READY TO SERVE: Prince of Wales Hotel owner Steve Longmuir and bartender Jacky Oosen were back on their feet shortly after Tropical Cyclone Debbie.
READY TO SERVE: Prince of Wales Hotel owner Steve Longmuir and bartender Jacky Oosen were back on their feet shortly after Tropical Cyclone Debbie. inge hansen

No cyclone too big for Prince of Wales

AS HE watched a business sign fly down the main street of Proserpine during Tropical Cyclone Debbie, Steve Longmuir knew he wasn't the only business owner the category-four system was tormenting.

On March 28, the Prince of Wales Hotel owner sat patiently in the hotel listening to the horrifying storm make its mark on the building.

"The main damage was a window which ripped off the rear of the bottle shop, which allowed water to come in,” Mr Longmuir said,

"The water made the ceiling in the bottle shop collapse.

"(The wind) tore off some of the back wall, the linen shute and exhaust hood off the back wall.”

But it didn't take long for the pub to reopen its doors - two days to be exact.

"We had a lot of people really caught short of everything and had no grog and I think they really needed a drink,” Mr Longmuir said.

"Even though the ceiling collapsed, we opened.”

Mr Longmuir opened the pub's bottle shop two days after the storm but it was a week later, after receiving power, when the rest of the hotel was up and running.

Despite being protected from other buildings on the opposite side of the main street, Mr Longmuir said he was concerned for the pub's front after the eye had crossed.

"It had the potential to get worse after the eye because it came from another direction. It came from the back at the beginning,” he said.

"I actually sat on a chair up against the double (sliding) doors at the front and they were bending in.

"I was like that for four or five hours.”

But that wasn't the end of it for the pub or its owner.

The next night the severe storm, which caused flash flooding, left the pub with more than an inch of water downstairs and more water damage upstairs.

"We used pretty well every towel we owned to try and soak up the water,” he said.

Two months after the system hit the region, Mr Longmuir said small fixes still needed to be done.

He said with many businesses in Proserpine still shut, he had opened the pub's bistro for breakfast from 8.30am Monday to Friday.

"Anyone can come in for a coffee and some snacks,” he said.


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