The Legend. Lees Hotel is undoubtedly 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 favourite 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.
The Story. It was the summer of 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 aircraft they were flying were the “Marauder”, generally considered to be the most dangerous and unreliable aircraft being used by the US at that time, The 22nd Bomb Group a.k.a. “the Red Raiders” loved the aircraft and were generally acknowledged as the best pilots and the best bomb group in the Pacific theatre. The convoy had travelled 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 70 River and Creek crossings they would have to make, with only 2 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 [it was then the Day Dawn Hotel] 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 – still owned to this day by the Sheahan family – to his favourite 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. And the rest is history.
Today, the pub has plenty of beer, spirits and soft drinks. Pool Tables, Keno and a gaming room as well. Much of the history of the poem, the song and the town of Ingham can be found on the walls of the hotel.
Within the recently refurbished Hotel we have 20 ensuite hotel rooms. All of our beds are Sealy ensembles for absolute comfort with super comfy pillow top mattresses. Rooms are fully carpeted with tea and coffee making facilities and air conditioning systems that run in almost complete silence.
- Deluxe ‘Pillow Top’ Mattresses
- Queen Size Beds
- Deluxe King Singles
- Ensuite Bathrooms
- Split Cycle Air Conditioning
- 32” Flat Screen TV
- Tea & Coffee making facilities