Cunnamulla Characters Brewed is and outstanding range of craft beers that replicate some legendary Cunnamulla personalities into unique flavours.
These flavours reflect the personalities of iconic outback characters and encompass centuries of tales, history, laughs and gestures of good will.
They are just a taste of what’s to come!
When the idea of having, beers brewed based on outback characters arose, Club Boutique Hotel Cunnamulla needed someone who could replicate these legendary personalities into a unique flavour.
Adrian Cubit a craft brewer took on the challenge and produced five outstanding beers “Cunnamulla Characters Brewed”.
Adrian uses a gypsy brewing method to create his beer, he takes the raw ingredients to an established brewery and uses their equipment, makes the product and leaves again.
Like all craft brewers Adrian used his passion for beer and brewing to produce Cunnamulla Characters Brewed.
Five beers based on five legendary outback characters exclusive to Club Boutique Hotel Cunnamulla.
Rene’s Oxford Day’s Lager
Rene Manning was a strong independent woman with an affinity for the west. While not really a drinker she loved an occasional scotch in the winter and a shandy on a hot day after mowing the lawn.
Rene was born in 1909 in Bangalow, however spent her school days in Emerald. Being 1 of 9 children Rene learnt the value of family at a young age.
Family was a big part of her life and according to her daughter she dearly loved her kids, Joan, John, Michael, Bill, Chris and Vicky, grandkids and great grandkids who she called her chicks.
Rene moved to Toowoomba after finishing her schooling to work on the Westlander railway buffet car on the western line that ran from Toowoomba to Cunnamulla.
Moving further west, Rene landed a job as a bar maid at the Hotel Cunnamulla and worked there for some time. Part of the old Hotel Cunnamulla burnt down.
After renovations Rene poured the first ever pot of beer in the new Hotel Cunnamulla that still stands today.
She married a drover by the name of Bill Manning and worked on a property called Strathlea. Times were pretty tough and work was hard in those days.
The Oxford Hotel came up for tender and Rene purchased and ran it from 1936 – 1951. She raised 6 children and ran the hotel on her own for four years while her husband Bill was away at war.
The Oxford Hotel was opposite a major fuel depot and a rail way station and at the time there was possible threat for a Japanese invasion.
Rene dug a slip trench in the backyard in case of a bombing, equipped with small survival port with a change of clothes, water, cheese and chocolates for the kids.
After the war in 1951 Rene sold the Oxford Hotel and her family had planned to move to Adelaide.
As luck had it, Bill put in for a block of land for an RSL men’s ballot and drew the ballet, winning the property called Penetrate Downs, 87 miles from Cunnamulla.
The roads were rough and with no phones life out there it was far from easy. It ran on 32-volt electricity and kerosene fridges.
Rene called this home for the next 29 years.
Like most women at the time, Rene was an excellent cook that always kept a full storeroom or pantry with drums of flour, sugar and tea. Her daughter recalls the pantry being a mystical place, as the kids were never allowed in there, as it was full of goodies.
Rene was also very clever with her hands and a very good dressmaker. She made all three of her daughter’s wedding dresses and majority of the kid’s clothes.
With the roads already in poor condition, one wet season left the family stuck, unable to access town for three months. It was lucky Rene kept plenty of food in the pantry.
With the passing of her husband Bill, Rene sold Penetrate Downs and moved to Cunnamulla where she lived for many years being involved with the show society and the bowls club.
Later in life majority of Rene’s family moved away so she decided to retire to Gatton and be closer to them. She continued to drive her little Holden Gemini, which she had for over 30 years well into her nineties.
Rene mowed her lawn well into her eighties and one day one of her son cut the electric cable as he thought she would electrocute herself. Doing her own thing as usual she fixed the mower and continued to mow.
Rene passed away one week before her 96th birthday still living on her own and cooking the best baked dinners imaginable.
She was loved and respected by all that knew her and had lived by the motto that you need to always learn but don’t let anyone know you don’t know as much as them. HERE’S A BIG CHEERS TO RENE!
Steven Oswald Emery ‘Bub’ The Mailman
Steven Oswald ‘Bub’ Emery was the outback mailman, the best mailman ever according to some.
A likeable character that moved from Thargomindah to Cunnamulla in 1943, along with his wife Margaret and kids Peg, Tom and Elsie.
The two youngest June and Chris were born later in Cunnamulla. Steven Emery or more often called Bub Emery worked for his brother Frank, driving the mail from Thargomindah to Cunnamulla.
