It may be one of the oldest pubs around, with a continual liquor licence for 165 years, but life looks set to change yet again for Jugiong’s popular The Sir George hotel.
Mother and daughter owners Liz Prater and Kate Hufton have put the popular pub on the market this week after running it for six years.
“The pub is humming these days so that’s probably a good time to sell it,” says Liz.
“It’s also about family time. My daughter, Kate, has had three children in five years so it would be nice to spend some more time with the family.”
Running The Sir George has been both a labour of love and a hard slog for Liz and her partner, former Perth restaurateur Tim Gamble.
“In hospitality, you put in the big hours, but it’s been worth it,” she says. “This place has become not just a great place for locals, but for people from all across Australia who know about it as one the top stopover hospitality venues located about halfway between Sydney and Melbourne, and Canberra and Wagga Wagga.”
Liz, who hails from Perth, fell in love with the hotel that was built in 1845 when visiting Kate, who married a local farmer. At the time it was in urgent need of some TLC, and by 2016 they began work on the hotel and surrounds, restoring it to its original glory as well as adding a modern touch or two.
A master craftsman was brought over from Western Australia to strip back additions to the main building and restore its original features, as well as adding a new dining room to the rear of the hotel.
Extensive landscaping was completed by 2016 when the restaurant and bar opened to the public. In 2018, work began on the new accommodation, with the 1845 stone stable block converted into luxurious guest rooms.
Today, the 8000-square-metre site features the hotel, the adjacent four-bedroom home, and an additional 1000-square-metre block.
A garden and interior designer, Liz made her mark on the property which now features an indoor and outdoor bar and restaurant, Curators Collective store, bakery, luxury accommodation, and a sprawling garden which is a popular wedding venue.
“It’s been an amazing experience, but it’s time for someone else to take over,” says Liz. “We’ve had some wonderful people come through working with us, but now is the time to move on.”
Although she is not entirely sure what the future holds, Liz says some travelling is on the horizon if COVID-19 restrictions lift, and perhaps another venture “down the track a little”.
CBRE Hotels is handling the sale of The Sir George and is calling for expressions of interest, which close on Wednesday, 27 October, 2021, at 12 pm, unless the property is sold earlier.