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The evolution of an Australian country pub


The Australian country pub is more than a place to go for a cold beer and catch up with friends. Here, beneath the wide verandahs you’ll discover the soul of a town.

Usually the local pub was one of the town’s first buildings and provided a gathering place for the community.

It had a commercial room for travelling salesmen to display their wares, was a venue for meetings and because of their size and solid construction these building even provided a cool place to lay out the dead in Australia’s early years.

These grand old buildings are known for their heritage architecture, the verandahs making the most of any cooling breezes. After all, this is the driest inhabited continent.

And showing there is a lot of life in the old girl still, the century-old Globe Hotel in Barcaldine in central-west Queensland has been recognised for its historic and architectural significance.


The Globe Hotel at Barcaldine, Queensland, while it was trading.

Although slated to be demolished a half dozen years ago, The Globe, which reopened in late 2015 as a new multi-million-dollar community cultural precinct, has seen architects in association Brian Hooper Architect and Michael Lavery of m3architecture awarded at a state level in Brisbane on Friday night, June 23.

The two-storey building has been rebuilt in a style that ensures the character of the Australian bush will not only continue but grow, this time as a valuable community resource.

The teaming of the architects has previously brought the town to national acclaim when the Tree of Knowledge, within eyesight of The Globe, won the Lachlan Macquarie Award for Heritage Architecture and a commendation for Public Architecture at the 2010 National Architecture Awards.

The Tree of Knowledge, Barcaldine. Photo: Erle Levey, Sunshine Coast Newspapers

The Tree of Knowledge memorial, Barcaldine. Photo:

The Tree of Knowledge was a ghost gum growing in front of the Barcaldine railway station and recognised as being the central meeting place for the Shearers’ Strike during the upheaval in 1891.


The new memorial was constructed on the site of the remains of the original tree that was poisoned as an act of vandalism in 2006. This disturbance eventually led to the formation of the Australian Labor Party. The tree was said to be at least 170 years old.

The Globe Hotel, which was built in 1910, closed down several years ago and was purchased by the Barcaldine Regional Council in 2011.

The council began the redevelopment in late 2014 and the new facility includes an art gallery, function room and history room.

The Globe was built after the shearer’s strike but its location made it popular with workers and identities in the emerging political party, and in later times, to city travellers who realised its historical context.


Architect Brian Hooper commended the council on realising the importance of the project and significance both for its heritage and on-going value to the community.

He said they have been great advocates of the processes the architects in association had brought.

As for the links with The Tree, the architects purposely referenced back to it with a view corridor from the Globe.


“One of the nice things of the Globe was initially they were going to demolish it,’’ Brian said.

“The critical thing is they would not have had the luxury of being able to build over the footpath again. That’s part of the character of old towns.

“With our work on the Tree (of Knowledge) there was a lot of trust. I had driven past the tree about 100 times and never stopped.

“Like the tree, the catalyst was ‘how do we get people to stop in Barcaldine?’

“The new building has created a different dynamic

“It was a meeting place as a pub.

“It is a meeting place again … with two-storey pub architecture

“Those pubs bookend the town. There is a little bit of intrigue with it.

“It gives glimpses of the past.


“The rusted iron façade offers so much more in terms of activity – people can see stuff going on without necessarily being part of it.

“When I first stopped in Barci, the town had that lovely character that was being lost throughout so much of Australia.

“In terms of the rural vernacular the Globe’s got a nice western Queensland feel … it embraces the character.’’

Barcaldine Regional Council mayor Rob Chandler was excited by the architecture awards.

“How good’s that,’’ he said. “Council bought it for two reasons.

“To reduce the number of hotels from six to five. A town this size can no longer maintain that many … and we needed a place to house our visitor information centre.

“We are just spending another $500,000 upstairs for a state-of–the-art gallery and multi-purpose space.

