Coburn Hotel open for business
Saturday, 5th December, 2020
By Annette Northey
Coburn Hotel and the town of Cockburn, just 45 kms south of Broken Hill, has been thrown another lifeline with the arrival of an adventurous nomadic couple who are working their way around Australia.
Lindsay and Heather Drust answered a call on social media for a manager to re-open the Coburn Hotel, after the community voted unanimously for the Cockburn Progress Association to put in paid managers (hotel and post office) for three to six months.
They were both born in Broken Hill and lived here until they married in 1974.
Their current home address is in Mooroopna, Victoria, but they have not lived there for some time after heading off in March 2019 on part two of their Nomadic Adventure in a Traveller Caravan.
Prior to that, they spent 16 months in Western Australia, the Northern Territory and South Australia.
Over the past 21 moths they have undertaken a variety of volunteer jobs in both NSW and Queensland and were happy to take on this assignment as they had spent a few weeks helping out at the hotel in 2018.
“After a short discussion we decided to apply as we knew it was something that we would both enjoy.
“There is also the added bonus of having family in Broken Hill and on surrounding properties.
“That got us to where we are with plans to help this small community in any way we can while our adventure continues,” Lindsay said.
Lindsay said he and his wife have been engaged to manage the hotel for six months and have been in Cockburn since November 8.
Owner Ryan Esam handed it over to the Progress Association to operate out of three years ago, and the pub has since served as a hotel, post office and hub of the community.
At a public meeting held early in October, residents agreed that the Progress Association hold its AGM in six months? time to vote in new officers and discuss any ideas put forward through expressions of interest for ideas on the best way forward for the town.
With an ageing committee, the Progress Association is looking for new blood and ideas to inject some life into the town, which they believe has enormous potential.
“We opened the hotel a week after we arrived; we just got going and then COVID come along and we had to shut down again for three days, and we?ve have been open again since last Sunday,” he said
“Ryan is working through a marketing program, and I think the lease to the Progress Association is coming to an end and they?re trying to work out what to do with the place then,” Lindsay said.
“Part of the marketing program is trying to develop where it goes and how they might manage it into the future.”
Lindsay and Heather have been looking at ways to get people to patronise the hotel.
“We’re talking to car clubs and bike clubs and other groups in Broken Hill at the moment to try and attract them out here with things like Sunday functions with music, etc.
“We’re trying to bring the people in, especially from surrounding areas - farm workers and station workers, and get them involved.
“There’s a big hall near the campground - and we’re trying see if some people would be interested in coming in and setting up there for the weekend.
“There’s the Rest House down there that’s got further accommodation in it too,” he said.
Unfortunately, because of COVID, some of the bike and car clubs aren’t operating, so it might be January before they can get down here, Lindsay said.
Because the place has been closed since the end of March, Lindsay said they?re trying to get word out there that the place is open again.
The pub is open six days per week and the kitchen is open to serve meals as well.
“We do lunches from 12 to 2pm and evening meals are served between 6 and 8pm.
Opening hours are from 11am to 8pm weekdays (except Wednesdays); and 11am until late on Fridays and Saturdays, Lindsay said.