One era ends and another begins at the Bush Inn

IT’S the end of one era and the start of another at Australia’s most historic country pub. The lease on New Norfolk’s Bush Inn Hotel changed hands at the start of this week, ending the decade-long residency of the convivial hosts, twin brothers Peter and Don Smith.

Nearing its 200th birthday, the hotel is set for a refurbishment to restore the Georgian building to its former glory. The hotel will be closed for about six weeks while renovations are carried out, but there will be a Sunday session to coincide with the autumn festival this weekend.

From noon until 4pm, the main bar and rear deck will be open, with $5 spirits and schooners available to help clear the remaining stock. Snacks will be provided but meals will not be available. This offer is while stocks last, and it will be cash sales only.

Built in 1825 and progressively enlarged over the next century, the Bush Inn was one of the early colony’s most popular tourist destinations, hosting everyone from the governor down. Opera singer Dame Nellie Melba stayed there in 1924, famously singing Scenes that are Brightest – the song written by composer William Vincent Wallace after his own stay in 1838. The hotel long held the iconic phone number New Norfolk 1, and the first long-distance call in Australia was made from the hotel in 1888.

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