Conic Arl­berg Ho­tel is on the mar­ket

Mt Buller News - - NEWS - y RO AI ATOGLO

THE Arl­berg is for sale. Ne­go­ti­a­tions are un­der way.

John Perks and Carol McDon­ald have de­cided it’s time to move on to greener pas­tures.

To­day, the Arl­berg is a vastly dif­fer­ent es­tab­lish­ment from the one I grew up with.

So I de­cided to have a cof­fee with John and rem­i­nisce over his his­tory with the moun­tain and the Arl­berg in par­tic­u­lar.

John’s first links with Buller com­menced in 1978 when he and Neville Kay pur­chased Mans­field Mt Buller Bus Lines.

Six years later John took over the busi­ness, and also ac­quired Ski Centre Mans­field and the Mir­im­bah Store.

In 1987 John tried to buy Alpine Re­treat but for a range of rea­sons, it fell through at the fi­nal hur­dle.

Then in 1988 John formed a syn­di­cate through his re­la­tion­ship with Joe Puli­tano and pur­chased The Arl­berg, Kooroora and Arl­berg Mer­ri­jig.

Sub­se­quently MMBL was tran­si­tioned into the group.

He suc­cess­fully steered all busi­nesses but 1993 was a tough snow sea­son with max depth of only 40cm (with most of the sea­son be­low 20cm).

At that time there were 350 staff across seven lo­ca­tions spread be­tween Mans­field and Buller.

With mount­ing pres­sures the de­ci­sion to sell Ski Centre Mans­field (to the Aldinger fam­ily) and Arl­berg Mer­ri­jig was un­der­taken that year, and Kooroora and MMBL fol­lowed in 1994.

These were the days when Arl­berg was a rock­ing pub.

There was the huge main bar.

Nooky’s Restau­rant was al­ways in de­mand with great food and won­der­ful at­mos­phere.

Down­stairs was the in­ti­mate Cel­lar Bar, com­plete with pi­ano, where Billy Joel’s Pi­ano Man re­ver­ber­ated every night around 3am.

The Arl­berg was open till 5am and was party cen­tral.

How is this for a line up… Joe Camil­leri & the Black Sor­rows, Linda & Vicka Bull, Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs, Hoodoo Gu­rus, Hunters & Col­lec­tors, Painters & Dock­ers, Mark Sey­mour, and who could ever for­get Re­lax with Max?

There would be a team of 13 crowd con­trollers and the place would be jump­ing un­til 5am.

Some 1500 pa­trons would squeeze in - some sneak­ing in through guests’ bed­rooms - with an­other 500 queued up at the front door on Bourke Street.

In fact, to clear the crowd, John would of­fer peo­ple wait­ing in line a free taxi ride to Kooroora and free first pot. Dif­fer­ent times. Of course all this was ex­tremely drain­ing for man­age­ment and it be­came in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult to fill rooms.

So in 1996 the de­ci­sion was made to be­come a fam­ily en­ter­tain­ment en­vi­ron­ment.

The bar was re­duced by 800m2 and re­placed by apart­ments and rooms, all for the greater good.

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