On Sunday August 6, 1989, fire destroyed the popular Tatts Hotel.
On Sunday August 6, 1989, fire destroyed the popular Tatts Hotel.

Gympie remembers Tatts Hotel 30 years on from devastating fire

MORE than 30 years on, Gympie residents have remembered the night Tattersall’s Hotel tragically burned to the ground, and the bravery of witnesses and firefighters.

Just before midnight on Sunday, August 6, 1989 the Tatts Hotel burst into flames; seven people escaped, some by minutes.


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Witnesses reported hearing an explosion, and initially the fire was suspected to have been deliberately lit, as the publican and several others received threatening phone calls before the event.

The Tatt’s Hotel had been on that spot in Mary Street since 1868, and was a favourite among locals.

The Gympie Times readers who witnessed the fire or knew people who did, took to Facebook to remember the events of the night and, the brave act of one man who saved lives.

“Wow I remember this. I remember Jack Copp [sic] rescued someone and jumped down from the veranda. If mum was around she would tell me who he rescued. I was only eight when this happened,” Kelly Fitzpatrick said.

The man rescued by Jack Kopp was reportedly Michael “Kylie” Mason.

“The guy he rescued was nicknamed Kylie. He was a lovely person and a huge Kylie Minogue fan and sadly isn’t with us anymore,” Heather Williams said.

“Jack had to almost throw him down the stairs as he tried to get back up to save his beloved trombone. We were all at a party at the owner’s place that night. Some time after we left they went back to the pub for more booze and that’s when it happened I believe. Saddest moment for Gympie,” Ms Williams said.

The Tatts Hotel, circa 1980s, after it underwent an extensive renovation.
The Tatts Hotel, circa 1980s, after it underwent an extensive renovation.

“I think Jack Kopp got a medal or award for people he saved that night. I sure do remember it, I was working in the Railway. It went up on a Sunday night I was at work at the time and remember standing on the western platform with another fella and seeing the orange flames lighting up the night sky. We drove to the five ways and seen the Tatts going up,” Mark Venning said.

“My hubby is one of the firefighters on the veranda in this pic – he remembers the night quite well,” Donagh Archer said.

“Remember that night so well, standing (cooking) on the footpath outside the NAB, as all the good memories went up in flames,” Russell Murdoch said.

Other commenters fondly remembered evenings spent at the “best pub” in Gympie.

“Damn good pub that, many good memories. I was only thrown out once … not a pub for the faint hearted,” Sharon Parkyn said.

“Many many good nights and days in the only best pub Gympie ever had,” Michelle Tough said.

“Sure do remember. Very sad occasion – it was the best pub in town!” Sam Gilliland said.

“It was a sad night, used to love the Tatts,” said Sandra Gilchrist.