THE MCDONALD FAMILY’S 51 YEAR HOTEL LEGACY - The Community Leader and Real Estate New and Views
Local History


Since 1955 The Manly Hotel has been the social focal point of the Manly Harbour Village. Fancying a change after many years of hard yakka in the bakery industry, Stewart and Dulcie McDonald purchased their first hotel in Esk in 1961. The first day’s takings was a whopping 1 pound and 18 shillings. Over the next nine years they operated hotels in Ipswich, Strathpine and Spring Hill before coming across the beautiful bayside suburb of Manly.

Taking over The Manly Hotel in March of 1970, the endeavour instantly became a family affair, with the McDonalds later transferring the license to their children, three of whom still hold it today – Jenny Bradley, Doug, and Sandy McDonald. In 1972, Jenny was enlisted to assist with the till reconciliation, banking and payroll – a job that she still holds to this day, 49 years later!

The introduction of Sunday trading sessions during the ‘70s saw more hands required in the bars. Between the two roaring sessions: 11am – 1pm, and 4pm – 6pm in those days, Jenny and her colleagues would be pre-pouring half and full nips of scotch into glasses, ready to quickly appease the hordes of thirsty customers who would spill through the doors right upon opening.

Sandy recalls their first permits to trade after 10pm were granted in the early ‘70s, provided customers were served a forked meal. To creatively comply with the regulations, many a meal was presented to the late-night patrons – spaghetti on a fork, for example. Apparently, it wasn’t the best spaghetti around, but it did mean that you could finish your scotch!

Photos courtesy of The Manly Hotel.

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