The Small Town That Bought Back Their Pub

Town locals in Nandaly bought back their pub to keep the community alive

The town of Nandaly in north-west Victoria is made up of only 39 people. It’s easy to feel isolated in such a small town, so when the locals faced losing their one meeting place, the Nandaly Community Hotel, they did everything they could to reclaim it.

After the town’s publican passed away last year, the town faced the prospect of no longer having a meeting place.

In speaking to the ABC, local resident and co-owner Dione McGarry said, “We have mothers’ groups at the pub, tennis club meetings and Country Fire Association meetings – it’s our only place to meet.”

However, it served an even greater purpose. It was also offering the locals a place to socialise, and even a way to get counselling by chatting with each other. Whenever they are suffering from grain prices, the tough day on the farm, or the drought, there’s always someone there to listen.

“We have farmers and fire fighters that live here and when they are in high stress situations they are always offered counselling, but they always say, ‘That’s what the pub is for’,” said Dione.

The town locals banded together to reclaim their pub, so they formed a co-op and bought it back, even rejuvenating it with some much-needed renovations. They’re also planning on building accommodation at the back of the hotel, so they can eventually employ a full-time worker.