For years, the Doodle Cooma Arms Hotel in Henty, New South Wales, has been a place where people have gathered, drank and celebrated with friends, family and colleagues. Once, it was one of two hotels, then the other hotel became a B and B after the owners left. Now, the current publicans are retiring and leaving the town after this weekend.
Almost everyone in the town will have fond memories about the hotel – meetups after funerals, New Year’s Eve celebrations, Happy Hour and more. It’s a place where people have maintained friendships and made new ones. It’s a place where people have relaxed after a big week at work and study.
It hasn’t just been major for social reasons either. The Doodle Cooma Arms Hotel has been responsible for raising funds for local sports clubs, especially football, and the town’s fire brigade. It has also been a place for employment for a number of locals in a place where employment can be hard to come by without leaving town – bar staff, cooks, etc. When I had my 21st birthday party back in 2010, they also offered their services and allowed people attending the party to book rooms for them to stay in overnight. Not only that, they were a great help for the party in general. It was a great night, a night which couldn’t have happened the way it did without them. I also had my 18th there back in 2007.
Now what? A social outlet has gone… at least until someone else buys it and takes over the running of the venue. Until then, I think it’s fair to say that a big void will be left in many people’s lives. However, I think everyone in the town want to wish the current publicans well for the next chapter in their lives. We won’t know what happens in the future. Doodle Cooma Arms will always be a valuable part of the town’s past. Who will carry on the legacy, only time will tell.