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Kytherian Biographies Project

James Corones

James (Jim) Corones was a colourful figure. His immaculate dress and noticeable charm marked him as different in the largely Anglo-Saxon bush township of Quilpie. He was born in Greece in 1895 and arrived in Australia in 1906. Eventually he joined his uncle and mentor, Harry Corones, who had established the Hotel Carones in Charleville. Jim made a huge impact on Quilpie by becoming joint owner with Harry of three hotels in the town. He arrived in Quilpie alone in 1921 but was soon joined by 20 year old 'young Harry,' his brother.

The hotel that Jim bought was a galvanized iron and wood structure known as the Quilpie Hotel. This was burnt down in the 1926 fire and in its place rising 'phoenix like' from the ashes was its replacement, The Brick Hotel, which still stands. Jim had immense faith in the prospects of the town and built his second hotel the Imperial in 1925. His third acquisition was the Club Hotel which he leased from 1934 and purchased in 1965. In 1992 fire claimed the Imperial Hotel destroying what was described as 'the best pub in Quilpie'.

When the Council transferred from Adavale to Quilpie the shire clerk rented a room at the Brick Hotel until new council chambers were completed in 1934.
franchise and built a pelton wheel which worked from the power of the bore water. He lit his hotels and Quilpie's main street at a cost of 6 shillings and 8 pence. As the town grew the shire council decided to build a power house to meet the town's expanding needs. Jim Corones surrendered his franchise free of charge and began using council electricity at considerable cost to himself.

Apart from his business dealings in the town he was a great supporter of social and civic life. He raised funds for the hospital, assisted Len McManus when his first grocery shop burnt down, and funded the local rugby teams jerseys, ensuring that they carried the Greek colours.

Jim Corones died on 4 July 1966 and a Greek Orthodox priest who had flown in from Brisbane conducted his funeral service in St Mathews Church. A large entourage of Greek friends and relatives including the Greek Consul, Alec Freeleague, who was also Jim's godson, attended along with 500 other people who had been touched by his life and his deeds. His funeral was the largest seen in Quilpie and he was buried in the Quilpie Cemetery.

Following Jim's death an icon of 'Our Lady of the Myrtle', the patron saint of the Greek Island of Kythera was installed in St Mathews Anglican Church by Vassilia Corones in memory of her husband Jim.

From, Lure of the Land
A Brief History of Quilpie Shire

Lesley Jenkins January 2001

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