The walls of the Tooles Family Hotel in Tibooburra, in northwest New South Wales, are a canvas for artists from around Australia and murals range from landscapes to body-scapes, portraits to playmates.
Dan and Kathy Toole, who bought the hotel in 2009, are keen to preserve the existing murals and continue the tradition, thought to have been started by Pugh in 1969. This has meant removing a huge Athel pine from out the front whose roots were invading the hotel, cracking floors and painted walls.
The latest painting, being added this month, is a rendition of the dingo fence by Roxanne Minchin, whose late husband Eric Minchin’s outback scene adorns the opposite wall.
Roxy, as she’s known, chats amiably with patrons while applying vibrant shades of blue and red to the once-bland wall. The colours are intense, but having just driven alongside the dingo fence in nearby Cameron Corner I can verify their accuracy.
So if you’re planning a trip to this part of NSW, be sure to stop by the Tooles Family Hotel and check out the murals over a beer or two. Have a meal in the refurbished dining room (I can recommend the schnitzel with meat lovers topping and the homely apple crumble) where Roxy’s prints adorn the shiny corrugated iron walls, then stay the night in one of the hotel’s cabins across the road. It’s a quintessential outback NSW experience.