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Lee's Hotel, INGHAM, QLD

Lee's Hotel - image 1
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+61 7 4776 1577
(07) 4776 1503
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Made famous by Slim Dusty’s number 1 hit song the The Pub With No Beer, Lees Hotel has stood proudly in Ingham’s town centre since it was established in 1875.
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Lees Hotel The Original Pub With No Beer.
Lees Hotel is the home of “The Pub with No Beer” made famous by Slim Dusty who based the song on the poem “The Pub Without Beer” from Ingham’s favorite poet Dan Sheahan. The song was launched on April 1, 1957 becoming Australia’s very 1st, number 1, worldwide hit. The song was on the flip side of “The Saddle Boys” and took Australia, and then the world by storm. Translated into 7 different languages and in the 1960s became the very first song to be beamed back to Earth from a satellite orbiting in space.
Slim Dusty has confirmed the origin of the song on a number of occasions, not only in his last book “Walk a Country Mile” but also in his most recently released CD and video. Slim Dusty became good friends with Dan Sheehan and Dan went on to write two more songs for Slim Dusty.
In 1988 as part of the Australian Bicentennial project the facts and authenticity of the claim to being "The Original Pub Without Beer" were checked and verified by the Australian Bicentennial Commission and on December 17, 1988 a bronze plaque was erected on what is now Lees Hotel and officially unveiled by Shaun Sheahan, Dan's eldest son. This is a very appropriate date being almost exactly 45 years from any of when the event took place.

The True Story: It was mid December 1943. The 22nd Bomb Group from the USA were on their way from Brisbane to Port Moresby to fight the enemy and prevent Australia from being invaded. The convoy had traveled from Brisbane to Townsville and averaged 50 mph [80 kph], a very good speed in those days. They left Townsville at lunchtime expecting to be in Ingham in about 1 1/2 hours.

Unfortunately no one told them about the 71 River and Creek crossings they would have to make, with only 3 bridges. It was the wet season. Imagine arriving at every crossing, driving through flooded creeks with the bank’s turned to a quagmire of mud and mush, every man having to get out of the trucks and physically push them up the banks to get back on the road to the next creek crossing. 14 hours after leaving Townsville they arrived at Lees Hotel [then the Day Dawn] and at 2 o’clock in the morning woke the publican and proceeded to drink the pub dry.

Next morning Dan Sheahan rode his horse in 20 miles [about 30 km] from his property to his favorite pub to discover that they have run out of beer! With that, Dan takes the only drink available, a warm glass of wine, and retreats to the back of the bar and pens the famous poem.

Please pass on this true story in remembrance of those brave American Service Personnel who continued on to Port Moresby and died preventing the invasion of Australia during World War II.

The Lees Hotel actively celebrates a dying art in Australian culture, teaching locals and tourists to “learn to pour a beer at the pub with no beer”. Phil Willmington [9 News] has even graduated complete with his presentation Certificate.

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