The woman believed to be Australia’s oldest publican has announced plans to sell her hotel – the “last pub in New South Wales” – and retire after running it for 40 years.
Mary Crawley, 93, has been behind the bar at the Tattersalls Hotel in Barringun, a tiny town one kilometre from the Queensland border, since 1977.
The remote pub, about 130 kilometres north of Bourke, plays host to a steady stream of travellers from both sides of the border.
The sale is being run by McKimm Real Estate director Adam Crawley, who is Mary’s grandson and who grew up in the hotel.
“It was a pretty unique experience growing up in a pub like that, hanging around with a lot of shearing teams and truck drivers. You get some pretty interesting yarns out of them,” Mr Crawley said.
“My grandparents bought it in 1977 and raised the last of their kids there. A myriad of the grandkids have lived there over the years. It was a family home as well as a hotel.”
The hotel is being sold with several extra buildings and is on 87 hectares. The hotel, on 87 hectares, is being sold along with several outbuildings.
Mary has been running the hotel since her husband died. Up until last year she was running it entirely by herself, and she has now decided to retire and move to Bourke.
“It got to the stage where she really shouldn’t be there by herself with how isolated it is. The family has got other avenues they want to go down, and she wants to retire and move into town,” Mr Crawley said.
The hotel offers much more than a place to drink too, with the site also serving as a meeting place for locals.
“There’s not a lot out there, so it’s a central place for everyone to have a beer and catch up,” Mr Crawley said.
While Barringun now has only four permanent residents, back before Federation it was a booming outback town with five hotels, a racetrack and a brewery. The Tattersalls Hotels, which was built in about 1884, is the last remaining of the original buildings.
There have been many memorable moments for the Crawley family in those four decades. Perhaps most memorable was a visit from Hollywood actor Russell Crowe who camped on the hotel’s large verandah and read Australian poetry to Mary.
In a 2015 article in the Good Weekend magazine, Mary said she and her husband, Bay, had decided to buy the pub after spending some years in Bourke. ”I was excite...
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