In Property by Clyde Mooney

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Narrabri’s Tattersalls has sold to first-time freeholders, ushering a new era for a veteran publican and closing a door for another.

Ian Negline and family reside and own pubs and caravan parks in the Central Coast, as well as they did the Tattersalls Hotel, around 500 kilometres north-west of Sydney.

After successfully divesting the Caledonia Hotel in Aberdare last October, Negline subsequently listed the Tatts to focus more on affairs closer to home.

“Small communities, they need a link to the publican,” he said. “I think an owner-operator would really succeed well there; someone who could be a bit closer, and spend a bit of time there.”

The Hotel generates $3.2 million revenue annually across bar, TAB, gaming, bistro, accommodation and bottleshop, and the mid- 2-million price tag represented an extremely attractive yield.

After nearly 30 years in the game, managing pubs for an assortment of groups, Michael Chappell took on the leasehold interest with wife Megan McLean of the Royal Hotel at Oberon.

But eager to work toward their own asset, the couple sold the Royal last October, and have relocated nearly 500 kilometres north to Narrabri, this week taking the keys to the Tatts.

“The opportunity to buy our own freehold came along and we jumped at it,” reports Chappell. “I think hands-on management will connect with the community well. We’ll get behind the community – the local sporting clubs and different organisations the town has – and build the hotel up. It’s a very community-based town, and a very sporting town.”

Excited to be in their first freehold, Chappell says they see potential in attracting the families of Narrabri and look forward to the town’s future.

“We’ll make a few changes to the hotel as we go along. We’re going to go out the back – there’s quite a bit of room – and build a kids’ play area, and make it more family-friendly.

“It’s a strong economy here, with the wheat and the cotton and cattle, a couple of coal mines and the potential for coal seam gas – although I don’t know whether that’s a negative or a positive in the community.”

The Hotel was marketed by Blake Edwards and Xavier Plunkett of Ray White Hotels, who note its depth of potential in the farming heartland.

“The Narrabri worker base consists of a disproportionately high number of skilled industrial workers who service the local agricultural, coal seam gas, coal mining and infrastructure projects,” says Plunkett.

“Whilst the new owners would like to create a more local and family-friendly atmosphere in the bistro and alfresco dining areas, there is no denying the attractiveness of a consistent and reliable blue-collar trade in the drive-through bottleshop, the front bar and the gaming room.”