If the Isis Central Mill, which crushes almost one million tonnes of cane a year to generate an income of more than $30 million, is the lifeblood of the Cordalba region, then the local pub, the 105 year-old Commercial Hotel, is the ‘spirituous’ centre.
Perched on the side of a hill overlooking a sea of canefields, The Commercial is, sadly, one of very few genuine Aussie pubs left in the bush. Thankfully, however, publican Jock Gardner – a local who took The Commercial over in 1998 – respects his stewardship of this faithfully restored, 1894 rare Australian icon and warmly welcomes visitors to spend a night or two at this rejuvenated little gem of a place… ‘just a kilometre off the highway, but a million miles from the rest of the world.’
Just a 20-minute drive north of Childers, Cordalba, which is dominated by the mill, is a delightful little hamlet nestling in the hills just off the Isis Highway. The Central Mill is one of the few in Queensland to conduct tours which cover the entire operation from cane planting to the production of raw sugar.