Having firmly established Pilliga Pottery as a tourist destination, the Rickert family is now seeking to extend the business enterprise into Coonabarabran’s CBD by breathing new life into the iconic Royal Hotel building.
Purchasing the Royal Hotel in 2014 as a joint partnership, Bernhard, Johannes, Regina, Eva and Maria Rickert have plans in place to rejuvenate the beautiful, historic property.
“We all immediately saw the potential to redevelop the Royal into a unique and atmospheric place for the community and visitors to gather for food, drinks and a bit of live music and a good time,” Eva Rickert said.
“We are excited to work with the community to create, what we hope, will be an amazing project, bringing more life to the community and giving locals another attraction to be proud of.”
The Royal will be redeveloped and opened in stages, commencing with restoration of the bar.
This area will be transformed into a licensed cafe with home made gelato, and brewery, while the beer garden will feature a large play area for children, making the venue family friendly.
The upstairs accommodation facilities will be redeveloped to include en-suites in most rooms.
A laundromat will be constructed for public use. Miss Rickert said there were also plans to lease out the restaurant and they were currently seeking cuisine suggestions from the community.
“Due to development work consent requirements, we have not been able to do significant work on the pub to date,” she said.
“However, Bernhard has put his artistic building style to work and has already built a beautiful ironbark and stone bar and a stone fireplace, to warm cold winter nights.”
The million dollar project has been boosted by a $100,000 grant under the NSW Government’s Heritage Near Me Activation Grants Program.
Member for Barwon, Kevin Humphries, made the presentation in Coonabarabran on Monday, 12 December.
“I’m delighted to see this funding go towards redeveloping the historic Royal Hotel so that it can once again be enjoyed by the Coonabarabran community,” Mr Humphries said.
“The historical aspects of the hotel will be rejuvenated and enhanced to ensure they are here for generations to come.
“The funding will help conserve this piece of local heritage for future generations and ensure it becomes an integral part of the community, for everyone to enjoy.”
As the Royal Hotel is heritage zoned, Miss Rickert said they had to comply with a number of regulations to conserve heritage values.
“The grant will help us meet strict legislative requirements in relation to fire safety, disability access and heritage conservation.
“It will also help to speed up the process so that we can open to the public sooner.”
It is anticipated that the first stage of the Royal’s makeover will be completed sometime next year, with the pub and licensed cafe first to open to the public.
“The project will activate a significant historical asset for the town, with the brewery bringing a new tourist attraction to Coonabarabran.
“We will have accommodation to cater for more people during the busy season and we hope the family-friendly project will encourage longer stays in the community.
“The Royal will employ locals both to build and later to manage and cater all areas of the hotel, bringing more jobs to Coonabarabran.”
Warrumbungle Shire Council mayor, Peter Shinton, and Member for Barwon, Kevin Humphries, pictured with Maria, Eva and Bernhard Rickert inside the historic Coonabarabran Royal Hotel, which has received a $100,000 boost for heritage rehabilitation.