Toolangi is the home of the late C.J. Dennis, the author of The Sentimental Bloke, Jim of the Hills, The Glugs of Gosh, Rose of Spadgers, The Singing Gardens and Ginger Mick, to name a few. His house has long since burned down, but his gardens remain and the tender care of Jan and Vic Williams, surrounding their Tea Rooms.
The Toolangi Tavern has an interesting history. The former Toolangi Hotel burned to the ground in 1975, and in an ironic twist of fate, while the building was totally destroyed, the locals saved the beer. For weeks afterwards the locals would gather under the trees at the old pub site, and assist in depleting the stocks of “that rich amber fluid”. The former licensee decided not to rebuild the pub, and the town remained publess for decades.
In late 2001, Michelle Owen, who was then working as an real eatate agents representative, visited Toolangi to conduct a valuation, and stumbled across the former General Store, which had been closed for about 2 years. The store is situated just across the road from where the old pub stood. One glance told her the store site had potential, with its million dollar views of the forest. Michell’s partner, John, was quickly roped in to conduct searches of official registers (he teaches Property Law at RMIT University) and discovered with delight that the bottle shop liquor licence was still “alive”. Quick payment of arrears of fees and timely completion of paperwork saw that licence isuue to Michelle before the end of December 2001. The General store was reopened on Australia Day 2002.
Building work commenced in June 2005, and opening took place on 1st September 2006. Opening night saw the piper, who had piped a lament as the old pub burned, start playing a lament at the old pub site, quickly moving to a jig as he, the old licensee Terry, and Michelle, skipped across the road, leading the spirits that had slept at the old pub site for 31 years, into the new pub.