A few kilometres off the Grafton road and hidden in the forest is a little dot of a town called Rappville. There are a hundred or so residents and of course being in the forest it all began with timber cutting. The pub was built in 1911 to a standard “Commercial Hotel” design. Apparently this design was used to build pubs all over the place. There was once a railway station opposite and railway tea rooms next door. The pub looked after the needs of ‘Commercial Travellers’ who of course travelled by train back then.
Pete the publican offers us parking space behind the pub or across the road by the railway line. We choose to park across the road because it is nice and flat with shady trees. Pete tells us that there are a few trains, the 6:18, 7:50 and at 2:00am the XPT which is so fast you’ll only realise is there when it has gone by.
Pete is larger than life and gives us and a bunch of leather clad weekend bikers a tour of the pub complete with tales of death in the dining room (3 possums) and a ghost upstairs. Oh and the banister that neatly fits your thumb and forefinger. It’s just something that you have to feel.
We return to the pub after dinner, it’s cosy the curtains are drawn and the locals are ribbing old Mollie for her love of bubbles. Suddenly the 6:18 rumbles past and everyone jumps up and waves toward the window then we all go back to watching the Chinese synchronised swimmers at the Rio Olympics. At 7:00 we all get thrown out ‘cos Pete and Jane want a good nights’ sleep as they’ve got seventy for lunch tomorrow. It’s a long time since we’ve been thrown out of a pub.
We get cosy back in the van and wave to the 7:50 freight train as it passes.
At 2:00am the XPT did whoosh past quicker than a flash but there were eleven goods trains too. Including one that stopped beside us while the XPT went past! Surprisingly we woke refreshed and had slept much better than we did in two weeks on the Gold Coast. It must be the clean air.