Sept 10th, 2018
In the early hours of the morning on Wednesday the 22nd of August the Commercial Hotel, located in the main street of Dalby, was extensively damaged by fire. The hotel fondly known as ‘Mary’s’ was an icon of the town. Although Dalby is no longer in my electorate I spent time in Mary’s from a very early age as did many others.
The original hotel was built in 1885. The building was demolished in 1909 and a two storey brick establishment was constructed in its place. The Commercial had several female publicans. One was Miss Mary Barry, becoming the owner in 1952. Mary passed away in 2010 at the age of 91 still living in the hotel and coming downstairs when she could, to be with her faithful patrons. The hotel was officially named ‘Mary’s’ in 2010 as a tribute to Mary.
Mary Barry was a living legend in Dalby, known far and wide for her hospitality and her hotel was an institution. Everyone knew about Mary’s no matter which part of the country they hailed from. After Dalby cattle sales all the agents and buyers would end up at Mary’s for a drink to wash the dust away. It was the favourite haunt of many a local bank manager, farmer or grazier, with generations of families all knowing the familiar timber bar. As a small child I fondly remember sitting up at the bar and being given a red lemonade by Mary followed by ‘Happy Days’ darling. When I was old enough I loved going to Mary’s for a beer or two after a cricket match. At times it was packed to over flowing with patrons new and old spilling out on to the pavement.
Mary was a big supporter of local sporting clubs, with the rugby union and cricket clubs being amongst her favourites. Famous faces were seen from time to time enjoying the warm, relaxing atmosphere Mary’s always provided. Unfortunately the fire has destroyed memorabilia that was collected over many years, along with decades of photographs and sporting successes. The loss of Mary’s has left a deep sadness in the hearts of all those who entered this historic building.