Frank also owned the mail runs from Thargomindah to Bulloo Downs, Thargomindah to Noccundra, Thargomindah to Waithopa and Thargomindah to Norley.
Bub bought his own mail run in 1947 from Edwin Hogan.
The Eulo/Moombidary run picked up and dropped off mail and goods to the following properties: Springvale, Tarko, Turn Turn, Wittenburra, Caiwarro, Boorara, Hungerford and then to Moombidary where it was an overnight stay.
The mail would leave Moombidary at about 9.30 the next day and repeat the drop ins. The round trip started at about 6am on the Sunday and Thursday mornings and was finished late on the Monday and Friday.
Very little income was gained from the mail run. The main source of income was from carting wool. Most of the businesses in town looked forward to Bub receiving his wool cheques!
Tom told the story about where he went close to losing Bub’s main wool carting contract from Caiwarro.
Tom had a huge load on the mail from Cunnamulla and all the Caiwarro shearing order had to be picked up in Eulo.
Tom had no room on the truck and the order was left in Eulo.
Eddie Mills tells a story where Bub was out at Currawinya loading wool with the Manager Peter Purtell who married a local Betty-Anne Thomas.
Peter was a big strong man. Both Bub and Peter were on the top of the truck standing on top of two layers of wool when Peter picked Bub up in his arms and jumped off the truck.
Poor old Bub didn’t know what happened and almost died of fright right there.
Another time Bub picked a fella up who was walking and offered him a lift. After they drove for a while Bub got a bad feeling as the bloke was a bit weird.
When they got to the next gate Bub thought he had the answer and asked old mate to open the gate.
The fella must have smelt a rat though as he refused and told Bub if I get out you will take off and leave me behind, so Bub was stuck with him for the trip.
With his old Ford truck Bub also did some driver work for the Bulloo Shire Council and the Paroo Shire Council.
Bub Emery was liked by all and was known for his kind and giving nature.
A number of poems were written about Bub and sum up his character.
The following is an excerpt from a poem written to express the thoughts of many people who knew and respected the late Mr. Emery and especially those people along his mail run, who have reason to be grateful for his kindness and cheery good will.
The man we knew who drove the mail
With many a high and heavy load,
Earned love, respect and gratitude,
Along the Moombidary Road.
So many extra favours done
Without a thought of recompense
“Of course it’s not a trouble mate
What! Me? Take payment have some sense.”
Bub’s son Tom remembered going on holidays to Hungerford where Bub was working on the Hungerford Air Strip.
Whilst working Col Matheson was badly burnt while filling his grader with diesel. The diesel splashed all over him and he went too close to the fire and his clothes caught alight. Bub and Tom had to bring Col in from Hungerford to the hospital in Cunnamulla.
Bub also worked on the broken dam, the bridge over Dynevor Lakes in about 1947. The bridge is well remembered for its approach, which was wide enough to take three cars. The bridge then narrowed down to a one-car bridge.
This spot was famous for Bub spotting Bunyips.
Bub told his stories of the Bunyips for many years. Always with a straight face, he convinced everybody that it existed.
The Emery family motto is ‘Marry and Emery and You Marry a Pub’.
HERE’S CHEERS TO YOU BUB
Margaret Emery Queen of the West
Weather it was droving and selling cattle to Sir Sydney Kidman or being crowned the Queen of the West, Margaret Emery lived and breathed life in the outback.
Born on the 18th of April 1908, Margaret was one of three children to Catherine and William Robert Clayton. Tragedy nearly struck very early on in Margaret’s life when she became lost on “Black Spring,” near Yantabulla, between Bourke and Hungerford. She was missing overnight and was found at daylight the next day sitting up against a fence pegging stones.
Margaret and her family moved from Hungerford to Clayton Vale and lived on a property in three tents. William and George lived in one, Margaret lived in one and her mother and father in the other.
From an early age Margaret and her family were always on the move. They drove 500 cattle to Bourke and along the way met Sir Sydney Kidman on the banks of Currawinya.
Sir Sydney Kidman bought the cattle for 13 pounds a head, which was a fortune back then. With their new found money they moved to Bourke and bought a house on Darling Street. Bourke was where Margaret attended school and stayed until she was 16 years old.
In 1927 at the Cunnamulla Court House Margaret entered a ballot for a property called Diltopa, at Thargomindah and much to her surprise won. The next day the family moved to the property, however continued to drove cattle always preferring to sell in Bourke.
