PROUD OF HER BUILDING: Criterion Hotel manager Kylie Jenner in front of the historic building.
PROUD OF HER BUILDING: Criterion Hotel manager Kylie Jenner in front of the historic building. Warwick Daily News

Criterion celebrates 150 and 100 years

STAND outside the Criterion Hotel's stained glass windows and you can almost visualise 150 years of colourful memories the city has been built around.

It was back in 1867 the iconic Warwick pub welcomed its first guests.

There were no cars queuing along busy Palmerin St, just a handful of people driving down the dirt strip in horse-drawn buggies. Boom years were just ahead and the sense of optimism was palpable. A railway, brickworks and flour mill would soon mark Warwick's place as a thriving settlement on the newly discovered Darling Downs.

Squatters had good reason to celebrate the prosperity of their fledgling outpost, perhaps over a ginger beer at the one of the first pubs in town.

This year, the Criterion Hotel business turns 150 and the present building will celebrate its centenary.

The significant dates were reason for a double birthday celebration.

Manager Kylie Jenner said the hotel's grand air comes from a long list of esteemed guests over the decades ranging from royalty to prime ministers.

"The Criterion has had many famous guests including politicians, the Indian cricket team and the Duke of Gloucester but it's ultimately a local community landmark loved by people in the region and that's how we plan celebrate the hotel's birthday," Ms Jenner said.

"We are very much looking forward to receiving feedback from Warwick residents on how they want to enjoy the Criterion's big event which will run from April to October."

Themed dinners, degustation evenings, high teas and ghost tours will give pub-goers a taste of the anniversary.

"At the turn of the century the hotel was considered one of the best in Queensland with 80 rooms, formal meals every evening and extensive stables that covered the entire area that is now the Southern Downs Council carpark," Ms Jenner said.

"We are expecting people to come from all over the state and interstate to join in the festivities because it has such a long history and so many people and their ancestors will have been part of that."

Ms Jenner expects the hotel's regular ghost tours that recently attracted 14,000 views on Facebook in just days to be a highlight of the celebrations.

"We can't keep the ghosts away but hopefully the dinners will be less of a hair-raising experience for those who don't want to get up close to our resident ghosts," Ms Jenner said.

Mayor Tracy Dobie will unveil a plaque to mark the centenary and Warwick priest Father Franco Filipetto will bless the property when the celebrations begin on the back of Australian Heritage Week.


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