The iconic Wynyard Hotel will next week close its doors after more than 130 years of quenching the collective thirst of Tumut, but there are hopes its prime location in the centre of the main street will lead to a reincarnation, if not as a pub, then as a retail hub, restaurant or accommodation house.
Efforts to sell the pub as a going concern have failed to secure a deal, leading the owners to sell off the poker machines, and now, put the building up for auction.
The liquor licence will go with the building, should the successful buyers want it.
The auction, being conducted by Elders Real Estate, will take place on site November 9. The building sits on 1973m with on-site parking and includes the hotel premises, renovated kitchen, indoor and outdoor areas, three-fully self-contained flats and 17 accommodation rooms upstairs.
The pub has been owned by Julie and Bruce Graham for the past 13 years, who were joined more recently in the business by Ray Green.
All are departing the hotel for personal reasons, Julie noting she is, simply, ready to retire.
As for what will happen with the building, realtor Mark Magann believes its prime location in the heart of the CBD will ensure the auction attracts interest.
“There’s the opportunity for a retail development; backpacker accommodation or as a restaurant,” Mr Magann said.
“By offering the liquor licence, there is also the opportunity to continue on as a pub.
“There’s a lot of different options with a building like that, in a location like that. It’s a decent-sized parcel of land.”
The hotel has a rich and colourful history dating back to the 19th century.
The site was originally used by Martin Tuohy as a general store from 1860. In 1875 Mr Tuohy constructed another building, which he used as a general store, and a second store operated by Mr Corcoran as a fancy repository.
Tuohy soon set about enlarging the building with the aim of adding a hotel business, but it wasn’t until the 1880s that a hotel was opened, by a Patrick Tuohy.
It was the fifth pub in the town within a short distance, joining the Commercial, Woolpack, Royal and Oriental.
Patrick Tuohy sold the hotel to a Mr FJ Chidgey in 1890, the first of a host of owners and publicans over the years, among them Ted Maher, who took over in 1920.
He was only there a year, but significantly, donated the famous Maher Cup, which would go on to become the most prized trophy in country rugby league.
More recently, Pat Knight, who had worked as a bar attendant for many years, purchased the hotel in 1987, running the pub with her sons, who in turn turn sold the hotel to Bruce and Julie Graham, and Julie’s brother, David Burt.
Julie and Bruce would soon become the sole owners, up until Ray Green returned a couple of years ago to join the business.
The hotel has undergone an array or refurbishments and improvements over its long life, beginning back in 1900 when thirteen rooms were added .
Walter Fowler, who ran the hotel at various times between 1929 and 1960, added a balcony, hot and cold water, lockup garages and electric lighting, in 1940.
In more recent times, the Grahams undertook various upgrades, to the outdoor area, accommodation rooms, kitchen and toilets.
“We’ve spent more than a million dollars on the building,” Julie noted. “Whoever gets it is getting a good building.”
The pub is slated to close Saturday, October 22, but the Japanese restaurant that operates out of the building will remain open for the time being.
The Wynyard is the second licensed premises in Tumut to close in the past couple of months. Last month, the RSL Club shut its doors for the final time.