Ale and hearty
from Mudgee, attracted 20,000 fortune-seekers and boasted 42 hotels, including the Prince of Wales, still one of the oldest buildings in a town that has 130 buildings listed with the National Trust.
There’s no questioning the loyalty of the regulars here. The Ellis family has owned the Prince of Wales for more than 30 years but, in 2005, the licensees they had leased it to shot through without warning, leaving the pub stripped. There was no furniture and no beer, so licensee-manager Rowena Ellis put a sign on the blackboard outside saying BYO chair, ashtray and beer’’. The locals turned up with folding chairs and Esky coolers and kept on drinking.
As a result of booming mining and tourism activity in Gulgong, staff numbers have grown from two to 17 in four years, guestrooms have been refurbished and seven motel-style units added.
The local pub trail also clinks to the frosty glassware of the Waratah, the Paragon, the Woolpack, the Federal and the Courthouse in Mudgee and, in Gulgong, the Post Office, the Centennial and the Commercial. Then there’s the Kandos in Kandos, the Old Cooyal Hotel in Cooyal, the Ulan in Ulan, the Lue in Lue, the Royal in Cassilis, and the Windeyer Golden Fleece in Windeyer. And the greeting is the same at all of them: Cheers, mate.’’ Rob Ingram was a guest of Mudgee Region Tourism.