With a passion for the outback and wings to carry him, outback pub agent Peter Moore is in his element.
Story By Shelley Ross
“Okay folks, you may as well order another drink. There’s no way we’re taking off in this heat. We’ll wait a while and see if she drops below 40.” Peter Moore’s two passengers glance at the blistering haze outside in the dry South Australian outback and grin at their pilot, happy with any excuse to spend a little more time soaking up the atmosphere of the desert-bound Innamincka Hotel.
The outback pub broker is on a typical working run out of Melbourne – at around 6500 feet up, Peter will easily cover three states on the first day behind the controls of his Piper Cherokee Six. With a long-held love of the outback and its iconic pubs, Peter has combined 20 years’ experience as a publican with down-to-earth marketing skills and a commercial pilot’s licence to take a healthy grip on what could arguably be the country’s biggest real-estate beat.
As far as Peter’s concerned, his job working for Melbourne Commercial Group is the best in the world. “People can’t believe I make a living out of a regular pub crawl,” he says. “But that’s what it is – just without the alcohol.” On this three-day trip he’ll also call in on the publicans at Milparinka, Tibooburra and Cameron Corner in New South Wales and Birdsville and Bedourie in Queensland. Innamincka’s publican, Kim Forte, is clearly relaxed spending time with Peter and getting the latest news about offers on his ‘other’ place, the famous Birdsville Hotel, which he, his wife Jo, and their partners currently have up for sale for a lively $6 million. “It’s worth it, too,” Peter says. “It’s the jewel in the crown, that one.”
When an outback pub comes onto the market, there’s lots of interest. The owners of Birdsville had all the big brokers in Australia chasing them when the sale was announced. Peter simply flew out and sat down with Kim and Jo and talked to them.
Having spent five years running the remote William Creek Hotel in the mid-1990s, and various other country pubs, Peter talks the publicans’ language. They can see his passion a mile off. “If I turned up at their pub wearing a suit and shiny shoes, they’d smell real estate rip-off in no time flat,” Peter says. “Obviously having the aeroplane is a huge bonus – I fly up here at the drop of a hat to see them. It’d be a keen agent who’d jump in the car for the two-day drive.” It also helps when he’s able to hand across the bar a crumpled envelope from his back pocket with the latest offer from a potential buyer in the city.
This story excerpt is from Issue #57
Outback Magazine: Feb/Mar 2008