Shamrock changes hands
END OF AN ERA AS BROWN AND O’DWYER FAMILIES HAND OVER NUMURKAH HOTEL KEYS TO NEW OWNERS
It was the end of an era at Numurkah’s Shamrock Hotel yesterday as the Brown and O’Dwyer families handed over its keys, ending an association of more than 50 years.
When ‘‘old’’ Fred Brown and his wife Agnes bought the Melville St hotel in the late 1960s their son Fred Jr was just 20 years old and working as a barman.
“The population then was mostly soldier settlement farmers. It’s changed a bit since then,” Fred Jr said.
Over a 30-year period the leasehold and freehold were sold and repurchased several times by the Browns. It has been run by the Brown and the O’Dwyer families since 2003.
What hasn’t changed is the traditional family atmosphere of the place.
Fred Jr’s son-in-law Chris O’Dwyer said it’s still a place to catch up with mates and talk footy and cricket, play darts or snooker and for families to meet for meals and celebrate milestones.
“It’s been a real hub for townspeople — they’ve made it their own,” Mr O’Dwyer said.
New owners Craig and Karen O’Gorman come from the Mornington Peninsula where they ran bottle shops and hotels for more than 40 years.
Mr O’Gorman said he and his wife spent months searching Victoria for the best place to settle down and run a pub.
When they met Fred Jr and the two families, and saw Numurkah, they were sold.
“We’ve looked at pubs in Kyneton, Ballarat, all over the place and I reckon this is one of the best in Victoria,” Mr O’Gorman said.
“It’s absolutely spotless. They’ve got great food, they support the footy and get involved in the community. There’s not many like this place,” he said.
He said the deal was done with a handshake.
“Fred is old school — he even put in a COVID-19 clause which means we’re not paying full rent during lockdowns. We know other people who are still backpaying their rent,” he said.
Mr O’Gorman said he had no worries about taking on a country pub during a
pandemic. “Some people have said we’re crazy, but we’ve owned six hotels and this is the right place. Numurkah even has five banks — how good is that?”
The Shamrock Hotel still operates the bottle shop and offers takeaway meals during lockdown.