After a really bad drought Diltopa was sold for 1000 pounds, which saw Margaret move to Thargomindah to take a job at the Club Hotel in the Coffee room. It was the first time she was around people her own age and she quickly became good friends with the likes of Cocky Easton who was the yardsmen.
Dances were high on the social calendar and Margaret was a popular face. After moving to Thargomindah she was crowned Queen of the West. All the men wanted first dance at the ball that night.
Margaret married Steven Oswald Emery (Bub) in 1934 in the Thargomindah Hall and decided to move to Cunnamulla 9 years later. Margaret and Bub had 5 children, Peg, Tom, Elsie, June, and Chris. Bub sadly passed away with Cancer in 1965.
After Bub passed Margaret moved into her own place where she lived out the rest of her days perched on the veranda with good friends and family. Many yarns were spun, many problems solved and many laughs shared.
Margaret Emery was a remarkable person that thoroughly enjoyed life.
She loved a flutter and she loved to dress up, she encouraged those around her, appreciated a helping hand and most of all was a great wife, mother, mother in law, grandmother, great grandmother and friend.
HERE’S CHEERS TO MARGARET!
Charles William ‘Cocky’ Easton
The War Hero, Larrikin, Champion Racehorse Trainer
Charles William, ‘Cocky’ Easton was a remarkable character who called the outback home. He was a champion racehorse trainer, a war hero and a larrikin liked by all.
His life is highly celebrated in bush folklore, bush poetry and through the memories of those who knew him.
Cocky’s life began in the sunburnt Southwest in a town called Thargomindah in 1911. He was one of nine raised by Charles Isaac Easton and Hilda Morton on their Yakara property, which his father drew in a land ballot.
At the tender age of ten, his parents sent him to live in St George with his uncle Jack. It was here he attended school and his love for racing begun. Jack was a prominent local jockey, and taught Cocky everything he knew.
Being raised in the bush, Cocky learnt invaluable survival skills that prepared him for the challenges life had planned for him.
Cocky enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in 1940 with his mates from the bush. They were all in the same 2/10th Field Regiment in Malaya. Due to the British Surrender all members of his regiment became Japanese prisoners of war suffering extreme brutality.
Cocky was acknowledged for his incredible bravery throughout the time spent in Japanese labour camps when he received the highest volunteer military award, the military medal.
Although his bravery and heroics throughout this period were remarkable, it was his relentless humour that he is best remembered for, lightening the mood as prisoners.
In the conclusion of the war, Cocky and his fellow bush mates all miraculously returned home.
Cocky made his way back to Cunnamulla and begun doing what he loved most, training and racing thoroughbred racehorses. No one ever doubted his training ability, he could train 20-30 horses at one time.
He could produce winners like no other and fix any broken down horse. He simply spoke to them and they would just respond to him. Cocky was a champion racehorse trainer and dominated during the 1950’s and 60’s.
If someone was to win they knew they would have to beat one of Cocky’s horses.
In 1956 he trained all seven winners at the Eulo race meetings, six ridden by amateur jockey Noel Thompson. Once again he and Noel did it for a second time in Cunnamulla in 1961, winning all seven races breaking a Guinness Book Record.
As much as he was known for a larrikin and champion trainer, Cocky was a family man.
He loved his mother and religiously wrote to her. He married Joan Wright in 1948 and they raised three daughters, Marlene, Suzanne and Margaret.
Joan was kind and generous and proved to have the patients of a saint.
Cocky’s antics around the race track throughout the 50’s and 60’s is now part of bush folklore often celebrated in song. Cocky & Joan will always be remembered with the fondest of memories particularly by neighbours in Watson Street.
A book written about Cocky by Margie Brown called ‘Cocky’ A Rare Breed, depicts Cocky as the quintessential outback character who is remembered as a great soldier, and a champion racehorse trainer.
He valued people more then personal possessions and was a caring man who would do anything for his mates.
CHEERS TO COCKY!
Edward Albert “Nugget Mills” The Working Class Man
Nugget Mills was the working class man, your true blue outback bloke. He worked hard, loved his family saw the day end with a cold beer in hand.
Nugget’s early years were spent in his hometown of Brisbane with his brother and sister. Nugget however, could hear the West calling his name and after the loss of one of his parents, and the remarriage of the other, he braced for the West at once.
