Birdsville Hotel sells for $6million

January 15, 2020
By Alana House

Albury-based businessman Courtney Ellis and wife Talia have bought the iconic Birdsville Hotel for around $6million.

Co-owners Jo and Kym Fort and David and Nell Brook ran the pub for 40 years and put it on the market in 2018.

The hotel, a singled-storey sandstone building, was erected around 1884 for publican William Blair.

Brook’s grandmother bought the hotel in 1920, and kept ownership until the 1940s. Brook bought it back in 1979.

Birdsville is situated between the eastern edge of the Simpson Desert, the vast gibber plains of Sturt’s Stony Desert to the south and rich Channel Country to the north.

The town is famed for holding the Birdsville Races and the Birdsville Big Red bash.

“Talia and Courtney really understand the outback, and when you sell a business that you’ve invested so much of your life into, you really want someone who loves it already and will possibly do it even better than you,” said Jo Fort.

Ellis co-founded travel company Outback Spirit with his brother Andre 20 years ago and sold the business to Journey Beyond last year. Wife Talia Ellis has been an outback pilot since 2009 and will continue to fly her family to Birdsville when they officially take over the pub.

Birdsville Hotel new owners

The family often stop off in Birdsville for work and when travelling. They told ABC News they love the small town and had often talked about owning the pub.

“The long and short of it is, a few things fell into place and we decided to take the plunge and buy it,” the couple said.

Birdsville Hotel

They don’t plan on making many changes to the 130-year-old venue.

“Our focus will still be on making the experience satisfying for people who make the long trek out to Birdsville and I’m looking forward to talking to people and hearing about where they’ve come from and where they’re going,” Ellis said.

“The Birdsville Hotel is a significant drawcard, and we’re very respectful of that long, and proud, tradition.”

The pub noted: “Our current management and staff structure will remain in place. We want our customers to rest assured knowing that they can still expect the same cold beer and warm welcome when they next stroll through the doors of the old girl.”

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