New lease on life for Sir George

EXCITING TIMES AHEAD: New owners of the Sir George Tavern, Jugiong Kate Hufton and Liz Prater plan to re-open the pub by spring this year. Picture: Jennette Lees

A coffee at Jugiong’sLong Track Pantry for local girl Kate Hufton and her mum Liz Prater, who was living in Perth at the time, saw them ponder the future of thegrand old pub on the corner and the potential it had.

When a few months later, Kate saw a for sale sign go up outside the Sir George Tavern, she knew fate was speaking to her.

She was straight on the phone to her mum and the pair purchased the pub with big plans to turn back the clock and recreate it as a hub for locals and a drawcard for travellers off the Hume Highway.

Work began at the Riverside Drive site this month with the removal of trees out the back of the pub.

The pair are aiming to re-open the popular destination around spring this year.

Aware of the historical value of the property, Kate and Liz plan to keep the look and feel of the pub as close to existing standards as possible.

Both inside and outside will be freshened up with a lick of paint, the bar will be moved for practical purposes and structural issues will be rectified.

They are planning to add an artisan style bakery to the back of the pub and down the track refurbish the accommodation rooms upstairs.

Miniature goats and piglets will be kept on the property and no doubt will be a hit with city kids visiting.

With Liz’s background in landscape design and a huge outdoor area to play with, a warm, welcoming alfresco dining area will be key among their tasks and plenty of space for kids to play in keeping with a family-friendly atmosphere.

They are planning a gastropub style menu with an emphasis on good quality local produce.

Kate has a background as manager of a lamb feedlot but says she is looking forward to the challenge of running a pub and sharing that experience with her mum.

“It is really exciting, there is a lot of work to do but we have a lot of idea,” Kate said.

“I can’t wait to see the doors re-open…that’s when the real work will begin!”

The pub is famous as being the oldestfamily-run pub in Australia with connections to theSheahan familysince 1845.

Kate, who has lived in the area for two and a half years and now calls the district home with husband Charlie, and Liz are respectful of this heritage and have been using old photographs of the pub as a basis for refurbishing it.

Builders will be onsite from February with anyone visiting the village set to see a hive of activity.

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