Doug Greensill with the designs for the new Kandanga Hotel, which is due to start construction any day now.
Doug Greensill with the designs for the new Kandanga Hotel, which is due to start construction any day now. Donna Jones

From the ashes: Kandanga Hotel revival about to begin

LOSING your home in a storm, flood or fire can be a traumatic enough event for anyone.

But imagine losing not just your home, but your business and livelihood too.

That's what happened to Doug and Carol Greensill when their hotel, the historic and beloved Kandanga Hotel burned to the ground in the early hours of December 11, last year.

And while this didn't happen in the midst of a storm, it did happen without warning.


Carolyn, John and Doug Greensill early hours of Saturday morning Kandanga pub burnt down. Renee Albrecht /Gympietimes
LUCKY ESCAPE: Carolyn, John and Doug Greensill in the early hours after fire destroyed their Kandanga Hotel. John says being fully insured and having the support of the community got his family through the ordeal. MPS75

"There wasn't time to get anything out," Doug said, looking back at the event.

Doug and Carol were lucky to escape with their lives and it was only through the quick actions of a neighbour who woke them in time to avert a tragedy.

Doug said the thing he was most grateful for was the support of the local community.

In the days immediately after the fire, people came from right across the Valley to help set up a bar in a storage shed at the rear of the property and erected a covered area in a beer-garden style to help lessen the sense of loss felt by the couple and the community itself.

"It's the community's pub really," Doug said. "To get this up and running it really has a lot to do with the locals, really."

While it was hard for him to lose everything except the clothes on his back, he was fairly pragmatic about the fire.

"That's just stuff, really. The main thing is we made it out okay," he said.

Doug is also thankful the pub was fully insured.

"Make sure you're insured. That's the main thing. You gotta have it. You think it's too dear but when it's all gone, it's not too dear," he said.

One of the hardest things Doug said he had had to deal with had been getting shoes and clothes that were comfortable because the new items did not have the same feel as the clothes he had worn in.

It has also been difficult living in a portable building they moved on to the site.

It's been a long process getting back on their feet but Doug said there was light at the end of the tunnel and has had plans for the new Kandanga Pub drawn up.

"We'll hopefully be in and up and running in six months. It's come out of council, all been approved and over the next couple of weeks we'll be fencing off the work site," he said.

Any day now the surviving Bessa-block shed will be demolished to clear the remainder of the site for construction on the new Kandanga Hotel.

It will be a similar set-up to the former hotel with large, open "bull-nosed" verandas on two sides of the public bar.

A major difference is an internal kitchen, set back from the air-conditioned bar.

The pub will also be constructed from heritage style "split-face" Bessa blocks and will have a couple of self-contained rooms so as to offer accommodation once it is built.

While it's taken a bit to get the ball rolling, rebuilding was always on the cards. "I'm excited. I'm really looking forward to it," Doug said.