Bellowing Bull off to new pastures
THE Bellowing Bull restaurant’s final moments arrived this week as contractors began hauling the iconic homestead off-site in sections.
McLeans Ridges house removalist Steve Bilson and his team have been hard at work loading the seven-metre-wide pieces on to semi-trailers to relocate them to another property on the Alstonville Plateau.
“We’re pleased to be a part of moving this one – the building holds special memories for many people, including us,” he said. “Some have even been married in it. And it’s not just the locals we’re talking about. We’ve had people come up to us this week from overseas saying they loved it and wanted to return for a meal.
“The boys have been knocking back bookings all week.
“The owner is restoring it as a family home nearby, so it’s great it won’t be leaving the area.
“We love recycling these old buildings rather than see them destroyed. The owner wants to put it back together correctly.”
The iconic Bellowing Bull was established at Wollongbar in 1974, quickly becoming a prominent landmark on the plateau and the local culinary circuit.
Its meat-heavy menu went down a treat in the early days, but the restaurant began to struggle as local eating trends shifted throughout the ’90s. However, it was still collecting awards up to the end – taking out the best steak category in the NSW Restaurant and Catering Awards in 2002 and 2007.
The last owner, Kingsley Martin, who with his wife steered the Bull through 23 of its 35 years, was happy to walk away quietly last month after a few celebratory drinks with loyal patrons.
Mr Bilson said the last two sections remaining on the site made up the original worker’s cottage before it was extended in the 1970s.
“This is how she would have looked in the beginning,” he said.
Transporting the seven-metre-wide loads has required plenty of planning, including Roads and Traffic Authority approval and police escorts.
“The police and RTA have been great. It’s a busy time of year for them, but they’ve accommodated us well,” Mr Bilson said. “It’s all going to plan so far. The weather has been very kind to us – you don’t want to be moving one of these things in a flood.”