by MICHAEL MADIGAN
THE Victoria Hotel Goondiwindi is a testament to tradition and its owners an example of how a pub can honour its past, and still turn a healthy profit.
John and Michelle Klein brought the beautiful old hotel back in 2006 just as the old owners were preparing to sign the demolition papers.
"Around four people who owned it before them had kept going broke and it was generally decided it was no longer viable as a business,” says John.
But the Kleins had a deep affection for the pub that started life in the early 1880s on the intersection of two dirt tracks that are now Marshall and Herbert streets.
They were aware master builder Williams Bell virtually rebuilt the pub in the 1920s, and hired Mr Bell's great great grandson Michael Bell to complete a 21st century renovation in keeping with the pub's historic character.
Today The Victoria is living up to its past glamour years, and the people of Goondiwindi are showing their appreciation by crowding back into its bars.
A few weeks ago the pub won two Queensland Hotel Association awards for its traditional bar and pub style accommodation.
"It's gone from being one of the worst performing pubs in Queensland to one of the best,” says John.
"We're proud of our pub.”