Country Victorian pub steps back in time with medieval theme

Michelle Penny (left) and Kerry Bruce are selling a very different kind of country pub. Picture: Alex Coppel
Michelle Penny (left) and Kerry Bruce are selling a very different kind of country pub. Picture: Alex Coppel

A broadsword and suit of armour aren’t what you’d expect to find in a country pub.

Neither is a museum room full of Light Horse Brigade artefacts.

But when Michelle Penny and Kerry Bruce bought Nathalia’s 114-year-old Court House Hotel at 65 Blake St in 2017 they were determined to renovate it with their own personal flair.

And the pair think their efforts have helped put “the most beautiful little town” in Victoria, about 231km north of Melbourne and 40 minutes from Echuca, on the map.

The dining room was given a medieval flavour after they received a set of antique chairs as a house-warming gift. It now features carpets hung on the walls as well as horse and knight statues.

They even bought a suit of armour from the estate of one of Bruce’s regulars at the barber shop she set up in the hotel’s former bottle-shop next door.

“We only open the rest of the pub on Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” she says.

The museum room is a homage to Australia’s commitment to World War I and II. Picture: Alex Coppel

The hotel has a medieval theme in the dining room. Picture: Alex Coppel

A back room has become a museum of World War I memorabilia including saddles used by the Light Horse Brigade in the Battle of Beersheba and a World War II ration biscuit signed by squad mates of one of Australia’s last surviving WWII veterans.

The pair use some of it to put on a re-enactment in nearby Barmah every Anzac Day and Remembrance Day, or for any other occasion where people will have them.

A horse head presides over what has been dubbed the Boutique Brumby Bar. And while the Carlton Draught and Dry taps are popular — the pair prefer a cream liqueur themselves.

So a horse walks into a bar … Picture: Alex Coppel

The beer garden is now known as the stockyard.

The beer garden outside is now called the stockyard, and the accommodation inside features a mix of antique writing desks and four-poster beds.

“People think it’s incredible, and they can’t believe that we did it,” Penny says.

But after all their efforts, the pair are selling, with the next owner to inherit everything except the suit of armour and most of the war memorabilia.

“We never planned to run it,” Bruce says.

Even the hotel’s accommodation is far from typical. Picture: Alex Coppel

Pictured: the whole shebang.

“We just wanted to do it up. Whoever buys it gets the whole shebang.”

Only they have no idea what the 4000sqm property is worth and are hoping to get an offer that seems right by their September 30 planned sale date.

“If someone makes us an offer we like, we will sell it to them,” Penny says.

This article from the Herald Sun originally appeared as “Court House Hotel, Nathalia: Country Victorian pub includes medieval theme, war museum”.