The Simon’s Tavern which stands in Boonah’s High Street looks nothing like the ornate hotel which first opened its doors on the site in 1902. Carl Gustav Simon was the original developer and owner and Simon’s Tavern. A Fassifern Guardian story suggests the pub was the result of a German Lottery win for Simon and his two friends.
The trio shared the winning 2000 pound windfall and Gustav Simon decided to use his new fortune to build an impressive two-storey hotel beside his existing saddler building. He engaged local architect, Edward de Saluz Kretshmer to design the building. By 1902 it was open for business.
A story in the Fassifern Advocate on September 13 said: “Would you find a second hotel in Queensland that could compare with this; with its paneled walls in all rooms and passages throughout the whole building? An hotel which, besides the bar, can boast of 30 lofty and well-ventilated rooms, and where the proprietor, standing inside the bar, can overlook the front and back entrance, and at the same time can see through the doors of six rooms and conveniently serve at three bar tables."
“As to the outside appearance of the hotel, those who have seen the freshmen kiosk of Mr Muling in the Brisbane gardens, or the mansion of the Royal Bank, Gladstone Road, South Brisbane, and even the German Hotel at Woolloongabba, will be able to form an idea as to its lofty and elegant forms.”
However despite winning the lottery, Gustav was apparently nearly bankrupted by the cost of building the large ornate hotel. One local historian says Gustav’s finances were so tight that he was forced to wear a shop-bought suit to the opening. It was only that his friend and successful local businessman, Charlie Behrendorff agreed to lend him money, that Gustav was able to finish the southern weatherboard wall of his hotel in Crows Ash weatherboards. Gustav Simon died on April 11, 1905. The original Simon’s Tavern burned down and was replaced by the current building in the 1970s.