Melvilles Farm – where the outback meets the city…
Craig and Ruth Melville are two of the hardest working people in Australia. They are the driving success behind the Melville’s family owned business that started in 1986.
The Melvilles story all began as a social shed for get togethers and gradually expanded into a family oriented open venue with a (wool barn) shed feel. By popular demand this then developed into the unique aussie style tavern you see today. The Melville Family has been in the hospitality and entertainment industry for over 60 years.
Keith and Patricia Melville (Craig’s folks) began as junior publicans with Sir Arthur Fadden at an Innisfail hotel. Sir Arthur owned pubs throughout Queensland so this enabled Keith and Patricia to travel and learn. After their apprenticeship with Sir Arthur they became assistant managers at the Queens Hotel on The Strand which at the time was the most prestigious hotel in Townsville. This hotel was owned by Sir Reginald Ansett. Following their time at the Queens they branched out into their own business of buying, renovating and reselling hotels in the north. The last hotel that they renovated was the Giru International in 1972. They decided it was time to retire from the industry so bought some land at Alligator Creek along with the local school bus run and settled into a slower paced lifestyle. Friends and acquaintances made themselves regular visitors to the new home and it was jokingly suggested that Keith should build a country themed function venue to cater for their visits. In 1986 Melvilles opened the iconic Aussie Tavern at Alligator Creek. The Aussie Tavern is a timber shed with a kitchen, stage and hand crafted cypress timber bar which is the standout feature. The building is home to a barrage of early Australian treasures like our 1893 Cobb & Co Coach. There are also ice chests, Condamine bells, horse drawn wood fired pie warmer, and traditional camp ovens to name a few. Keith and Patricia trained their two sons Craig and Lenard to run the Tavern and entertain the guests.
Craig’s experience in hospitality is wide and varied. From purchasing his first carriage at 15 to riding the Cowboys mascot for 7 years at home games. Craig’s range of credentials can be seen on his profile. Ruth brings her own talents to the business having previously successfully run her own Camel Ride business. Ruth’s dedication to the animals extends to her having worked as a vet nurse in her younger days. Ruth’s extensive customer service skills, can do attitude and pleasant demeanour make her popular with the crowds.
Some of the events and functions Melvilles has been renowned for over the decades:
- Hosting Weddings, Functions and Special Events
- Provide entertainment to over 25 Regional Shows throughout QLD
- Provide animals & horse drawn carriages in over 12 movies including big budget films like “Australia”
- Provided main arena entertainment at the Brisbane Exhibition
- Provided the Horse & Entertainment for the NTH QLD Cowboys for their first ten years since inauguration
- Horse Events e.g. Team penning, Cutting, Western Pleasure and even Polocross.
The property boasts a beautiful view of the surrounding foothills of Mount Elliot.
Patrons and Visitors often sigh in envy and contentment while passing comment on ‘How lucky we are to live at Melvilles with it’s peaceful country lifestyle and amazing view’.
At the age of 15 years I bought my first carriage. Within 2 years I was operating a carriage business. I specialise in Early Australian activities and Entertainment i.e. Sheep Shearing, Blacksmithing, Horse and Buggy rides, Children’s Penning Zoo, Whip Cracking, Horse-Shoe Throwing, Pony Rides and my special interest is the Cobb & Co Stage Coach, which I have been operating since 1986.
I was the first person in Australia to organise and promote Night Time Bull Riding and Team Penning at Melvilles Pioneer Farm.