History

Phillip Sommer and his partner John Harvey Pioneered the area in l862. They established a sheep and cattle run on Heidelberg, a selection of ninety five square miles taken up by James Mead in l86l but never stocked. Sommer had moved to Dotswood Station north of Charters Towers by l866 and the Bowen River Hotel was operating from his Heidelberg homestead by l865 with George Burnes as publican.

It was constructed on the supply route to Central Western Queensland which passed through the Kennedy District. Licensing information from the Port Dennison Times indicates that it was probably one of two hotels built at much the same time in the same area. An inn called the Heidelberg was built at the lower crossing place while the Bowen River Hotel was constructed higher up on top of the steep bank of the River. The building was donated to the National Trust of Queensland in l974 by Ted Cunningham of Strathmore Station and restoration of the rear wing was carried out by Mr. George Stewart at that time. Since the l970s the structure has been left exposed to vandals and campers.