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4 May, 2022

New owners for Wheatsheaf Hotel

After being shut for a few years, the doors at the Wheatsheaf Hotel at East Greenmount should be swinging open soon under the new ownership of Edwin and Madeline Cooke.

The previous licensee, Greg Smith, closed the hotel around the middle of 2018 and has been living a quieter life in the premises since that time.

The new owner of the building, Edwin Cooke, who is Toowoomba-based and has been involved in the local area for 20 years, said he and his wife have had their eyes on the property for a couple of years.

Buying a hotel is a new venture for the Cookes, who are involved with various businesses, including cattle grazing in Central Queensland.

The Wheatsheaf was sold on March 24 for $450,000, with the settlement finalising last Tuesday.

The hotel itself an historic two-storey timber building with a bar, dining room, kitchen, office and store on the ground floor and five bedrooms, owners/managers residence, a lounge/tea making room and front verandah upstairs.

Outside, there is a separate drive-in bottle shop and beer garden, as well as a bit of land, as the property is just over a hectare, or three acres, in size.

The building itself is believed to be about 105 years old.

The site has been occupied by an hotel since the 1880s.

The first building burnt down and the current hotel was moved from Greenmount in 1935.

Mr Cooke said they are looking forward to getting out to East Greenmount and getting the hotel up and running.

“We’ve got some family down that way,” he said.

“It’s a beautiful part of the world. 

“The area has changed so much over the last five years.”

Mr Cooke said the hotel can hopefully be open again in the next couple of months, but it will largely depend on being able to secure a food licence and especially a liquor licence.

Subject to approval, they are hoping to operate seven days a week as a pub, while also selling food both dine-in and takeaway, coffee and operating a bottle shop.

Mr Cooke said he has received a lot of interest and support from the East Greenmount community.

“I’ve already got a couple of locals talking to me with chef experience, barista experience,” he said.

The extent of renovations that will be needed is still being assessed, including when it comes to the accommodation.

Mr Cooke said he is roughly expecting to be able to be open for accommodation in September, however with the lack of tradespeople and materials available lately this could be pushed back further to October or beyond.

He has met with a builder to discuss designs to reinvigorate the hotel.

Selling agent Brian Taaffe from Harcourts Toowoomba said it was great for the local community that the Wheatsheaf Hotel was bought by new owners who are keen to be up and running soon.

Greg Smith had been in the Wheatsheaf Hotel for about fourteen years, first in partnership with his brother and then with his sister before taking it on solo.

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