HENTY’S only hotel is set to shut next month after unsuccessful efforts to sell it.
The Doodle Cooma Arms has been Henty’s sole pub since the Central Hotel, used for the film The Sapphires, closed in 2000 and became a bed and breakfast.
Doodle Cooma owner Paddy Hodgkin said he had been seeking to offload the pub for the past four to five years after having owned it since 2007 when he moved from the NSW far south coast.
“I’ve been working in pubs for 26 years and been trying to sell it and haven’t been able to,” Mr Hodgkin said.
“My wife needs an operation and we thought we would just make a decision.
“There’s been plenty of interest in it and I had it sold once but if fell through, it’s been fairly frustrating.
“It’s just the market and the banks, for whatever reason, are loaning only 30 to 40 per cent on pubs, so it’s hard to get money.”
November 7 has been earmarked as the final day of trading, however a community drive is underway to have the pub continue operating.
Town leader John Ellis said there were “plans in place to save the pub”.
“If it does have to close, I believe it will only be closed for a short time,” Mr Ellis said.
He said efforts were being made to have the pub continue through a co-operative model or private owner.
Mr Ellis said “the Henty community is too strong” to let the hotel close, pointing out how it had rallied to preserve hospital and nursing home services and establish a shared bank.
Greater Hume Shire deputy mayor Doug Meyer said the pub’s plight was worrying.
“It’s terribly disappointing because it’s a mainstay of the community,” Cr Meyer said.
“There is a group in Henty trying to look for a solution, everybody is chasing fairies I guess, but we would hope to put something together to meet the community’s needs.”
Mr Hodgkin said he was contemplating selling the Doodle Cooma’s five poker machines separately to the hotel.
The venue’s main competition in town is the Henty Community Club, but Mr Hodgkin said they largely catered to different markets.
The hotel trades seven days a week with meals served on three nights.
The Doodle Cooma Arms opened in 1889 with its name recognising Henty’s original moniker which was changed after confusion with Cooma in the Monaro.
Earlier this week, the member for Albury Greg Aplin announced the Doodle Comer Swamp Nature Reserve, south of Henty, had been declared an Aboriginal Place by the NSW Government.
It protects the site’s Indigenous heritage but does not affect the land’s ownership.