MICK Lucas recalls brawling for a full hour as a teenage shearer outside the old Carrathool pub before resuming drinking.
Now a resident of Blackall, in Queensland, the ex-shearer from Hay returned 46 years later for a squizz at Carrathool's new pub.
- READ MORE
- What's your best dog name?
- Carathool Races - February 4
- Have Your Say in the form below
He downed a coldie in record time - the first to pass his lips in the past 12 months - to celebrate.
With his little dog, Mr Bojangles, by his side, Mick was lost in memories of the old pub.
"It was a good place....no, I can't go there, just imagine what shearers are like," he said.
Now down for a spot of fishing on the nearby Murrumbidgee, Mick gave Carrathool's new pub the thumbs up.
The tiny village in the western Riverina, 53km from Hay, lost its last commercial building in September, 2010, when the 125-year-old Family Hotel burnt down.
Two months earlier, the community post office had closed, and before that, the general store and motor garage.
Things looked grim until five mates from Griffith formed a partnership to rebuild the pub in a design reminiscent of the big Riverina shearing sheds.
Locals packed the pub for the first beer pulled at 6pm on December 23.
Hotel manager Trish Kerr said a big crowd turned out to quench their thirst after a 15-month long beer drought.
"A lot of people from the stations around here had been ringing asking when it was going to open again," Mrs Kerr said.
"The second most asked question is will we have a pub sticker.
"People say they don't have to run to the bar now as the floor of the old pub was sinking into the cellar."
Mrs Kerr last worked at the Royal Hotel in Gatton and survived the terrifying Lockyer valley floods a year ago.
"Our house was on a hill and we saw the water as a wall hit the town," she said.
"The Grantham Hotel where I started as a barmaid was washed away."
Mrs Kerr, with husband Ray, children Rhianna and Dylan, and barman Barry Leo, have increased Carrathool's population by 10 per cent.
The town is buzzing again with a general store and post office set to operate from the pub within weeks.
Carrathool Jockey Club president Mick Armstrong rated the pub's opening as a new beginning for the town.
Mr Armstrong said the pub's official opening on Australia Day would be backed up by the Carrathool races tomorrow.
Usually known for scorching heat, dust storms, flies and bush hospitality, the Carrathool races were abandoned in the past two years due to wet weather.