The pub at Stonehenge might be in a town with a population of just 40 but people throughout Queensland have rallied to help the hotel's owners in the wake of a violent storm that ripped off its tin roof and caused thousands of dollars worth of damage.
The storm on Sunday evening, described by caretaker Roly Gooding as like a tornado, happened while owners Tom Auriac and Grant Champion were 150km away in Longreach, resulting in water and electrical damage as well as the loss of part of the roof.
"The phone call from Roly wasn't the best present to receive," Mr Auriac said. "We received a fair bit of rain on top of the wind so all the gyprock has bowed and there's quite a few electrical problems too."
Mr Auriac and Mr Champion operate the nearby Stonehenge Quarry, which provides road base materials to a large proportion of western Queensland, and bought the hotel in October 2021 to ensure it stayed open for the community.
"People were stoked we took it on - we wanted to try and breathe new life into it and it had been going well," Mr Auriac said, taking a break from throwing out perished goods.
"It wasn't insured - too many pubs in the west have burnt down and the cost was just not feasible - it's the gamble we had to take."
While he was able to rustle up some chippie mates in Longreach the morning after the storm, and head back to Stonehenge with materials to patch up a makeshift roof, they will have to wait til next year to undertake a full renovation.
"The roof almost blew off in one piece so we've patched it up but you can still see a bit of daylight," Mr Auriac said. "It's pretty bent up but we've screwed it down where we can - I reckon we used about three tubes of silicone."
He said he was 'blown away' by a Gofundme campaign that by lunchtime on Thursday had raised $10,400 from 102 donors.
"I'm lost for words, really," he said.
"I wouldn't have expected $5, but it's all much needed and I can guarantee it will go a long way to keeping the pub functional.
"We mightn't have a big population in town but we service a big area, and it's much more than a pub.
"It's a meeting place, a post office, and we have bread and ice for travellers, and accommodation."
In the meantime, the pair are hoping storms avoid Stonehenge for the next couple of weeks.
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