THE ALBERT HOTEL

A RIPPER OUTBACK PUB TO DIVVY UP A DUSTY DRIVE.

WORDS GLENN TORRENS PHOTOS ELLEN DEWAR

NOT MUCH beats watching a sunset while enjoying a beer with a good crew, and thatís exactly what we did in Milparinka during a recent NSW outback trek. We plonked our butts down on the bench at the Albert Hotelís verandah to enjoy the last rays of another cracker outback day. Located in the top left corner of NSW, Milparinka is just off the Silver City Highway some 294km north of Broken Hill and 42km down the road from Tiboburra. As such, this tiny town is perfectly placed to be a great drop-in for any Corner Country trek. We arrived from the west after looping through the Mundi Mundi Plains from Broken Hill, Silverton and Eldee Station, driving through the type of country that challenged 19th century explorers Sturt, Burke and Wills. Milparinka was established in the 1880s, with the pub, former police station and courthouse Ė built from locally cut sandstone Ė standing as a testament to the flurry of activity and investment in the area after gold was discovered. The ruins of the local post office and bakery can also be found.

THIS PUB HAS ONE OF THE OLDEST LIQUOR LICENCES IN AUSTRALIA

The buildings within the Milparinka Heritage Precinct are maintained by a proud and capable bunch of volunteers, and the former courthouse is now the Milparinka Heritage Centre. Spend a bit of time walking around in the dry heat and the chances are youíll end your walk at the Albert Hotel, just like we did. This pub has one of the oldest liquor licences in Australia, so itís obviously a good place to have a drink. In contrast to the surrounding hot, dry landscape, thereís a bit of greenery around Milparinka, and the trees create some well-shaded campsites on the banks of Evelyn Creek, which was dry when we visited, as it is most of the time. Publicans Rebecca and Phillip Young, South Australians who have owned the Albert for 15 years, told us of their plans to improve the camping facilities with an amenities block. However, a more ambitious plan is to bring Evelyn Creek back to its former glory. Prior to the 1880s there was a large, semi-permanent waterhole, but in just a few years it was silted by mining activity. Trees now grow where there was once a deep pool, and the Youngs plan to remove the trees and dig out the waterhole to recreate the oasis it was when the Maliangaapa people called this place home.

ALBERT HOTEL MILPARINKA

WEBSITE: www.outbacknsw.com.au PHONE: (08) 8091 3863 ADDRESS: If youíre in Milparinka, you canít miss it! BEERS: Bottled Coopers, Great Northern, XXXX Gold, Carlton Dry, ciders, etc. FOOD: Dinner: steaks, schnitties, barramundi. Lunch: chips, steak sandwiches, burgers. Breakfast: by arrangement. FUEL: Closest fuel is in Tibooburra (50km). ACCOMMODATION: Single and double rooms. Family and en suite cabins out the back. CAMPSITES: Open campsites to the rear of the pub suitable for caravans and trailers. Or go another 50m and camp under the trees of Evelyn Creek, like we did. GT SAYS: A ripper pub to divvy-up a dusty drive.