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The passing of a Bush Icon

The passing of Mary Crawley, Australia’s oldest hotel licensee marks the close of a remarkable chapter in the history of the outback.

For 40 years, Mary held court at the Tattersall’s Hotel at Barringun, on the Queensland border.

In 2017, at the age of 93 she held the undisputed title of Australia’s oldest and longest serving publican and was a legend of the outback with her straight-talking wisdom and uncomplicated hospitality.

When she sold up and left the pub in 2017 Mary said she was leaving “with a broken heart”.

“After a fall I was relying on the help of my children, so I had to retire,” Mary said back then.

Mary and her husband Alphonse (Bay) bought the hotel at Barringun and moved there with their large family at Easter 1977.

Prior to that Mary and Bay had arrived in Bourke with their two eldest children in 1948, as Bay had been appointed as the Accountant at Hales & Co in Oxley Street.

Mary lost Bay in 1994 and she ran the pub with the help of her children until 2007, when her son Patrick and his family moved away.

She ran the pub single-handedly for the next 10 years, with some weekend help from her daughter Gerry and Gerry’s husband Peter.

Read more in the printed edition of the Western Herald.

Mary Crawley at her beloved Tattersalls Hotel, Barringun Photo: supplied

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