Tasmania’s resilient Bridge Hotel is marking its 150th anniversary.

Story + Photos Andrew Bain 

It takes a lot to stop the Bridge Hotel in Forth from opening. When fire gutted the upper storey of the northern Tasmanian pub in 1972, it stayed open. One week later, when the publican was murdered inside the hotel (by the same man who set fire to the pub), it still opened that day. When raging floodwaters approached in 2016, it stayed open again, catering to a crowd who’d come to watch the River Forth rise.

The only thing that’s ever closed the doors of this resilient, 150-year-old pub is COVID. But for father-son owners Tim and Trent Allen, even those 3 months of shutdown in 2020 had silver linings.

“When we were shutdown, I said to Trent, ‘We can go two ways here. “We can either go broke doing nothing, or we can do something that will mean new times for the pub,” Tim says. 

A dilapidated lounge was transformed into a welcoming dining room, and a cafe was opened in the original dining room, so that the pub – the centrepiece of the town of 700 residents – now hums with activity from before dawn until well after dark.

This story excerpt is from Issue #144

Outback Magazine: August/September 2022