Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


Fred's fighting for Cracow

In countless outback towns, Fred Brophy is a hero. Now he's bought the type of town in which he's idolised.

Story & photos Melissa McCord

ImageAs you drive into the sunset on the road west of Eidsvold in central Queensland, you pass a majestic blue gum. Nailed to the tree is a sheet of corrugated iron with Cracow Pub 82k's - It's Scary roughly painted in large pink letters.

Fifty kilometres down the road is another sheet tacked to a cabbage gum asking, Are You Thirsty? A couple of hundred metres further along is another stating, If You're Not Think About Your Mate!!!

If you're travelling out that way, it won't take long to find out what's going on in Cracow. Two years ago Australian Boxing Troupe legend Fred Brophy and his partner of 20 years, Sandi, bought the Cracow Hotel and things haven't been the same since. A few decades ago, more than a dozen boxing tents travelled the country.

Brophy's is the sole survivor. Fred and his tent are greeted as old friends along the bush circuit of rodeos, shows and race meetings that they work each year. In the bush he is a hero.

I stride up the broad front stairs of the two-storey pub. Built in 1935, it has eight-foot wide verandahs on three sides of both storeys. Inside I'm warmly greeted by Fred and Sandi whom I've got to know since they bought the pub.

We go through to the cool side verandah to sit down and catch up. A breeze, sweet with the scent of jacaranda blossoms makes its way across the tables while Fred reminisces.

"I've always wanted to own an old Queensland hotel and buy a town, but I've never been able to afford one. "He leans back and laughs," This was the cheapest one going because it's a ghost town. It's not too far from the city and you're not far from the coast, yet you're still in the middle of nowhere." Story end

Full story: Issue 15, February/ March 2001

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