“The Globe was a 100-year-old building, it was the worker’s pub and the publican Pat Ogden was the guardian of the Tree (of Knowledge).

“But he was more than 80 years old and getting frail.

“Just the positioning of it in the middle of the main street. You look to the north and its right on the edge of what was the inland sea.

“To the east is the forest land, and to the west is the mitchell downs country.’’

The 2017 Queensland architecture judging citation noted the rejuvenation of the building was “imbued with a deep respect and preservation of the outback pub typology.

“The Globe is an essay in celebrating timber single skin construction.


“Intricate restoration of existing fabric with the embroidery of new material perspicaciously within the original frame construction has yielded a paragon for adaptive reuse in rural Queensland.

“The core structure of the old building had been maintained, but a new veranda was built as well as a new roof, and the building was also re-stumped.

“Astutely championing the significance of a main street corner pub in rural Queensland opportunity is made of the multi-layered patterns of timber, steel, translucent sheet’s light and shadow, whilst framing views within the building, the partially formed cloister and the streetscape to revive this significant place in Barcaldine.’’


Michael Lavery said the master-planned project links the region’s commercial, cultural and tourist assets.

“Every great project has a great client.

“A great client is someone who knows how to take responsibility for the portions of the project they control and who still has the capacity to trust in those around them, that they will do their job properly.

“Council’s vision for this first stage was definitively contemporary.

“Instead of demolishing The Globe, we proposed to realise council’s vision through adaptive re-use, celebrating the building’s typology.

“The project itself benefitted enormously from local input, not least of all Les Fietz and his family as builders of the project. Their commitment was outstanding.

“The Globe, with its connection back to the Tree of Knowledge through Pat Ogden, is an integral part of the region and its story.


“Council’s faith in us to keep the old building and develop a project that both retains local character and expresses a new, forward looking vision for the region is something special.

“The single skin construction allows us to see and understand a building’s layers: load bearing structure, bracing, linings, glazing, screening, and ornament.

“At a broader scale verandas, rooms, and landscape layer space. The perimeter veranda needed to be rebuilt and in its place contemporary forms of protection and expression were added.

“A new weathered western screen combines the patterns of wall framing and bracing, lattice, and door lights to create an oscillating pattern referencing the garden town.

“New balustrades reference existing cross braced walls as well as the trailers of passing road trains and new protective linings reframe the building in bold abstracted forms of varying opacity.

“Due to its location at the junction of both north-south and east-west national highways – the Capricorn and the Landsborough – many more people identify this site as a signpost on their inland journey.’’


The Queensland awards were held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre

Winners were selected by the State Jury from a field of 82 entries that received regional commendations at their respective regional architecture awards ceremonies earlier in the year.

Award winners will now progress to the National Architecture Awards to be announced at the Albert Hall in Canberra on Thursday, November 2.


The Globe Visitor Information Centre at Barcaldine, formerly the Globe Hotel.                         Photo:

5 comments on “The Globe

  1. sunsueblog says:

    After reading about the Globe I felt I’d been there. Yet I haven’t. My understanding of the region and Barcaldine in particular is enriched by the writings of leavearly. Thankyou


    1. leavearly says:

      Thank you so much. I’m glad that it had such an impact. To think of the rich history of the Barcaldine area, the part the Tree of Knowledge and The Globe have played in the community and the culture if the region, has been captured and restored for the future by the architects and the council is to be celebrated


  2. Brian says:

    Thank you for beautifully conveying the history of Barcaldine, the Tree and the Globe.
    Brian Hooper


  3. leavearly says:

    Brian, it was a privilege to write about it … such an interesting part of Australia’s history has been captured by your work and understanding of what was needed. The Tree was something I had long wanted to see, to sit beneath it in the early morning and hear the sighs of the early pioneers in the “branches” … seeing and experiencing The Globe and its benefit to the community was a bonus. Barcaldine is a place everyone should stop at, sit and listen to the land. Hear what it is telling us.


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