FOCAL POINT: Marburg Hotel owner Danny Bowden took over the Marburg Hotel from his parents in 1979.
FOCAL POINT: Marburg Hotel owner Danny Bowden took over the Marburg Hotel from his parents in 1979. Cordell Richardson

Historic hotel, tourism hotspot getting a facelift

SINCE the small township of Marburg was settled, its iconic pub has always been the focal point of the community.

Built in 1881, the Marburg Hotel plays an integral part in attracting tourists off the highway.

Owner Danny Bowden took it over from his parents in 1979 with wife Julie, and now his two sons Matthew and Jonathan are carrying on the family tradition.

Yub and Alice Bowden ran two hotels in town at the same time before one, now on the site of the Marburg general store, was demolished in the 1940s.

The Marburg Hotel was handed back to the family in 1944 after being used by US General Douglas MacArthur during World War II as an officer's club.

"Out on Hermanns Rd, at Prenzlau, there were several thousand American troops camped on the flat there," Mr Bowden said.

"(General MacArthur) had his chambers in the city but had his intelligence headquarters at the Woodlands of Marburg. Other accommodation was needed so he seconded the hotel here for his officer's club for accommodation and recreational use.

"We often say the hotel doesn't belong to the Bowdens, it belongs to the town."

Under the State Government's Community Sustainability Action Grants program, $40,000 has been secured to keep the hotel in top nick.

A total of $158,000 in funding is being provided to five heritage projects in the Ipswich and the surrounding region.

Mr Bowden said the money would be used to paint the exterior of the hotel and hopes for weeks to begin soon.

"We've had a fairly substantial plan over a long period to maintain the property because Marburg benefits from tourism," he said.

"All the businesses in town, their strong point is tourism. It's such a unique village, being so close to Brisbane and the coast.

"(Tourism) is something we've targeted. The hotel industry is very difficult at the moment."

A reputation for good quality food in an idyllic spot is a major draw card and the pub relies on bringing in outside visitors on the weekend.

The hotel could feed about 100 people on a Sunday and a local family had a birthday party on Saturday with about 140 guests.

"We can have 20 horses tied up in the back yard some Sundays," Mr Bowden said.

"Families often ride their horses to the pub and have lunch and then ride home.

"The maintenance of buildings like this is very important for all of Queensland. These unique buildings are of public interest. We're very appreciative of what's going to happen."