The famous Tiger-tinted Mole Creek Hotel is being sold by long-time owner-operators, offering a tourist magnet in Mersey Valley.  

Built 1907, the two-storey hotel is a prominent figure on a 6,475sqm site on Pioneer Drive. Initially built as a hotel, it was unable to trade as such for decades due to a clause in the title by the previous owner, Henri Reed, stating that no property of his “could be used for the sale or consumption of liquor until [it] had sold three times, with each owner having owned it for 25 years”.

In 1929, R. P. Furmage turned the building into a grocery and hardware store. In the 1950s he bought the freehold and set about trying to overturn the clause, so he could use the building as a hotel, and in June 1953 a liquor licence was finally granted.

Its picturesque location, 74 kilometres west of Launceston, is a tourism drawcard and home of the Day at the Creek Festival. Mole Creek takes its name from a local waterway that plunges underground and re-emerges in multiple places.

The pub provides public bar, commercial kitchen and two dining rooms, with external deck, serving a selection including highly popular home-made pies. There is a function room, large rear entertainment and leisure areas, and ten accommodation rooms plus a manager’s residence.

Mole Creek is one of the few last known sighting areas of the famous Tasmanian Tiger, thought to have been extinct since 1936 but still finding local legend. The Hotel has positioned itself as something of a shrine to the mysterious Tasmanian icon, courtesy of its intrepid Tiger Bar, and has enjoyed substantial media coverage over the years.

In 2008 Doug and Ramona Westbrook took the plunge into the Creek. Ramona had worked in pubs since the ripe age of 17, and coaxed her husband out of decades in real estate to become publicans.

“I took over the bar, she did the kitchen,” says Doug. “She said I was the worst barman ever.”  

The couple live close by, but after fifteen years have opted to sell up, offering either a long-term lease with favourable conditions, or the freehold too, for the right price.

Doug says the official reason is retirement, but he has no plans for rest and says he might go back into real estate, since he didn’t realise “how easy” it was compared with running pubs.

“I’ve got a few things to do,” he explains. “I’m only 75 … I’m too young to retire!”

The reluctant retiree regales of his time manning the Mole, recalling the likes of singer-songwriter and actor Jon English, who stayed at the hotel for his birthday each year and Doug says was “a total gentleman”.

“We’ve met some awesome people over the years.”   

The business and property are being marketed by Knight Frank’s John Blacklow, who believes it to be one of picks of the Apple Isle.

“The business is very strong, and proven over many years.

“With the current annual revenue around $2 million, it is highly profitable and has to be one of the best leasehold hotels in Tasmania.”

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