AT Reader Jillian Graham waxes extremely lyrical on her favourite Australian Hotel, the Buckley’s Crossing Hotel in Dalgety.
There are hotels and there are hotels.
There’s the large international variety, which can be very comfy – but walk into that type and you could be anywhere in the world.
Then, there’s the you-beaut real Australian hotel. Walk into one of these, have a look around, and you can work out exactly where you are. And one of my very faves would have to be Buckley’s Crossing Hotel.
“Where?” I hear you ask. Well, it’s mentioned in the very first line of Matthew Condon’s Australian epic, “The Trout Opera.”
Buckley’s Crossing Hotel is in Dalgety, which, as we all know, is the only town in NSW on the Snowy River. It dates back to approximately 1889 and is on the main road from Jindabyne to the coast. A solid brick building with iron roof. A sheltered courtyard with recently resurrected wishing well. The mandatory verandah. And a few stories as well.
Walk into the main bar and have a look around. There’s an abundance of photographs and other treasures, which reflects the history of the village and the character of the local area. The area experiences extremes of temperatures from below zero (ice and snow) through into the 40s.
Invariably, of an evening, Richard the publican will be serving his beers to local shearers – Noel, Jock, Jacko, Bert . . . to name but a few. Their fathers were shearers and now their sons are shearers too. Bert will proudly point to a photo of his father, shearing, taken more than 20 years ago. Another photo that will grab your attention is the one of the senators bathing in the Snowy while pondering the future of Dalgety as our national capital.
In the cool of winter, fires will be burning.
Step into the re-refurbished dining room, high iron ceilings, leadlights hanging, and grab a table in front of that fire in the marble fireplace. Shelly and Jo can do the shanks, T-bones, whatever – and if you can’t decide on whether to have salad, veg or chips, they’ll bring the lot. Invariably, they’ll sit down at the table with you and fill you in on the latest while you graze.
Venture down one of corridors. The floorboards creak and you can be forgiven if your imagination gets the better of you.
On a summer evening there could be no more pleasant a place than sitting on the verandah and watching the sun set over the Main Range. If you’re there on a quiet night, the only noise to break the silence will be the occasional vehicle crossing the equally aged wooden bridge that crosses the once mighty Snowy less than 100m away.
This tiny historic village plays host to a variety of events through the year. The Dalgety Show, the Regional Food Fair, the Snowy Ride, the Snowy River Festival, plus cricket and tennis matches. The Dalgety Showground is diagonally opposite and is the focal point for most of these. Naturally enough for locals and visitors who frequent these events, BCH is the place to be. Even Thistle, the town sheep, has been known to stick her head in through the window in the lounge bar to check out what’s going on.
DETAILS // Buckley’s Crossing Hotel
Where: Dalgety Road, Dalgety, NSW 2628. Phone: (02) 6456 5023.