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Freshly Renovated Pally Pub Reopens!

Beer back on: new-look Pally Pub re-open from the 5th of September, 2020

Part-owners (from left) Shane Taunton, Gary and Leigh Taunton and Bec Diprose. The new-look Pally Pub reopens September 5.

PUBS and roadside inns have been a mainstay of the Moree district since the north and north-west was first settled back in the early- to mid-1800s. These shanties were important stop-overs for travellers, drovers and bullock teams traversing the black-soil plains, and they were everywhere.

In fact, in 1864 there were only four buildings in Moree – and three of them were pubs.

By the 1880s there were about 300 residents in Moree, with another 5000 spread across the vast Gwydir region. But there was a pub on every corner, and plenty more planted in nooks and crannies across the district.

One that still stands proudly is the famed Pally Pub, despite a stop-start existence down through the decades.

The village of Pallamallawa was settled on four runs of land comprising 223,000 acres, consolidated by Andrew Blake in 1862 and named Bogimildi (later changed to Bogamildi).

Bogamildi was then purchased in 1876 by William Rutherford Scott and his son James Weir Scott and, with James’ siblings John and Enoch, the vast holding was developed.

In 1879 a license for the Pioneer Hotel near the site of the current village was granted to Edward Gwydir Pearce, who would be murdered five years later by local farmhand Jack Brady.

Around this time William Carver had the Richmond Hotel near Gum Flat and a little further east at Yagobie stood The Travellers’ Rest, owned by Elijah Maidens.

But it is the Pally Pub that still stands today – and after recent extensive renovations by current owners the plan is to keep the beer flowing for quite a few years yet.

When the Pally Pub was put up for sale in 2016, there wasn’t much interest in the iconic bush watering hole. Locals feared the worst when the then-owners began arrangements to downsize the watering hole.

However, a group of forward-thinking local farmers and business people agreed the pub was simply just too important to close.

Part-owner Bec Diprose said locals saw the imminent closure as “the beginning of the end of Pally as we know it”. “The pub is central to our community – and the district – and is a meeting point for everyone in the area,” Bec said.

In late 2016, Bec and her late husband Anthony (the instigator of the purchase), Gary and Leigh Taunton, Shane and (soon to be) Jess Taunton, and Stuart and Lyndall Tighe banded together and purchased the historic landmark.They officially took over in January, 2017 and rebranded the old weatherboard building as the Pally Pub.

Soon afterwards a painter, carpenter and interior designer were contracted to begin a long-term makeover, which included the refurbishment of four of the six existing motel units. Sixteen “donga-style” units were added, all designed for single-person accommodation.“The single person accommodation project took considerable time, so we decided to start the process of working in the background on the pub renovation plans,” Bec said.

More than 12 months later – and with as many plans and drawings – a grand-plan for the Pally Pub came to fruition. A sports bar, gaming room, lounge bar, beer garden, bistro and kitchen, children’s indoor and outdoor play areas, a room for functions and meetings and a huge grassed area now completes the Pally Pub.

“The secure, family-friendly, grassed backyard is our biggest asset,” Bec said.“It is in this space that our kids can play footy, cricket, gymnastics and tag together as a community."

“Parents can enjoy a quiet drink and a few laughs with friends knowing their children are safe,” she said.“It is also an area large enough to accommodate a marquee or large private parties. It will be perfect for a game of two-up on Anzac Day or the Pally Pig Races, which were very popular last year."

“We incorporated an outdoor bar and barbecue into this area with these type of events in mind,” Bec said. The plan to renovate over a number of years was fast-tracked in early April with the announcement of COVID-19 shutdowns. “Within weeks of starting the renovation, we had an inside joke that we were recreating the Brisbane Regatta Hotel in downtown Pallamallawa,” she laughed. Pub regular Kevin Moore – the unofficial mayor of Pally – says the new-look watering hole is the pride of the village.“A few years ago it looked like there wasn’t going to be a pub at all at Pally, it was going to shut down, but a few of the locals got hold of it and now it looks a million dollars,” Kevin said.

“It means a lot to us locals to still be able to walk down to the pub and have a few cold ones.“A great group of people have taken over the pub and they’ve been locals for a lot of years – it’s a credit to them.“And it’s good for the community, real good,” he smiled.

Pubs in the Pallamallawa district are steeped in history. James McHugh established the Pallamallawa Hotel in 1868 before passing on the license to Elizabeth Carrigan in 1874.Charles Russell assumed the license in 1878 then closed the pub doors for good in 1883. In 1879 a second hotel and store was built by Edward Gwydir Pearce about one mile west of the present site of Pallamallawa. When the village’s current site was surveyed and land lots released in the early 1880s, a new hotel was built on Bingera Street and the name Pioneer Hotel was transferred to the new building.The existing building still operated as a hotel, meaning there were two pubs within one mile of each other for several years.

Charles Boughton Senior was Pioneer Hotel licensee from 1883 until 1891 and was followed by a succession of owners.On January 4, 1922 the Pioneer Hotel, as well as several other buildings at Pallamallawa, was destroyed by fire. The licensee at the time was Ernest Charles Cavanagh. Ellen Matthews acquired the site, and the license and a de-licensed hotel building at Ashley was taken down and rebuilt at Pallamallawa. The Matthews family operated the hotel for several years then the license was transferred to Matthew McLaughlin.

When the depression took its toll on the district, the Pioneer Hotel license was surrendered and the building was sold and re-erected on a district grazier’s property.

In 1948 a “community hotel” in the village was proposed by the Pallamallawa Progress Association however approval by the Boolooroo Shire Council was not forthcoming.Pallamallawa went pub-less until the Golden Grain Hotel was constructed in the early 1960s and it is this building that has morphed into the Pally Pub after an incredible makeover by its new owners.

The completely transformed Pally Pub, now managed by licensee Mick Hazell, officially opens Saturday, September 5 with a “space” for everyone.

“We are sure everyone will agree the Pally Pub will, most importantly, live on to see another day for the local community but also for many families, friends and people who travel throughout north-western New South Wales,” Bec Diprose said.

Originally posted by Deluxe Cafe Moree. Author: Bill Poulos.

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