With local cattle farmers at the helm, Carcoar’s Royal Hotel is back on the map. 

Story + Photos Therese Hall

Central-west New South Wales cattle farmer Chris Stonestreet came home one day and announced to his wife Trish that he wanted to buy the local pub. Although he’d been on the land all his life and Trish had just retired from a 36-year teaching career, Chris wasn’t perturbed by their lack of experience: he envisaged putting in a manager and watching their investment grow. “It didn’t quite work out like that,” Trish laughs. “The manager lasted about three months before he realised it wasn’t for him, so we decided we would do it ourselves.” 

A year-and-a-half later, the Stonestreets are waist-deep in the business of running Carcoar’s Royal Hotel and they’re thriving. “I didn’t get much of a retirement,” Trish says. But they now believe that being forced to take over was a blessing. “We need to be the ones doing it, at least for the first year or so, to make it what we want it to be,” Trish says. 

The Stonestreets’ toil has revived the Royal Hotel to a semblance of its former self – the centrepiece of the tight-knit Carcoar community and an attraction for weekend travellers looking for good-value home-style meals and accommodation. On a tranquil Sunday afternoon, there isn’t a vacant table in the house. 

This story excerpt is from Issue #123

Outback Magazine: February/March 2019