26 March 2024

Henty on the hunt for a new hotel head honcho

| Vanessa Hayden
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The Doodle Cooma Arms in Henty is up for sale for $995,000. Photo: McDonald Hospitality Brokers website.

Henty is on the hunt for a new hotel owner, with the town’s only watering hole up for sale.

The Doodle Cooma Arms closed its doors in February and is now on the market through McDonald Hospitality Brokers for $995,000.

The hotel, built in 1889, has changed hands several times in the past decade. Its last incarnation saw a significant refurbishment, turning it into a sleek and sophisticated hotel with 10 stylish accommodation rooms.

For new owners, this means all the hard work has been done. It is now up for freehold purchase with vacant possession.

This will mark the fifth time the Henty pub has changed hands in recent years, after also being sold in 2016, 2019, 2020 and most recently in February 2023.

In 2017, the pub received some considerable improvements under the guidance of local builder Josh Corrigan, who had bought it with his wife, Tania, ”at the final hour” before an imminent closure.

More than handy with the tools, the Corrigans also carried out substantial renovations and set the pub on its path to bigger and better things.

Belinda Anderson, the chief executive officer of the Henty Field Days, said the pub could be a gold mine for the right person.

“It is being missed and the sooner we can get it open again the better,” she said.

“It will be great for there to be somewhere again where the kids can run around the beer garden while mum and dad have a meal.”

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Belinda said the hotel played a vital role in hosting the set-up and pack-down crews for the Henty Machinery and Field days – the biggest event of its type in the Southern Hemisphere and one that attracts 60,000 visitors over its three days.

“The pub is booked out solidly for about five or six weeks during September and October because we have the tent crews, who come for weeks before and weeks after, who usually stay there,” she said. ”During the week of the event, it’s used by exhibitors.

“I think if you could afford the asking you’d have a great time. It is a pub where you could walk straight in and start trading. You don’t have to do a thing, they’ve done all the hard work.

“It could be an absolute gold mine for the right person.”

The McDonald Hospitality Brokers sales advert promotes the pub as an “exceptional modern turn-key Australian hotel opportunity” and says you would “not find a better inspection in country NSW”.

It describes the hotel as the “absolute heart of the community” and ideally situated on the busy Olympic Highway arterial route.

It states there are multiple income streams across the bar, bistro/dining, pizza bar, functions, herb garden, commercial kitchen with independent pizza kitchen, plus a spacious beer garden with powered bandstand and an oversized undercover area at the rear of the building.

“All the hard work has been done here with a comprehensive refurbishment of the hotel in 2017 and further enhanced by significant capital expenditure across plant and equipment upgrades in 2023,” the ad says.

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Belinda admits the townspeople are missing the ability to dine out at the pub or order a takeaway pizza.

“We do have very limited eating options in the town of an evening and I don’t believe the community club is open every night – the only other place to get takeaway is the Shell servo,” she said.

“People are missing the pub and the sporting clubs are missing having somewhere to have a beer after a hard day at sport.

“I think the town had high hopes when the new owners came in and there was going to be a new restaurant, and by all accounts the food was very good. It wasn’t cheap but nothing is anymore.

“There is a load of potential for new owners.”

What’s in a name?
How does one come up with a name such as the Doodle Cooma Arms?

Well, the region was initially known as ”Dudal Comer”, which translates to ”Sweetest Water” in Aboriginal language, according to Wikipedia.

The first property station in the district adopted this name and the village of Henty was also originally called ”Doodle Cooma”.

In 1886, the post office changed its name to Henty to avoid confusion with Cooma in the Monaro district.

The town’s new name was inspired by the Henty family from Portland, Victoria, and Launceston, Tasmania. Henry Henty had leased Round Hill station north of Gerogery (south of Henty) in the early 1860s.

Around 1868, many families of German extraction trekked from South Australia along the Murray River, eventually settling in the Henty district. In 1880, the main railway line from Sydney to Albury passed through the settlement.

Nearby wetlands are still referred to as the Doodle Cooma Swamp, and they cover 20 square kilometers and serve as a breeding area for water birds.

McDonald Hospitality Brokers was contacted for further comment but declined the opportunity.

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