The Smiths say goodbye to their thriving Australian Hotel, ending decades of their dedicated operation as they hand the reins to new locals Andrew Carson and family.
Glenda and Gary Smith have owned and run their stately 1909-built Hotel overlooking main road Byron Street in Inverell for around forty years.
One of just four pubs in town, on a big corner lot, it has traded consistently in recent years.
Inverell is largely an agricultural town, seven hours’ north of Sydney, inland from Grafton. It provides amenity and vital services for a large region, taking in Namoi, New England and the Northern Tablelands, with local population surpassing 16,000 people and only a few pubs.
Andrew Carson is a former Rugby and League player, pulling on the jersey for the Parramatta Two Blues, before heading to England to play Union in Sheffield and League in the north of England.
Until the end of 2018 Carson and wife Sarah operated the Rylstone Hotel, 440 kilometres to the south, where over time he found himself president of the business and tourism group, president of the local food festival, president of the local liquor accord, president of the chamber of commerce, and actively involved with the touch football competition.
Taking the keys to the Australian freehold going concern for circa $2 million, Carson has brought Sarah and two-year-old daughter Harriet to Inverell, where he has the same plans to be an active ‘local’.
“I will be looking to do something similar here, get involved in everything as much as we can,” he says.
Inverell boasts a strong football presence, with Rugby, League and AFL clubs, and Carson expects to offer up his experience.
On the new home, he says time spent travelling has honed what they want at the Aussie, and in the short-term it doesn’t need much.
“It’s got a good base. They’ve run it well for many years,” he offers.
“It will always be a place for good food, good live entertainment, great family atmosphere … we know that that sort of stuff is important.”
The sale was brokered through HTL Property’s Xavier Plunkett, who notes it was a favourable result for the retiring Smiths.
“Whilst it was very hard for the previous owners to part with the property, after it being with them half of their lives, ultimately they were very happy to pass the reins to a young couple who are looking to immerse themselves in the town as community publicans.”