Siblings Kahlee and Brad O’Leary have come back to their “own watering hole”, but these days they’re serving the drinks.
The pair from Elong Elong spent many an hour as kids with their family socialising at Ballimore, 30kms from Dubbo.
Now they’ve each changed career paths to become the owners and licensees of Ballimore’s Hair of the Dog Inn.
The new venture is a seven-day-a-week commitment, but the pair has never been shy of hard work.
Since completing school at Dubbo’s St John’s College, Kahlee has worked in the mining industry and on remote properties in northern Australia.
Brad spent recent years with Fletcher Grain at Dubbo.
When the opportunity to take on the pub came up, they “grabbed the bull by two horns” and “came back to our own watering hole” in November, Kahlee said.
We’re the faces behind the bar, but it really is a community thing.Brad O'Leary
Being familiar with the community has been a huge head start.
“We know their names, we know what they drink,” Kahlee said.
Brad said they’d had a lot of support from family, friends and the district.
“We’re the faces behind the bar, but it really is a community thing,” he said.
“Without family and the community behind you, you don’t have much.”
Kahlee and Brad see the pub as being important to bringing the rural community together, just as it did when they were growing up.
“There are a lot of young families here now, we love seeing them here,” Brad said.
The inn has already played host to Santa for Christmas festivities.
It also had a packed program on Australia Day, including a thong toss, yabby races and a plugger sprint.
Kahlee and Brad are thrilled the community has embraced them, receiving welcome offers of help.
“They’ve been saying ‘the kids are running the pub’, it wouldn’t matter if we were 40 years old, they’d say we were the kids,” Kahlee said.