The reinvented Pally Pub has made a destination out of the village of Pallamallawa, northern NSW.

Story + Photos Mandy McKeesick 

It is a Saturday evening and at Pallamallawa, 30km east of Moree in northern NSW, the Pally Pub is hosting a 16th birthday, a surprise 50th birthday, Weebolla Bulls rugby players, families from Inverell and a scattering of grey nomads. Children climb in the playground and kick a soccer ball around the lawn, work-shirted locals catch the last of the races from Randwick and the line for dinner orders snakes out the door. Pallamallawa may be a village of around 200 people surrounded by vast cropping properties, but at its heart is a venue that would not look out of place in a city of millions.

Called the Golden Grain Hotel, the pub was put up for sale in 2016, but had no takers. “The drought was on and things were pretty ordinary, but my mate Anthony ‘Dipper’ Diprose said we should buy it,” Gary Taunton relates. “I said, ‘No way’.”

Dipper then went to work on Gary’s wife Leigh. “He asked me if I wanted to see my grandchildren at the Pally school and, of course, I said yes,” she says. “Then he said, ‘If we don’t save the pub we’ll lose the school, we’ll lose the store, we’ll lose the post office and then we’ll lose the community’. So now we are owners of a pub.”

The rebranded Pally Pub (“Dipper said you never called it the Golden Grain – it was always just the Pally Pub,” Gary says) has undergone an extreme makeover and re-emerged as a dining hub under the stewardship of 9 local farmers and business people.

This story excerpt is from Issue #155

Outback Magazine: June/July 2024