Over 50 Years of Hospitality in Goondiwindi.
Coral moved to Goondiwindi in 1963 with her parents Doreen and Laurie Hill who bought the Railway Refreshment Rooms (known locally as the RRR), a bar which serviced the then functioning passenger train that travelled from Brisbane to Goondiwindi.
The RRR was an excellent training ground for Coral, who had the will to “make each day count”.
In 1972, Coral met “the most wonderful man”, Michael O’Shea, who had taken his first breath in The Royal Hotel in St George.
The year 1972 also marked the beginning of the couple’s relationship with the Royal Hotel in Goondiwindi, when Michael began work for his Aunt Melva and Uncle George Louis, who had leased the pub from Fourex for a year. At year’s end, Michael enlisted the help of his parents, Mike Senior and mother Thel, to take over the lease. Coral and Michael married the same month.
In 1977, Michael officially became the lessee of the Royal Hotel, and through a lot of hard work and determination the pair became owners in 1987.
Michael and Coral raised their children in two small hotel rooms in the upper levels of the pub. It was home and playground for their four children, Amanda, Michelle, Michael and Steven.
This dynamic duo saw the hotel grow and change with the times, including building the Macintyre Room in 1988, renovating the public bar in 1996 and then the bistro in 1998.
Coral believes they were successful because, “we would never ask anyone else to do what we wouldn’t do ourselves. We wanted to be vigilant about doing things at the highest possible standard.”
Sadly in 2001, after fighting valiantly for a year, Michael lost his battle with cancer. The family rallied around and continued with the task at hand. Today Coral’s children help to run not only the Royal but also the Great Divide Motor Inn in Toowoomba and the newly acquired Windsor Hotel Motel in Dalby. Coral, as the travelling matriarch, keeps a close eye on the entire business.
O’Shea’s Royal Hotel has been the focal point of social, sporting and community life for Goondiwindi for 40 years, with 2013 seeing the family celebrate this remarkable milestone. As Coral and I walk through the hotel, the reason for her success is obvious.
It is not only the support of wonderful family and community but also her ability to make every patron feel special and welcome, with her warm infectious aura and smile.
Words and Images by Mandie Oshea