New owners for pub with no peer
THE owners of Australia's best known outback pubs will soon be making their last call with the Birdsville Hotel set to change hands for the first time in four decades.
Outback tourism operators Courtney and Talia Ellis are expected to finalise the $6 million purchase of the pub and motel by the end of the month.
Birdsville Hotel manager Ben Fullagar said it was currently business as usual for the pub which has been on and off the market for years.
He said the Ellis's will be a "really good fit" for the outback icon which was built in 1884 on the edge of the Simpson Desert.
"They have a lot of respect for the culture and history of the hotel," he said.
"It will be business as usual but I think they will look at dressing up the hotel rooms a bit and down the track have a look at the kitchen."
Mr Ellis co-founded the travel company Outback Spirit Tours with his brother Andre about 20 years ago and Ms Ellis has been an outback pilot. They currently live in NSW.
They will take over from Kym and Jo Fort have owned and operated the pub since 1980 and have been supported by graziers David and Nell Brook.
The award-winning pub was sold along with its motel accommodation of 27 guest units, workers' quarters, two detached residences and industrial land, on a 6580sq m block. There is also an aviation fuel supply business run from the hotel, close to the town's airport.
Knight Frank's Guy Bennett, who co-ran the latest international marketing campaign, said the transaction was "well advanced" and should be finalised by the end of January.
"It's a very unique Australian icon and we got a lot on interest from overseas and also locally which included a number of Australian household names," he said.
"It was a very diverse group interested in a unique asset with a lot of upside."