At only 13 and with little money, Nugget borrowed from his brother Bill’s money box. He left an IOU letter and swiftly boarded the first train West.
Nugget got as far as Mitchell where he picked up a job working in a big time timber mill. One day a worker was speared through the chest by a large piece of wood that split off a post they were milling.
After saving some money, Nugget continued West to the end of the railway line to the town of Cunnamulla, which he called home till his death.
Finding work as a roustabout in the shearing sheds, Nugget met the cook.
A hardworking young lady by the name of Estelle Paige Wilson, who he later married. Estelle cooked for all the shearers in camp ovens over an open fire, as sheds back then didn’t have kitchens. Nugget later worked on Strathlea station with Mr Maurice Hegarty, scrub cutting. Mr Hegarty gave Nugget a reference to get a job on the Paroo Shire Council driving a tip truck.
Trucks back then were primitive and had quite heavy steering with no hydraulics like today. Nugget was carting sand from the Warrego River opposite the Golf Club on the Southern side of the old railway bridge and the banks were extremely steep. Driving the tip truck was no easy feat. He had to reverse down the bank into the middle of the dry riverbed and then shovel sand into the truck by hand. On one occasion Nugget filled the truck with a load and got about 30 yards up the steep bank before stalling. The weight was too much for the truck. Nugget managed to steer the truck backwards to the bottom without rolling. His son Eddie recalls Nugget telling him he was pretty pleased to get out of the truck that day.
Together, Nugget and Estelle had three sons, Max, Eddie and John, however tragedy struck the family as Max died only a toddler. 1946 saw the pair purchase a small business in John Street. A café, no bigger than 15ft square. The two worked tirelessly. Long hours seven days and nights a week to eventually expand into E. Mills and Sons. The E Mills was for Edward and Estelle and their sons. Nugget had a 1928 Pontiac ute that he would collect the groceries from the rail in and the train would arrive into Cunnamulla at midnight back in those days.
Nugget was known for his strong nature and the fact that he didn’t take crap from anyone. One day a man by the name of Darcy Smith came to the shop, knocked on the door and asked Estelle if Nugget was home. Estelle told Darcy he was in the shower, however would go get him. Nugget got partially dressed in a pair of shorts and a singlet, walked out and said, “what can I do for you Darcy?” With that Darcy king hit Nugget busting his eye open before promptly walking away.
Fortunately for Nugget that night was train night and Darcy was a carrier at the Railway. Estelle’s brother Harry was in town staying with them and presuming there would be more trouble, Estelle decided to overt it by telling Harry to jump in the ute before Nugget. Before completing the sentence, they both saw Nugget drive past heading for the railway. On arrival Nugget got out of the ute walked along the platform, walked up to Darcy and king hit him in the eye busting his eye open.
Despite being a tough character, Eddie’s wife Chris recalls Nugget as an excellent grandfather, paying full attention to the kids whenever they were around. Walking them up and down the footpath and playing with them continuously. Chris also recalls that Nugget could be found down at the pub almost every afternoon and laughs as he wore long white socks pulled up to his knees with sandals. According to Chris he was never there for long, however must have polished them off as he was always stepping high walking home.
A wild bugger on the Grog, Nugget called the Cunnamulla Hotel his local. If he was full he was often cantankerous. One-night Nugget was enjoying a beer when he noticed a big man picking on a small man on the other side of the bar. Eventually the big man begun punching around the smaller man so Nugget walked over picked up the bar stool and smashed it over his head, knocking him out, before walking home. On occasion if Nugget had more than his fill, Estelle would lock him out and he would be stuck in the shop potato room. Next-door neighbour Lynette Calcutt, who was a child at the time, tells stories where Nugget would be pelting potatoes on the roof and swearing. Lynette’s sisters would hear him and race to their mother telling her Mr Mills is swearing again.
Like all bush fellas, Nugget didn’t mind a punt on the horses. Eddie recalls his brother John spinning a yarn about Nugget going to Brisbane and staying with him. After a day at the races he returned home, opened his coat and emptied money all over the bed. John said there was money everywhere and would have been about $50,000. A significant amount back then. Unfortunately, the case for most punters, the bookies got their money back within a couple of months.
One of Eddie’s fondest memories is when the family went to Brisbane and stayed with Nugget’s brother Bill. They both pulled out their mouth organs and played all night. Eddie said he had never heard it before and never heard it again but it was pretty impressive.
HERE’S CHEERS TO YOU NUGGET!