In Legends by Clyde Mooney

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Laundy Hotels have been especially hospitable of late, helping one industry newcomer into ‘paradise’ and making another a millionaire.

Arthur Laundy’s operation took on the idyllic Tea Gardens Hotel in February of 2015, in partnership with Steve and Trish Rodgers as publicans, citing considerable development plans. But recent changes to circumstances have seen the management arrangement come into question.

Outgoing cinematographer, semi-legend of Sydney’s northern beaches and nephew to Arthur, Ben Hanson, was looking to enter the pub game with a friend and came to his uncle for advice on a run-down pub on the South Coast.

Growing up in Dee Why and Manly, the son of a baker and inspiration for Manly icon Ben’s Bakery and its freckle-faced statuette boy out front, Hanson was leaving behind a successful career as a sports cameraman. Further discussion on becoming a pub owner led to Hanson taking his wife, Emily, to look at the in-limbo Tea Gardens Hotel-Motel, where they promptly fell for the old brick pub on the water.

“He’s a terrific young bloke, very energetic, very keen, he will do very well,” Laundy told PubTIC. “He’s been working with me for several months, and everyone loves him.”

As a first operation, Hanson was not in a position to meet LVR criteria for the freehold going concern, which Laundy had agreed to sell for the buying price of two years ago.

“He didn’t have enough money, so we’re partners. I will keep an eye on him. Do my best to guide him,” said the veteran.

Taking over this week, Hanson has had Laundy key staff there to guide the handover, finding his feet before he, Emily and their 15-month-old son Flynn make it their own.

“It needs some TLC, but we just love it,” says Hanson. “We want to do it up, look after the locals, and turn it into something for everyone – a really family-friendly pub, with great food.”

As the only pub in the area, and boasting 21 accommodation rooms atop the gaming, bistro, front bar and bottleshop, the large operation holds a lot of potential as a destination in the Tea Gardens tourist region.

“We came and had a look, and just fell in love with the place. It’s literally one of the most beautiful places in the world,” says Hanson.

In further gold on the Central Coast, a regular and long-standing patron of West Gosford’s Settler’s Tavern, which Laundy group bought early last year, saw patience pay off to the tune of $1.54 million.

“The gentleman has been frequenting the hotel for many years, and for the last three years has been placing the same 10 numbers on Keno,” reports Laundy group’s Grace Redman.

“When all 10 of those numbers appeared in the jackpot earlier in the week, the lucky local became a millionaire overnight.”

Settler’s part-owner Nick Tindall said it was a great occasion, and that the lucky patron was throwing a party in coming weeks for customers and staff.

“We love seeing a bit of luck come to one of our good customers, and the entire hotel is in high spirits after a great win.”

Tea Gardens Hotel