FIRST LOOK: Popular pub unveils $8M redevelopment
BOB Porter's childhood home is a lot different to what he remembers.
The 71-year-old grew up in a hotel on the side of the Warrego Highway at Plainland, which his parents Dick and Rita first leased from Castlemaine Perkins in 1946.
After meeting while working together at the Commonwealth Bank, Bob and wife Julie bought the hotel in 1976 and it was shifted back to make way for an upgraded four-lane highway.
A few years later, with baby son Michael, they built a house on the property they had bought next door to establish a new family home.
It's where they have remained ever since, just 500m away from the pub.
Now it is the next generation of daughter Mel, Michael and his wife Shelley who have made their mark on Porters Plainland Hotel.
The construction is complete on an $8 million redevelopment of the Lockyer Valley landmark, including 16 motel rooms, an adjustable function room capable of holding 200 people and a dedicated gaming room.
There are just a few finishing touches to go on the project which has doubled the size of the popular establishment.
"Julie and I always believed that we'd have accommodation of some quality available at a given time, but we didn't go ahead and do it," Bob said.
"I never envisaged we'd finish up with a complex like this."
Bob suffered a stroke six years ago that forced him to stop working and Julie's attention turned to caring for her husband.
Michael, with Shelley, had returned to the business in 2001 and Mel followed five years ago.
"It's just amazing what the kids have been able to achieve," Julie said.
"They've thought of absolutely everything, just every little detail. We're very, very proud of them and what they've done.
"We slept here Saturday night and we figured it was 37 years since we last slept in the motel.
"There's no way in the world we could ever achieve anything like this without the kids and they've been inspirational."
Hotel manager Mel said the new facilities would cater for a strong demand for accommodation and function spaces in the valley, located in a prime location in a thriving section of the region.
Interest had been strong so far with all but one of the motel rooms occupied last Saturday.
"We were operating a local bed and breakfast and often running out of capacity," she said.
"We know functions and accommodation work so well together. We knew the demand was there and the area is growing.
"We knew it was a much needed facility and we're excited it's finally up and running."
Porters employs 63 staff with current workers set to take on jobs in the new spaces and at least half a dozen more staff are expected to be employed in the next 12 months.
The Porters landed in Australia in 1909 and arrived with a long history in the hotel business in their native Ireland.
At one stage, seven of Dick's siblings either owned or leased hotels in south east Queensland.
The new function room is named after Fintona, the town where Dick was born.
"It holds quite a significant connection with the family," Bob said.
An open day of the new facilities will be held on Sunday from 10am-1pm.