More than 130 years of pub history continues to flow at Matso’s Eumundi, thanks to a collaborative approach between Sunshine Coast Council, popular boutique brewery Matso’s and architects Five Mile Radius to preserve the pub’s history.

The opening of Matso’s Sunshine Coast Brewery, in the hotel formerly known as Joe’s Waterhole, is the latest chapter in the long history of the hotel, which was originally opened by E.H. Arundell as the Railway Hotel in 1891.

During the 1900s the Railway Hotel underwent a makeover and adopted the new name Commercial Hotel. These first few decades saw the local pub survive through many tough times, including drought and a fire that destroyed the then two-storey pub, which was replaced with a new building a year later in 1925.

Most recently known as Joe’s Waterhole, the pub has a long and rich history in the local Eumundi community as a place that became a hub of laughter and good times. The classic Queensland pub’s most recent renovation has focused on retaining its heritage while showcasing the unique Matso’s identity.

Architects Five Mile Radius worked closely with the Sunshine Coast Council Urban Design and Architecture team to honour and retain the historic pub’s heritage while breathing new life into the venue.

Inside the renovated Matso’s Sunshine Coast Brewery.

Aussie pubs = cultural icons

The Sunshine Coast has nine heritage pubs dotted across the region. The Aussie pub is not only a cultural icon – for decades, pubs played an important role in contributing to the local character and look and feel of our townships. The people of the Sunshine Coast greatly value that our region is a ‘community of communities’ or a collection of townships, and the old pubs have, since the settlement of the region, continued to play a historic role.

One thing that may often be overlooked is that the pubs have been used for all sorts of social events and often had halls attached for dances, meetings and functions. These associations of gatherings at the pub still remain today. The original pubs were made from timber milled in the local area and often served as boarding houses for people on the way to Gympie to prospect for gold or to feed local workers and pioneering business people.

Eumundi Hotel 1900

Today, the heritage pubs play a very important role in placemaking. The community holds dear the often-prominent old buildings in the main streets of our country towns. These buildings play an essential role in establishing the local character of the town. Council’s Placemaking Team works closely with communities going through the process of co-creating a refreshed look and feel for our towns and villages.

As we redesign and reinvigorate our old towns and villages, we are mindful of respecting country character and any remaining heritage value in the towns. As more people choose to live on the Sunshine Coast, as our economy grows and our climate changes, we need to protect the things we value about our region today so they may continue to be available to future generations.

Eumundi Commercial Hotel 1926

What is sunshine coast design?

Sunshine Coast Council has developed the Sunshine Coast Design book to inspire and encourage quality, place-based design on the Sunshine Coast now and into the future. Sunshine Coast Design is a resource to help plan and design homes, buildings, parks, public spaces, streets and neighbourhoods on the Sunshine Coast. It achieves this by using a set of simple and accessible values and design principles.

Sunshine Coast Council’s architects welcome the opportunity to work with the region’s hotel owners and others who manage or own historic or iconic buildings on the Sunshine Coast. Our aim is to assist with the design process and help ensure heritage values are respected, enhanced and maintained where possible.

As more people choose to live on the Sunshine Coast, we need to protect what we value about our region so our natural environment and built form assets continue to be enjoyed by future generations. Sunshine Coast Design is part of a long-term Design Strategy and education campaign to help our community and Council manage the challenges of population growth, economic development and climate change so that the liveability of the Sunshine Coast is maintained and enhanced into the future.

It is an important resource and vision to help plan and design buildings, streets, parks and spaces that complement and enhance the natural environment. Ten design principles can be used in the design process to guide the design of buildings, placemaking projects, heritage and landscape projects to ensure they reflect the values of the community and are specifically relevant to our Sunshine Coast region.

The ten design principles developed by Sunshine Coast Design:

  1. Work with the local climate
  2. Create places that respect and incorporate landscape
  3. Bring our cultures, arts and heritage to life
  4. Capture and frame views and create vistas
  5. Strengthen and extend a network of green corridors
  6. Be inspired by the natural and built environment
  7. Create shady streets that put people first
  8. Create welcoming places that can be enjoyed by everyone
  9. Design places to be resilient and ready for change
  10. Create and add value

Our Council architects use these design principles when assessing development applications and reviewing Council projects to ensure the best possible built form outcomes are delivered for the region. In working with Five Mile Radius and Matso’s Brewery to consider the refurbishment of former Joe’s Waterhole heritage hotel in Eumundi, and to help them vision the most appropriate design for the proposed extension, it was necessary to consider a number of the ten design principles including:

  • 1: work with the local climate
  • 3: bring cultures, arts and heritage to life
  • 8: create welcoming places that can be enjoyed by everyone
  • 10: create and add value

The outdoor area at Matso’s.

We have led the way since the launch of our award-winning Sunshine Coast Design book in 2020 by incorporating the ten design principles in all Council projects and in providing design advice for new buildings, parks, placemaking projects and master-planned communities. In fact the design principles are used to guide any design project on the Sunshine Coast.

From small to major projects, design teams and consultants are encouraged to use the ten design principles early in the development and visioning of a project to ensure projects reflect the Sunshine Coast character and create the best outcome for our community.

Sunshine Coast Design provides essential resources to support the community in creating places and spaces that are intrinsically Sunshine Coast; that is, every project should respect the past and imagine the future, they should work with the climate, be green, relaxed and enhance the lifestyle and culture of this stunning region.

To find out more and discover how the Sunshine Coast Design Strategy was developed, check out our video on Council’s YouTube channel by searching “Sunshine Coast Design Strategy” or visit our website


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