Australian Motorcyclist

PUBS & PLACES Of the Upper Murray

WHEN THE JANUARY fires hit the Upper Murray, Australians swung into action mode, doing what they could do, donating what they could afford. As orders were given to evacuate towns and villages, many chose to stay behind to fight and protect their dwellings and their property.

One of the groups which stayed without exception was the publicans.

And they fought to keep their hotels open - not for business, not making a quid, but to act as pubs have always done, as the hub of the community effort, the place for town meetings and for drop-offs of supplies and of equipment like generators and chainsaws.

These pubs struggle at the best of times. Now that most of the roads are open they need help. The rains that ended the fires poured mud into the rivers, killing by some estimates 90% of the fish. So, the late summer influx of fishermen to the towns is absent.

The fires forced the deer north away from the river and so the regular hunters aren’t in the bars at night. And neither are the tourists who bring their families to the river for days of kicking back and swimming in the crystal waters.

Which leaves us bike riders.

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