When Kerry and Simon Bain moved to the 15-soul town of Wanganella, 
in south-western NSW, they had no intention of running a licensed restaurant. 

Story + Photos Ken Eastwood

Late afternoon on a Friday, it’s pretty quiet at the Wanganella Store, 40km north of Deniliquin in south-western NSW. A few birds call from the gums along Billabong Creek, audible from the empty beer garden. Dust blows across the almost vacant carpark and a couple of grey nomads sit quietly in a corner of the dining room awaiting their meals. 

But then a couple of local sheep graziers enter the store. They’re warmly welcomed, and given their favourite beverage before they have to ask. Then another local farming family comes in, and another, and another. Soon the place is humming with lively conversation and laughter as they all greet each new smiling face that comes in the door. Behind the broad, open counters, Simon and Kerry Bain, dressed casually – both in shorts and Kerry in thongs – chat with everyone as they serve drinks and prepare meals. 

“We always come here on a Friday night, otherwise you only see your neighbours at funerals and weddings,” says sheep grazier and Avonpart kelpie matriarch Mary McCrabb, who is dining with her husband Ken after a busy day moving stock. “There’s such a lovely set-up here. We’re just so lucky to have Kerry and Simon. They do a terrific job.”

This story excerpt is from Issue #129

Outback Magazine: Feb/Mar 2020