Working to keep the pub doors open

By James Arbuthnott

From the bar stool to the drawing board, then off to the accountants — not all great ideas come from the pub, especially if you’re thinking about buying the place.

But Terry Malone and his friends may have just pulled off the impossible — they’re saving the iconic Lockington Hotel, and they have their community to thank for it.

“It's about five people who put their heads together to save the pub,” Mr Malone said.

More than 100 people from Lockington and district, between Rochester and Echuca, recently attended an information night to keep the doors open and the taps running — and hopefully much, much more.

“The accountants have advised us it's a goer,” Mr Malone said.

“It was a great relief. It was overwhelming to see the amount of people in the room and how much support we received on the night. And the phone hasn’t stopped since.”

Also joining the board is Lockington-born and raised sports journalist and TV presenter Brad McEwan.

“Brad gave a touching presentation to the audience which was right from the heart,” Mr Malone said.

The huge support for establishing a community-owned hotel has surprised and delighted those involved, who are now drafting documents to be sent to Consumer Affairs.

“People were asking about what the plans were and how they could invest in the Lockington Hotel. Some wanted to know what a share and a dividend meant,” Mr Malone said.

“But they were mostly about getting behind the pub, supporting the cause and keeping its doors open. We’ve had almost 100 expressions of interest from all different levels.”

“Lockington is a very community-oriented town and the overwhelming support by those who live here and even those who have moved away,” fellow organiser Sue Eade said.

“At this stage we hope to have enough money to go forth with accommodation too — but we're relying on those pledging to follow through with it.

“Until it’s in the bank, nothing is certain.”

Anyone interested in pledging to keep Lockington Hotel’s doors open can call Terry Malone on 0428 814 792 or Paul Weller on 0429 862 587.