Murchison Tavern closes as owner ponders future

Zoe KeenanGeraldton Guardian

It’s goodbye for now but not for ever as the Murchison Tavern temporarily closed on Sunday.

Bar owner Tony Rosser said it was a very hard decision to close the Geraldton business, which has been operating for almost 130 years.

He said the decision was made for financial, personal and practical reasons.

The local businessman was unable to say when trading would resume.

“The tavern is an old building and while we spent a fair bit of money doing up the kitchen 12 months ago there is still work to be done,” he said.

“We were recently given permission to develop an alfresco space adjacent to the art gallery. This will require some additional site development and we want to make sure we do a good job of that.

“We are also looking at how to develop the beer garden area out the back.”

Mr Rosser said the hotel industry had been struggling everywhere for a while.

“We feel we need to take stock and look at new ways to provide our patrons with an experience that will be profitable for all concerned,” he said.

“Internally we are looking at a number of new systems and business partners within the hotel environment to enhance the site.”

The Murchison Tavern has been operating since 1890 and was formerly called the Camel Bar.

Mr Rosser said there was no intentions to permantly close the “old girl” and promised she would reopen.

“We’re not sure when or what it will look like yet, but I guess that’s part of the excitement of change.”

Staff at the Murchison Tavern told the Geraldton Guardian they were upset at the sudden closure with only a week’s notice to find work.

All staff at the tavern were employed casually.

Mr Rosser said the tavern staff were excellent and he would do his best to help them find work.

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