Australian outback icon up for sale
A QUINTESSENTIAL, iconic piece of outback Australiana is on the market.
The world-renowned Daly Waters Pub, in the heart of the Territory, is looking for a new owner after Lindsay Carmichael and Robyne Webster made the decision it was time to look at retiring after 17 years of pulling beers and offering genuine outback hospitality to travellers from all over the globe.
Built in 1930 by Bill and Henrietta Pierce, the pub website says in the "past the pub has witnessed murders, shoot-outs in the main street, cattle stampeding through town and the odd drunken brawls.
"Station owners threatened to burn down the place or buy it and bulldoze it to stop the local ringers from riding into town, hence the old bath tub and rail to hitch your horse onto."
The lend continues with: "Today the only shoot-out is at the bar during Happy Hour and the only brawling done is between the gangs of Happy Jacks (local birds).
"Often late at night, if alone in the bar, you can feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
"Heavy objects sometimes go flying in the kitchen and it is not the chef. We believe it is Sarah, a lady who was murdered here by her husband, but he got away with it because he reckoned she was having an affair with the gardener."
Located 600km south of Darwin and 900km north of Alice Springs, the pub sits a few kilometres off the Stuart Hwy and is ideally located to capture tourists, commercial travellers and coach tours and also provides a great facility to cater for the local community and surrounding properties.
And capture the tourists it does: Lindsay said they came from all parts of the world.
"There aren't that many locals in the area so, as a business, you rely on purely tourism and we have had them from all over the world," Lindsay said.
That fact is clearly evident by the personal pieces of memorabilia that the tourist leave adorning the Daly Waters Pub walls.
"People come here with no real pre-conceived ideas because they see it on the TV or the internet.
"I have had them from all over say to me it is exactly just like what they saw on a TV program in Germany or somewhere like that."
In the 17 years that Lindsay and Robyne have run the pub, he said the biggest change he had seen in the travellers was the type gear they travelled with.
"The progression of people that come through here and how the way they travel has been amazing over the years.
"The change from the old caravans that used to come through in the early years to the fibreglass monstrosities they drive now is unbelievable.
"Over the years you spend a small fortune improving toilets and shower blocks and most of them now travel in things that have their own showers and (toilets). So you wonder if the upgrades were worth it sometimes.
Lindsay said while there would always be tough times operating in such a remote location, the tourism has grown over the years.
"During the past 10-12 years, when you look at the figures month on month, it just keeps growing: There has just been that continuous improvement in turnover in patrons, accommodation numbers and caravan numbers."
That hasn't happened by chance however: Lindsay and Robyne have continually improved the pub and park facilities and have continued to play a big hand in social events for numerous functions such as Variety Club bashes, rodeos and campdrafts and the Territory's only remaining B&S ball.
The proof in the pudding of the popularity of the pub is borne out in the staff.
"We always seem to be able to attract really good staff," Lindsay said.
"We generally get people asking us for jobs, not us looking for them.
"At the moment there are two Irish girls here that we sponsor, a Scottish lass, an English girl, a German girl and a Canadian bloke and his girlfriend who start work in a couple of weeks and another Scottish lad who starts in a few days."
"There is also a fair swag of Aussies working here."
And while he is looking forward to retirement, Lindsay said it would be hard to let go fully.
"It's hard to let go of these type of places because, you know it's just like your grandma … you look after her, you put her to bed, you make sure she's fed and she is looking after herself and she is tidy and clean and what not … it's just like treating an old lady.
"I am going to miss the lifestyle living out here: It's a laugh a minute.
"It's not even what you would call a one-horse town, it's got no horses," Lindsay said in his dry, laid-back way.
As for the secret to making a business in the self-proclaimed "whoop whoop", Lindsay said you needed to be relaxed and look after what you had.
"It's been a lot of hard work over the years but it's a lot of fun too."
For all inquiries contact the sole and exclusive agents from Ruralco NT: Steve Liebelt on 0412401507 and Andy Gray on 0438960047.