THE hotel that burnt to the ground in a fire in Julia Creek last year has been rebuilt and is operating again.
The historic Gannons Hotel was destroyed in a fire in March 2015, but it was never made clear what caused it.
Improvements to the rebuilt hotel include a bottle shop, a reception area for the adjoining motel, and a gaming lounge.
The 10 poker machines were previously in the corner of a room in the former hotel.
Hotel owner Peter Hayden said he has owned the building since 1995. He had retired to Capella and leased out the hotel at the time of the fire.
“I don’t believe it was anyone’s fault.
“The investigators didn’t find a reason why it occurred, but anyway, life goes on,” Mr Hayden said.
The hotel was first reopened on Tuesday. “We had a good number of people and we certainly stayed up until midnight,” he said.
Mr Hayden was considering an official opening of the hotel, within 10 days. But some issues first needed resolving.
“There is a lot of technical things to do with the TAB, and in particular, Keno,” he said.
Mr Hayden decided to rebuild the hotel because of its profitability.
“This is a strong area with cattle country to the north in the gulf. It’s a strong area for pastoral companies and it’s on a major road from Townsville to Darwin.
“The motel does benefit from that.”
McKinlay Shire mayor Belinda Murphy said she was excited that Mr Hayden and his wife Julia had rebuilt the hotel.
She said their investment in Julia Creek showed confidence in the town’s economy.
“It’s probably the first community building built (here) in a number of years, even though it’s a rebuild,” Councillor Murphy said.
The hotel was originally built in 1925 but was burnt down in 1930. It was rebuilt two years later by Mr Gannon. The Gannons resided in the McKinlay Shire for more than 50 years.
ABC North West said the hotel had been featured in the 1956 film A Town Like Alice.