Bryan Guppy is hanging up his boots after 4.5 years of running the Thallon pub. Pic: Facebook
Bryan Guppy is hanging up his boots after 4.5 years of running the Thallon pub. Pic: Facebook

Thallon’s only commercial business manager hanging up his boots

Sixteen hour days for seven days a week to serve a diminishing customer base is a tough gig for even the hardest of hard workers.

But Bryan Guppy took on the challenge of managing the Francis Hotel, Thallon's only pub since 2016.

The 62-year-old has seen a lot in his four-and-a-half years behind the bar, from the quirky characters to the genuine country people who come in to grab a beer.

With the town diminishing in population after COVID-19 and many patrons heading to St George for their essential services, Mr Guppy is struggling to keep up with the increasing pressure and challenges.

"It's a hard gig, these small country pubs," he said.

"I just don't have the energy or the bounce-back to do it every day.

"Effectively what you do, is sit for half an hour have a beer to yourself before going to bed, if you're lucky."

Now it's time for him to hang up his boots and head down to a new adventure, to run a North Burnett pub with a business partner.

But the future's not uncertain for Thallon's only eatery, post office, general store, and accommodation, with the owners of the building looking to take over again, according to Mr Guppy.

He says that it's a lot of work for just one person, and jokingly said it'd need to be a husband a two-wives operation.

"Small country pubs, they're going to be a thing of the past because we cannot afford to keep them running," he said.

"I think our culture's going to find it hard to continue to keep it."

But he is thankful for the locals and tourists who's patronage kept the business afloat.

Despite the challenges with the virus, demographics and drought, Mr Guppy said the thing that needs to be fixed to keep these pubs alive are the bills.

With about $20,000 for electricity per year, $1000 for rent every week, and $4000 of licensing, he paid roughly the same as a St George publican would have to.

While he's finishing his time in Thallon, the former coastie and world traveller hasn't thrown in the towel for country pubs just yet.

The 'Bundaberg boy' will be taking on the Grand Hotel in Gayndah from March this year.

He's happy to be heading back to his roots, having been a veggie grocer for Coles during the early 2000s and having a former mandarin farmer as a landlord.

He also wants to be close the facilities of Bundaberg and medical services, not that he needs them.

Mr Guppy can't help but admire people out west though, with all the challenges they face.

"I take my hat off for people western, anywhere," he said.

"I got a lot of admiration for them.

"You're never going to get rich at a country pub out of it, but can lead to a good lifestyle."


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