In Awards by Clyde Mooney

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Pioneering publican Steve Burns has been honoured by Southern Queensland Country Tourism with title of Best Outback Pub for his transformation of the remote Nindigully.

Found 500 kilometres west and a little south of Brisbane, the Nindigully Pub, built 1864, was long little more than a tin roof on the Carnarvon Highway, seating just 20 souls. 

Burns discovered Nindigully and its eclectic watering hole in 2002, making an emotion-based decision to buy it despite any real trade.

“There were about 20 locals who would drop in each night,” he told the Balonne Beacon. “More than the population of Nindigully at the time.”

Undeterred, the Burns’ built a home out the back and set about the task of getting Nindigully and the pub on the map. The Hotel’s once modest footprint now counts a beer garden that can comfortably seat 350 patrons.

Last week, the SQCT released its list of Queensland’s Top10 outback pubs, with the Burns’ homestead topping the chart. 

Steve says he’s honoured to have received the award.

“It’s a wonderful feeling. It’s great to be recognised. You just put yourself out there and keep doing the best you can.”

Steve Burns’ tips for a great outback pub:

  1. Look after the locals – they’ll be there when the tourists are away
  2. Embrace the tourists, particularly the nomads
  3. Love what you do and do it with passion. People can spot a fake
  4. Look after your staff
  5. Look after your family

And his top tip for someone thinking of life in the outback:

“Don’t buy a pub.”