• Michelle Watson said she endured racism at the Marlborough Hotel. (Facebook )Source: Facebook
A family has allegedly been told by a worker at a central Queensland hotel that it could not use its toilets because "blacks have to use the public toilets down the road".
Brooke Fryer

26 Feb 2020 - 1:45 PM  UPDATED 26 Feb 2020 - 1:45 PM

Everyone agrees that Michelle Watson, her son and her nephew visited the Marlborough Hotel in central Queensland on Monday. According to Ms Watson, they expected to stretch their legs after traveling around 230 km from Mackay and buy some lunch.

But as to what happened next, accounts differ.

With intentions to order food and drinks, Ms Watson asked a man - who she described as a large build with tattoos - where the toilets were for her boys to use.

“We wanted to have a little rest stop and re-fuel, plus we were busting to use the toilet,” she told NITV News.

Ms Watson described the response she received as “shocking”.

“He said, ‘No, blacks have to use the public toilets down the road,'” said Ms Watson.

Momentarily stunned by the man's reply, Ms Watson and her boys left the hotel and headed towards the public bathrooms.

“I didn’t want to make a scene about it,” she said. “For me it was more of a shock and I wasn’t expecting it. I didn’t have a reply at the time.

“I can’t believe that someone would still say that. It was so blatant and for me, worrying, that these young boys are still growing up in a world that still does this.”

A sign on the door of the hotel bathrooms states that the toilets are for hotel patrons only and that "public toilets are located 100 meters down the road in the Lions Park next to the swimming pool”.

Ms Watson told NITV News the response to her request to use the amenities before buying lunch was worded very differently.

A female worker at the hotel told NITV News that the business was “deeply saddened” about the accusations made against it.

“Everyone here knows we are not a racist family or business… we are a small family business and we would never say something like that,” she said.

“There was no mention of anything to do with race or racial prejudice when speaking with her.”  

A statement on the hotel's Facebook page said the comment that the male worker made was, "100 meters to the left". 

"Marlborough Hotel appreciates all the support already given and will continue to welcome all locals, travellers, friends and family," the statement said.

Ms Watson said she kept the alleged response to herself when her son and nephew asked why they wouldn’t be eating at the hotel.

“One thing I’m very conscious about is that young Aboriginal boys are very easy to influence. I don’t want them to have hatred towards anybody. I just said they were rude,” she said.

Instead, they opted for take-away food at a service station down the road before continuing on their trip to Rockhampton and Brisbane.

“The young man at [the service station] said there are often complaints about the male hotel worker being rude and grumpy,” said Ms Watson.

Ms Watson also said she intends on submitting a detailed complaint about the experience to the anti-discrimination commission.

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