WHEN the McKenzie family lost the tender to run the Eureka Pool after 39 years, they thought all their bad luck had come at once.
But they were wrong.
In the 21 months since, patriarch Graeme McKenzie broke his neck in a fall during a Queensland holiday and, just last Sunday, a small rear room of their Eureka Stockade Hotel burnt down, damaging all of the kitchen appliances beyond repair and causing smoke damage throughout the building.
Graeme’s son Peter McKenzie said it was believed the fire was caused by either a faulty ice machine or a dryer stored in what was the hotel’s original kitchen.
“The pub shut at 10.30pm (Sunday) and when dad came in at 10am the next day to do the tills, he heard the smoke alarms going off,” Peter said.
“The fire had actually burnt itself out in just the one room. There was a cardboard box next to the room and it didn’t burn.
“We’re having to clean up but there’s actually no loss of trade.”
However, the fire has meant a brand new kitchen will have to be installed and the lounge area cleaned.
Luckily, the hotel’s famous Eureka Stockade mural painted by Queensland artist Rod Ramadge was not damaged.
“But it’s all just so disappointing,” Graeme’s wife Roly said.
The McKenzies, who have owned the Eureka Street hotel for five years and the Eureka Caravan Park for 41, had planned to relaunch their menu with new Melbourne chef Jason Gratton in the next few weeks.
The hotel’s bar area is still operating as usual.