TARRAWINGEE’S only pub is still feeling the impacts of major flash-flooding in the lead-up to Christmas with the Plough Inn’s owners being forced to shut the kitchen and reduce bar opening hours.
The owners have experienced ongoing issues since the flood and the follow-up January heatwaves with a recent gas leak in the kitchen prompting the decision to shut it down until major repairs are carried out.
Mick Wilson, one of the five part-owners of the pub which was built by his great, great grand-father, Hopton Nolan, said the bar would only open Thursday, Friday and Saturday during the rebuild.
“Unfortunately because it was a six to eight hour flood, the walls in the cellar shifted, and they are support walls for the building,” he said.
“It is a massive job and we’re obviously shattered, but it’s one of those things you can’t control.”
Due to the cellar walls being made from quarry stones, they will need to be replaced one by one in the rebuild with geotechnical engineers being brought in to assess how the pub can be fixed.
With the restaurant area, capable of seating up to 80 people, being unable to operate at full capacity since the pre-Christmas flood the owners have endured a major hit to their business.
The pub’s 20 staff members, who are mostly casuals, will be affected by the shutdown, but some have picked up work at the nearby Everton pub.
A further complicating factor is that any repair works need to be approved by Heritage Victoria and carried out by builders registered by Heritage Victoria.
“Best-case scenario is in three to six months we will be fully open again,” Mr Wilson said.
“Worst case possible will be 12 months or longer unfortunately.”
Mr Wilson, Matt Sammon, Jonathan Koop, Hayden Sharp and Andrew Donald bought the lease and business from the previous lessee in January 2017.
Three generations of Nolans have run the pub including Mr Wilson’s grand-parents, who had nine children including his mum Toni and uncle Mick, a North Melbourne 1975 VFL premiership player