AUSTRALIAN chef and restaurateur Matt Moran hopes to bring the village of Rockley to life with some very ambitious plans.
News broke this week that he had purchased the pub, approximately 35 kilometres south of Bathurst.
He will take over from mid July, closing the pub down while it is transformed.
"The ultimate plan now is to do a renovation for a few months and relaunch it come later on in the year," Mr Moran said.
"I want to put a restaurant in there, I want to put a beer garden, and an outside area with a pergola over the top of it with some heating, and I would love to have some accommodation upstairs when I reopen, and that will be stage one.
"Stage two, I'd like to see some more accommodation on the site, and maybe a shop or a general store and bakery further down the track."
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To some, it may seem like an odd choice for an accomplished chef with multiple restaurants to his name, but, in fact, Mr Moran has a connection to Rockley that goes back generations.
"I have a lot of history there. My family owned farms in the area since the 1850s, so 170 years they've been around," he said. "My great grandfather was married in Rockley in 1883. I've owned a farm in Rockley for 20 years myself with my father and I love the area. I love the town, I think it's a very pretty town and I'd love to bring some life back into it."
Mr Moran has had early discussions about his plans with mayor Bobby Bourke, the tourism body and others, receiving great support.
"I had a meeting last week with Paul Toole, the member for the area. I know Paul and he has been incredibly supportive and excited by what I'm doing out there," he said.
"I think anyone in government would be excited that someone who has obviously got a track record in capital cities and a history of doing good hospitality venues is coming to the country, and I think that's really important.
"Local tourism and regional tourism is on the rise, and I think this is a great opportunity to capitalise on it and get people out of the city, into the country and spending some money."
His vision for Rockley is enormous. Whether or not it has the desired effect, only time will tell, but he is certainly going to give it everything he's got.
"It's been a town that's been very pretty, but it hasn't existed. I think it's quite sad that a town like Rockley, you can't even buy some bread or a bottle of milk. It's not going to happen straight away, but I'd love to open some shop fronts and put a little bakery or something in and bring some life back to it," he said.
"Whether it's viable or not, I don't really know, but that's what the plan is and I'm looking forward to it. I love a challenge."
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