IT has taken most of 2011, but Kathy Hannaford and Peter Barnett are finally the new owners of one of the Hunter’s oldest bush hotels – the Victoria Hotel at Moonan Flat.
The former farmers from near Scone have taken over from Marian and Bob Lewis.
Ms Hannaford said she and Mr Barnett had visited the hotel frequently.
‘‘We always came up here for our little getaways,’’ Ms Hannaford said.
Now they can stay as long as they want but Ms Hannaford agrees running a bush pub is hard work.
‘‘It is an important place,’’ she said.
The 1890 hotel is just off the Scone-Nundle road that was a Cobb & Co coach route.
Moonan Flat’s original name was Macqueen and it was established to service The Denison gold diggings in the 1870s. A building behind the pub is said to date from the 1860s.
Perhaps of equal significance is an old pine tree in the front garden, which was struck by lightning in 2009.
The pine was a gift by workers who stayed at the pub while planting a pine plantation nearby.
On New Year’s Eve the hotel will host Byg Swig, winner of the 2011 Australian Hotel Association’s Country Pub Song Competition for The Victoria Hotel, about the people who frequent the pub.