One of the true icons of the outback has rocketed to the market like the Interceptor – the reigning bush pub of NSW and setting for Mad Max 2, the Silverton Hotel.
Silverton is classic red earth country, over 12 hours’ drive west of Sydney, beyond Broken Hill, almost on the South Australian border.
It was famously the site where a group of miners gathered for a beer, going on to create Broken Hill Proprietary (BHP).
In 1981 Silverton was where the sequel to the 1979 cult classic Mad Max was filmed, with its sweeping horizons and desolate landscape emblematic of the dystopian story of marauding road warriors. A replica of Mel Gibson’s Interceptor sat out front of the pub for years, before moving to Tasmania*.
In 2010 Peter and Patsy Price brought their lack of experience running pubs to town, taking over the iconic Silverton Hotel, drawn to the beauty of the area and history of the establishment.
Amongst other improvements, Peter was eager to capitalise on the film pedigree and created their own fuel-crazed vehicle to haunt outside, around the time the creators were heading back to Silverton to do the fourth and final instalment, Mad Max: Fury Road.
On the practical side, the couple have built seven air-conditioned accommodation units and a thriving business serving “good old country tucker”, averaging over 1,000 meals a week, but Peter says some of the biggest action has been through their entertainment.
They orchestrated Opera in the Outback, and 2019 will be the second year of the pub’s music festival, last year bringing the likes of John Williamson and Adam Harvey, this year will see Troy Cassar- Daly, Catherine Britt and more. The pub also hosts the Sunday leg of the glamourous Broken Heel Festival, this year bringing 900 patrons on the day, and every March 1,000 people see the ‘St Patricks Recovery Day’, which has been running for over 40 years.
Silverton’s legend draws over 120,000 tourists from around Australia and the world and Peter says they regularly see Europeans through the summer, such as a Frenchman recently who said the town had been on his wish list since he saw a story on it in a magazine in Italy.
Recent years have seen the pub accumulate accolades, highlighted by taking last year’s AHA NSW Best Bush Pub, backing it up as finalist again this year. Peter says they haven’t reinvented the wheel.
“I think we just stayed with the basics, we identified it as a pub where people like the country feel, standing around having a talk and a beer.
“It’s kicking along well through the summer period now, from when we came here to what happens now.”
Peter and Patsy are now both in the 70s, married almost fifty years, and after nine years they have decided to wind down and continue to complete the house in Silverton they started almost a decade ago.
“We still do enjoy the journey, but I think it’s time to consider moving on. We’ve left our stamp on Silverton; we’ve loved it with a passion.”
Peter believes more can be done with promoting the Hotel itself, and thinks their music festival is headed for growth like at the Palace’s Broken Heel.
“To take it further, it needs some really good social media; that seems to be where it’s going.
“There’s a lot of life left in the old pub, and yeah, it will be sad one day when we part with it, but we feel pretty comfortable moving on and letting someone else take it.
“There’s a lot of good things happening out in the bush, and I just feel we’ve got something pretty special in the old Silverton pub.”
The Prices have listed their trophy asset with Manenti Quinlan’s Nick Butler, who did the distance to Mad Max country and speaks highly.
“What an amazing treat to send this to market. I stayed there the night, and even that experience was just brilliant, waking up and walking out into a step back in time.”
The pub’s notoriety and place in the story of the outback will likely see it sell on more opportunity value than numbers, despite solid trading.
The freehold going concern of the legendary Silverton Hotel is being sold via Expressions of Interest.
*The Mad Max 2 Museum in Silverton has two replicas of its own.