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Gidgee Guesthouse sells

Gidgee Guesthouse, the former London Bank, has been sold to Sydney-based investors. PHOTO TWH

Sydney-based investors, Tom Apostolakis and Khaled Kesra Haddad. Photo supplied

After almost a decade on the market, one of Bourke’s most impressive historical buildings will have a new owner.

The Gidgee Guesthouse, on the corner of Oxley and Sturt Streets, has been purchased by Sydney investors Tom Apostolakis and Khaled Kesra Haddad.

Tom and Khaled plan to renovate the building, formerly known as the London Bank Building, and replace some of the memorabilia and artwork lost in the Diggers on the Darling fire.

They also have plans to carry on the work of the current owners of the Gidgee Guesthouse, Chris Ware and Kristie Ware-Smiles who have run the business for the past 20 years.

The Guesthouse isn’t the only investment Khaled and Tom have made in Bourke – in fact, Tom said he had lost count of the number of properties in his portfolio.

“People ask me ‘why Bourke’ and my answer is always ‘why not?’” he said.

Tom’s commitment to the town isn’t just financial.

He said he had fallen in love with it after a visit to look at a property and was struck by Bourke’s iconic stature and the friendliness of the community. He realised that his investment would have a positive impact on the local economy and provide much needed rental accommodation as well.

“It’s not really about making a profit,” Tom said. “There are other reasons that I am committed to Bourke.

“I looked at Broken Hill and Cobar, but they are mining towns, so Khaled and I decided to concentrate on one place, and because of the legend of ‘the Back of Bourke’ and how friendly the people were here, we decided this was it.

“Sharon Dickson has been so helpful, and Greg Seiler has been wonderful, and you have to have faith in what you do.

“If all the ducks fall in a row, it works.

“I have a few ideas for the Guesthouse – I could run it as a guest house or rent it, but what could I do for the community after the loss of Diggers and all the artwork and memorabilia, is maybe make part of it a museum or something like that for the community,” he said.

Tom’s plans include continuing the restoration work Chris and Kristie have done over those 20 years.

His plans for his other properties in Bourke include upgrading accommodation, painting facades, offering much needed space to rental tenants, and generally giving some of the more dilapidated buildings a new lease of life.

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