Iconic rural town finally gets mobile reception

Einasleigh residents say the safety aspect of having mobile service is phenomenal

Life & Style
Einasleigh may have mobile reception at long last but you still can't use your phone at the bar.

Einasleigh may have mobile reception at long last but you still can't use your phone at the bar.

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For the town of Einasleigh, five hours south west of Cairns, having mobile service will be a game-changer.

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Einasleigh locals will finally be connected to the rest of the nation, with the construction of the first mobile service tower in the town.

While residents are pleased to be moving into the 21st century, publicans John Green and his partner Bianca Brooker decided they wanted to keep the Einasleigh Hotel tradition alive of no phones at the bar.

"We wanted to keep the tradition of people coming to the pub and talking with other people and making new mates," Mr Green said.

"It's fantastic to see, whereas when you go to the city, no one wants to talk to you, everyone is on their phone.

"So we decided to keep the tradition alive where people actually talk to people.

"If you're caught in the bar on your phone, you're shouting everyone a beer!"

The couple have been the publicans for the past two and half months and say having mobile service in the area has been a long time coming.

"The Telstra boys have been staying at the pub here for a couple of days, obviously working on the tower and we first knew it was on when one of the locals called us on their mobile," Mr Green said.

After being in a blackspot for so long, the locals have welcomed the safety aspect of having mobile service.

"The safety aspect is phenomenal and I guess it's good to be able to join the rest of the nation," Mr Green said.

"It certainly has its benefits, a lot of travellers require their phones and for the locals it's definitely a safety concern as well."

Einasleigh Hotel owners John Green and his partner Bianca Brooker welcomed the news, but say they want to maintain the atmosphere of the 111-year-old pub, with a new rule of no phones at the bar.

Einasleigh Hotel owners John Green and his partner Bianca Brooker welcomed the news, but say they want to maintain the atmosphere of the 111-year-old pub, with a new rule of no phones at the bar.

The couple were supposed to take over the pub in April but due to the pandemic, all the pubs had to close, which Mr Green says was an April Fools' joke.

"So our pub had to shut its doors for two months, and could only open an hour a day for locals to get takeaways, so it was very frightening time," he said.

"Since then, it has been crazy the amount of Queenslanders travelling in their backyard, it's been fantastic and great for the community.

"There is mixed feelings about it, some old fellas don't like change at all, but on the whole, it's definitely a benefit."

Etheridge Shire Council Mayor Barry Hughes says a whole new telecommunication network operating out of the 4G power has just been commissioned and his council has praised the safety and social aspects of the installation.

"It's a great day, not only for the residents of Einasleigh but for the passing public who will have access to the telecommunications that has been installed there," Cr Hughes said.

"In regards to the benefits that will flow on from the new installation of the 4G tower, I guess the primary benefit will be around the safety issue and having access to updates and forecasts.

"Another benefit which is just as important is the social aspects and keeping in touch with the rest of the world."

Holidaymakers travel to the iconic town for the annual Easter at Einasleigh each year, which the town was unable to hold this year due to the health restrictions but locals are hoping it will go ahead next year.

"We definitely hope so, it's very hard to plan for that due to the ongoing restrictions, but everyone on the committee are working towards it, we are hoping to run it," Mr Green said.

Easter at Einasleigh race committee member Chantel Ryan says it will benefit families who want to know how a loved one is travelling and to ensure that travellers make it safely to their destination.

"Letting other know how you're travelling, especially for the younger people just over eighteen travelling out to Einasleigh with their friends for the weekend," Ms Ryan said.

"Safety-wise there's piece of mind in knowing you can get in touch with someone if you get into trouble on those isolated roads, which is very important."

Robert Rutten is the business development manager for the Savannahlander train service and says the mobile service will allow travellers to document their journey out to Einasleigh as they go, but will also come in handy in case of emergencies.

Since regional travel resumed, Mr Rutten said the Savannahlander had seen a stead increase in patronage.

"Twice a week we stop at Einasleigh and our passengers get off there, have a beer and have a wander around the thriving metropolis of Einasleigh," Mr Rutten said.

"Unfortunately, as times have developed, everyone wants to document their travel journeys on social media as they go and they can't do it in Einasleigh, because of no reception."

The Savannahlander's 1960s classic silver-bullet railmotor travels over the Einasleigh River heading to the township of Einasleigh. Photo: Savannahlander

The Savannahlander's 1960s classic silver-bullet railmotor travels over the Einasleigh River heading to the township of Einasleigh. Photo: Savannahlander

Mr Rutten said it was a surprise to the team at Savannahlander to finally have access to mobile reception for the first time out at Einasleigh.

"It was a bit of a shock to us, we suddenly got a call and it doesn't really happen," Mr Rutten said.

"In the past, we've had to go to the locals' houses to borrow their phone if someone needed to make a phone call in case of an emergency.

"It's been something the town has supported in terms of communication, but to have mobile reception, it's really convenient."

The story Iconic rural town finally gets mobile reception first appeared on Queensland Country Life.

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