A watering hole in the bush…

Quenching your thirst is basic to human survival, no more so than whilst travelling our magnificent country. Mind you, quenching your thirst may take many different forms and how you quench it depend on the era you grew up in… 

For Australia’s First Nation People, living near a permanent waterhole on our parched continent has been key to their survival for over sixty thousand years. In seasons of good rains, which are infrequent, they were able stretch out their area of reach, travelling from rock hole to rock hole, in search of food and to trade.  Dreamtime stories providing the roadmap to those faraway rock holes.

With the coming of European settlement, watering holes morphed into hotels and inns, pubs where horses could be watered and where you could get a bed for the night.  And most importantly, where one could wash down the dust from their dry throat after a day ‘on the wallaby’. 

In some cases these watering holes were little more than a shanty with calico walls, where the company was rough and the liquor even rougher still…!

Distances between these establishments was nominal in modern day estimation, usually the distance a horse might be able to travel in a day, perhaps even less so.

These days our travel is usually in an air-conditioned vehicle with little consideration needed other than to fill it up with go-juice to keep it going, which might be petrol or diesel. And long distances are covered between resting times.

Yes, cars need to be serviced, but unless you’re driving a Landrover most vehicles don’t need to be regularly rested like a horse. 

And a note for Landrover owners, we consider ourselves entitled to make Landrover jokes having once owned two Landrover Defenders at the same time, although we have disposed of them and happy to report we are now fully recovered from the experience and leading happy lives once again (tongue firmly in cheek… 😉 )


As we make our way west across the Hay Plain we have been reflecting on some of the pubs we’ve visited in our travels, the characters we’ve met, the tales we’ve heard and the ales we’ve drunk. 

And hey, if you’re travelling out this way and looking for a good spot to camp take the time to check out Sandy Point along the Murrumbidgee River. 

It is a free camp you’ll be sharing with other travellers, but there is plenty of room and it is only a short walking distance into the township of Hay where you’ll find a couple of watering holes in the main street.

And be sure to take the time to visit the Shearer’s Hall of Fame whilst you’re visiting. 

As we made our way further west towards Balranald and a rendezvous with our life-long friends and travelling partners we were giving some thought to where we might stay for the night as the camp area near the old woolshed in Yanga National Park was closed due to recent rains.

And as luck would have it, we discovered the Homebush Hotel at Penarie, which is located on the road towards Ivanhoe and about 30-kilometres north of Balranald.  

Now when we say ‘we discovered’ it is worth noting that the pub was built in 1878 and today it is the only roadside inn that has survived along the road to Ivanhoe. 

We put a phone call in to ‘Nugget’ the publican to check the pub was open.  

And in these Covid times it does pay to check.

“No worries”, Nugget said, and not long after leaving Balranald we had set-up ‘camp’ behind the pub and enjoying a beer beside the warmth of the fire, a central feature in the bar of the pub. 

And you’ve got to like Outback hospitality. Providing you spend a few dollars in the pub you can camp out back for free…! 

Hey, it is no resort, but that suits us fine and it is always nice to get a hot shower in when you can.

Now legend has it that Nugget, in his younger days, was a delivery boy and pizza maker for Eagleboy Pizza’s and even featured in one of its television ads.  

Of this we have no doubt. 

So if you ever stop by at the Homebush Hotel you can’t go wrong ordering one of Nugget’s pizzas, we did and we are still raving about it.

But here’s the thing, next time you’re in an old bush pub like the Homebush take the time to stop and listen ‘cause above the crackle of the fire, or the din of the chatter, you might just hear the voices and laughter of the characters that have long passed…if only the walls could talk, hey…?

Photos: Janet & Baz

About us…

We love the colours of the Australian Outback, the ochre red earth touching a deep blue sky on a faraway horizon; and the fabulous coastline of our sunburnt country, where a golden sandy beach is washed over by a turquoise blue sea; and the characters you meet in a quiet country pub, where it is nothing flash, but you are enriched by the encounter…

In 2017 we decided it was time to “graduate from work” and re-enter “the classroom of life” where an education is guaranteed and all that is needed is an open mind.

Thanks for joining us in the adventure…!

Cheers, Baz & Janet

Quenching a thirst – in the Australian Outback…

Photo’s: Baz – The Landy, in the Australian Bush…

Barry O'Malley
Baz – The Landy

What happened to our pubs?

Gulf Savannah

Have we gentrified our pubs so much that the life and soul of “the local” has all but disappeared?

The thought came to mind recently as I sat in the bistro of our local, a typical suburban pub in Sydney within walking distance from home.

I lamented that there wasn’t anything as simple as bangers and mash on the menu as I drank a beer served in a glass that would look more at home as a vase…

Let’s face it, there is nothing better than the company of friends and good pub food washed down with a couple of schooners of Fourex.  Not some beer brewed with water taken from a stream on the eastern side of a mountain in some place I couldn’t pronounce even if I wasn’t into my third schooner.

I mean, what’s wrong with a good old Fourex?  Okay, VB or Carlton Draught if you prefer and a Chardy for the girls…

Perhaps I’m showing my class here, (I did say class) but one of the things I truly look forward to is a trip into the bush, the outback, down a dusty track where you are likely to develop a thirst that can only be quenched with a schooner or two at day’s end in a pub that is most likely called “The Royal” or maybe “The Railway” or “Tattersall’s”.

Crikey, even Janet (Mrs Landy) has been known to down a beer or two in these revered establishments!

It’ll be nothing fancy mind you, a few bar stools here and there mostly occupied by Bluey and the boys who’ll tip their hats and give you a G’day as you step through the door. The menu simple, but tasty and its okay to toss your dog a couple of scraps to clean off the plate when you’re done…

The conversation is typical, but mostly amusing, no-one is taking it too seriously, or concerned that you are wearing the right clothes, after all shorts and singlets are the go, if you like, and you’re not going to need to mortgage ya’ house when it comes to your turn to shout!

Crikey, Mrs Landy and I have enjoyed some great moments in some out of the way places in the Australian Bush, The Outback – and we might have had just that one too many on an occasion here and there, but that is usually because our classic pubs in the bush are timeless, especially when the amber fluid flows and the banter ramps up!

Over the next couple of months “The Landy” will be pointed westward towards the remote Gibson Desert region and I’ll be making sure the route to get there is long and dusty as there is nothing better than dropping into a “real” pub at the end of a day’s drive just to say, G’day!

So where is your favourite “watering” hole?

Cheers, Baz – The Landy

Rooms, Functions, Beer

Rooms, Functions, Beer (In the Australian Bush)

The Barmedman Hotel, quenching your thirst in the Australian Bush…

And strewth, how good is that verandah on the pub? You could blame your “wobbly boot” on its crooked shape! 😉

Photo: Baz – The Landy