New life for historic hotel

January 31, 2018

Greg and Michelle Brain in front of the south facing mural.

Publican Greg Brain showing off historical items owned by his grandfather.

The original Tuppal Hotel before its demolition in 1938.

Many Finley residents and travellers would have noticed the new stunning mural displayed on the Tuppal Hotel, but most wouldn’t know the history behind it or the historical items displayed inside the pub.

Publicans Greg and Michelle Brain have spent 18 months reviving one of Finley’s oldest businesses.

The mural, on the south facing wall, was painted by internationally renowned artist Damien Mitchell and depicts a Merino ram and an old wool shed.

Mrs Brain said it pays homage to the hotel’s namesake, the old Tuppal Station.

‘‘It’s important to reflect on this region’s history,’’ Mrs Brain said.

‘‘This area has always been farming and Finley was called Tuppal, so the mural shows how the town started and how agriculture remains its backbone.

‘‘We didn’t receive any grants, we paid for all of it.

‘‘I enjoy owning pubs and restoring them and reflecting the history of the place.

‘‘It gives the town a better appearance, and it would be great to see something similar reflecting Finley’s history on the silos.

‘‘We’ve turned this into a really family orientated pub.’’

Mr Mitchell now lives in the Bronx, New York and also has experience painting silos. His mural is not the only new addition at the hotel.

On the wall of the main bar is a mural of Tommy Ryan, who watches over the pub’s regulars. Tommy is the brother of the late Kevin Ryan, who owned the hotel for 35 years and lived in it for 32.

In the main dining room, Mr Brain has hung old historical items owned by his grandfather JB Summersby including phones and books.

The Tuppal now also boasts an outdoor beer garden at the rear of the pub, originally used as an area for horses to park.

‘‘The garden was just concrete jungle with a tin shed,” Mrs Brain said.

‘‘It has taken a while to get grass up and plants growing.

‘‘I’m still finishing it, but it just adds to the pub and makes it feel more homely.”

The original sitting room, then later toilets, has been converted into a pool room, although not completed. Mrs Brain said she’ll be hanging old photos of Finley in the room.

Many keen Finley sports people will enjoy viewing the old blazer from the Finley Football Club 1952/54 premiership winning sides.

She said the biggest change to the Tuppal has come from a lifestyle change in the community.

‘‘The Tuppal has always been a popular watering hole for Finley locals,’’ Mrs Brain said.

‘‘Times have changed, but the Tuppal used to be a great place to find a job or hiring local farm hands.

‘‘It’s still the place to find out what’s happening.’’

The Tuppal Hotel first opened in 1893. The original building was demolished in 1938, and the current hotel structure was built in its place.

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