“If the pressure of life has got you down
And you want a little rest from your home town
Well I know a place that’ll really suit
It’s a little old pub called the Wobbly Boot.”
If you’ve ever fancied yourself as the landlord of a famous Aussie bush pub, this one is as authentic as they get – and it even comes with its own song.
The Wobbly Boot Hotel, in far northern inland NSW near the Queensland border, was made famous by country singer Stan Coster. The two-storey concrete building on 2023 square metres is now for sale.
John Williamson also released a version of the song, which joins Slim Dusty’s A Pub With No Beer and Duncan as one of Australia’s best-loved drinking ditties.
The phrase wobbly boot, of course, is a lighthearted reference to the unsteady gait of someone who’s been at the pub a little too long.
The Wobbly Boot, Boggabilla. Photo: Nick O’Brien, Facebook
“In the town of Boggabilla by the Macintyre River
Where the ducks are plenty and the fishing’s beaut”
Boggabilla is about 350 kilometres south-west of Brisbane and has a population of about 600.
The fishing is still beaut, says Terry Shelly, who has owned and operated the freehold business with his wife, licensee Paula, for more than 19 years.
“I’m a young 71, my wife’s a young 69 and we want to retire,” Mr Shelly says.
The Wobbly Boot Hotel is still played regularly on radio programs such as ABC Radio’s Australia All Over and Country Hour. However, it turns out that enterprising former publican Glen Bryant, who is mentioned in the lyrics, paid Coster to pen the song, according to Mr Shelly.
“He wrote it sitting at the bar here,” he says.
The song that would make the pub famous was reportedly written at the bar. Photo: Supplied
Most of the lyrics still apply, although the cotton industry has replaced timber.
“In the cool beer garden with a grapevine roof
Where the atmosphere is tension proof”
Happily, the atmosphere of the pub remains free of tension and a popular destination for locals and visitors to Boggabilla, a typical country town “where everyone talks to everyone”.
Sadly, the cool beer garden’s grapevine roof is no more – “some philistine took to that with a great chain saw,” Mr Shelly says – but lives on in local gardens from cuttings.
All the trappings of a country pub – as well as a mirror ball. Photo: Supplied
The property has three poker machine permits, the building is in good condition and the Shellys are keen move on quickly. They may even consider a buyer’s property as part-exchange.
Seven accommodation rooms are currently used as the owners’ home and the hotel does not serve meals, although the facilities are there to do so.
“There are a lot of untapped revenue streams I’m too old for – and too lazy,” Mr Shelly says.
In a further testament to the pub’s fame, an eBay seller has produced scale model kits of the building and has offered them for sale for $110.
According to the listing, the Wobbly Boot kit is made from MDF and corrugated baseboard, with laser-cut doors and windows.
A scale kit of the Wobbly Boot Hotel listed for sale for $110 on eBay. Photo: Coolum Beach Laser Design / eBay
“I’m thinking, should I sue him or what,” Mr Shelly says with a laugh.
If a prospective owner needed any further persuasion to consider buying the property, perhaps the last word should go to Coster.
“Come and wallow in the leisure of the ease and pleasure
Cos time means happy at the Wobbly Boot.”