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Community & Business

16 February, 2022

Royal Hotel Leyburn changes hands

After eight years as the owners of oldest continuously licensed establishment in Queensland, Shane and Sam Toy are moving on to the next chapter in their lives.

From left: Outgoing Leyburn Royal Hotel owners Sam and Shane Toy with their staff members (who are continuing on)Amanda, Amelia, Terri, Darcy, Zoe, Simone, Sunny and Michelle.

Shane Toy said he and Sam decided to put the hotel up for sale as they were looking at freeing up a bit more time, something the demands of owning a pub allows you very little of.

“If it sold, it sold,” Mr Toy said.

“We’ve got it to where it is over the years.

“It’s a very busy life - we’ve had a ball.”

The Royal Hotel at Leyburn has a long history, having been established in 1863.

Of course, the building has changed significantly over the years and there have been many owners, including one of the district’s favourite sons, former Broncos, Queensland and Australian rugby league star Shane Webcke, who was the owner before the Toys.

Mr Toy said it was time for new life to be breathed into the hotel.

Although they may not own the pub anymore, the Toys plan on staying in Leyburn where they have become a part of the community.

Although nothing is set in stone, Mr Toy said they plan to go back to Darwin for the months of May, June and July.

Aside from the hotel, Mrs Toy runs a busy accounting business.

Mr Toy is a carpenter by trade and plans on doing some jobs around home that he has not been able to get to due to the early mornings and late nights that running a hotel entail.

Mr Toy said he also plans to build a few things with the extra time he has on his hands.

“Our house in town will be our base,” he said.

“We’ll still be down at the pub to have a few beers.”

Over the years, Mr Toy said he has thoroughly enjoyed many aspects of running the hotels, including the regulars, interacting with customers and the big days held, especially the Leyburn Sprints.

Although he has enjoyed the Leyburn Sprints in the past, as he has been able to meet the drivers and form friendships, he said the hectic schedule meant he never had any time to spectate, only work and go home to sleep.

The past eight years have also been interesting for Mr Toy.

“You could write a book on it. The up and the downs, the dramas,” he said.

Mr Toy said he and his wife would to thank the community for their support.

“It’s been a blast.”

He also thanked the staff, who have been “excellent.”

Chris and Ruth Morahan take over Leyburn pub’s reins

The famous Royal Hotel at Leyburn has new owners with a couple moving from Brisbane to enjoy some country life.

Chris and Ruth Morahan took over the hotel on Monday of this week and they’re looking forward to their new surroundings.

It’s a change of pace for the couple after living in Brisbane.

Chris grew up in Brisbane and spent 30 years working in Information Technology, or I.T. as it is more commonly known.

“We’d been in the city too long,” Chris said.

The move into the hospitality industry is not completely foreign to him.

In addition to his I.T. work, Chris had a catering business on the side, with barbecues a feature.

Chris and Ruth plan to introduce some of these meats such as brisket and ribs onto the menu at Leyburn.

They plan to hold on to the staff members who are already in place at the Royal, accepting the general rule that when you move to the country, you don’t come in and make changes.

Chris said he has connections with the southern Downs area.

His grandparents used to run the Grand Hotel in Warwick and he has relatives in the district - an auntie and uncle, Jackie and Brian Doyle, who live at
Spring Creek, between Clifton and Allora.

Previous owner Shane Toy wishes all the best for Chris and Ruth.

“The new owners will be good,” Mr Toy said.

“They will bring in new things like we did eight years ago.

“They’re nice people, they’ll do a good job and fit into town.”

Mr Toy said the Morahans will continue the trend of providing a good service to the local community.

All the staff will be staying on, including the Toys’ daughter and the two chefs.

Mr Toy said although there is no formula to running a successful hotel, he knew something that had worked for him.

“Hot food, cold beer and friendly service with a smile as they walk through the door,” he said.

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