News

Family buys country pub, leap of faith pays off

NEW LIFE: Stephen and Jaimee Neilsen-O'Donnell own the Miles Windsor Hotel.
NEW LIFE: Stephen and Jaimee Neilsen-O'Donnell own the Miles Windsor Hotel. Julia Baker

WHAT do you do when you want to escape FIFO life, to keep your husband home for more than a week at a time and to keep your young family together?

You take a leap of faith and buy a country pub.

At least that's what Jaimee Neilsen-O'Donnell and husband Stephen O'Donnell did when they purchased Miles Windsor Hotel last year and since then, they haven't looked back.

"We've picked up a lot of business with me being a local and us being young, full of energy and ideas, and love doing what we do.

"It makes a difference to running your business every day because failure is not an option," Mrs Neilsen-O'Donnell said.

Stephen, an Irish native, was working away in Karratha, Western Australia, on a 4/1 roster after the couple returned from overseas four years ago following the birth of Alfie, their first child.

The pair purchased the hotel after seeing an opportunity to make a long-term investment in the community and bring back a sense of town spirit to Miles following the resources boom.

The couple's new direction was also driven by their desire to secure Stephen work closer to home so they could focus on their young family.

"We saw an opportunity to be a family friendly business and to be a part of the community," Mrs Neilsen-O'Donnell said.

"The last few years when we were looking for an exit strategy from FIFO, we needed to regroup and be together. We thought 'this is something we can do'.

"That's the road we wanted to go down.

"It was trying for us, but we didn't have much option. If it wasn't for the hotel we'd be apart.

"Alfie is four and Teddy is now 10 months, so we had a baby in September and bought a pub in the November.

"We bought the hotel to have a job together and to keep our family together... and we really appreciate the support of the community; we love it."

Since then, the couple has focused on creating a boutique gastropub which nods to their time travelling in Europe and the United Kingdom.

"Stephen's got an eye for craft beer from his global travels and we're a boutique pub doing great meals," Mrs Neilsen-O'Donnell said.

"From here we want to continue to do more work to turn the front into a gastropub with high stools and some Chesterfield sofas, so people can come in for a nice beer or a nice glass of wine and a conversation with their mates.

"We're also looking towards revamping the bottle shop and looking at hosting wine tasting seasonally."

The Windsor Restaurant menu offers a range of classic pub meals and gourmet pizzas for lunch and dinner seven days a week, as well as a well-stocked range of craft and tap beer and boutique wines.

The hotel can also cater for functions of up to 50 people and offers a daily packed lunch for miners, tradespeople and long-term visitors.

"The locals like to have somewhere different to go, we get our everyday lunches in here and if people have events they come to us and that's really special," Mrs Neilsen O'Donnell said.


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Illoura staff run ragged as residents wait for basic assistance

The Chinchilla News revealed the huge staffing cuts at Illoura earlier this month.

Some residents are waiting more than half an hour for basic care

Youth hub reopens with new lease on life

BRIGHT FUTURE: Former Chinchilla resident Laura May works for Youth Insearch in Sydney.

Western Downs Youth Hub reopens

The Hart of Australia

WHO'S WHO: Chinchilla's Jodie Hart has been honoured with an entry in the 12th edition of Who's Who of Australian Women.

Our Jody immortalised in book

Local Partners

Rat gets zapped, 1850 people lose power

A TINY rodent's foray into a substation caused 1850 customers to lose power last night.

Working class? Man, Gympie's got the show for you

Jimmy Barnes

Aussie rock icons coming to Gympie for 150th celebrations.

Tables turn as rescue crew takes on gruelling mountain

EPIC CHALLENGE: Hundreds of runners will tackle the 4.2km run from the heart of Pomona to the top of Mt Cooroora and back on Sunday.

They are usually the people coming to the rescue of adventurers

VIDEO: Girls can feel safe at Splendour

Punters at Splendour in the Grass 2016 at Byron Bay.

High visibility police will be among the crowd at all times

'What gig?' Drummer left out of Powderfinger reunion

IT was the reunion gig that quickly became the talk of music fans across the nation.

FINAL PHONE CALL: Princes’ regret over last words to Diana

Prince William and Prince Harry have opened up about their mum, Princess Diana, in a new documentary. Picture: ITVSource:Supplied

Two princes regret rushing the last phonecall with their mother

OPINION: Splendour reached peak glitter

Courtney Smoulden and Dylan Barker sporting some of the extensive glitter available at Splendour in the Grass 2017 near Byron Bay.

2017 is, officially, the year of Splendour in the Glitter

Karl Stefanovic breaks his silence on divorce, new love

Karl poses for Stellar’s July 23 issue. Picture: Steven Chee Source:Stellar Magazine

Stefanovic on his marriage breakdown, new girlfriend

What's on the small screen this week

Matty J and Osher Gunsberg in a scene from The Bachelor.

WINNERS will be crowned on MasterChef and Australian Ninja Warrior.

Beauty blogger’s horribly racist product review

Popular beauty blogger run off the internet for racist comment

Financial scandal destroys alternative community

Families who gave thousands to be a part of an alternative community at Mt Burrell, west of Murwillumbah, are now trying to recover their investment. Picture: Jamie Hanson

Dream Utopia turns into a nightmare

Mum buys $900,000 apartment for her 8-year-old son

Tania Katsanis beat another couple of homeowners to secure the winning bid.

The apartment was a 'bargain' as the property market bottoms out

Townhouses planned for Nicklin Way site

CBRE's Brendan Robins and Rem Rafter on site at Wurtulla.

Prime 1.5ha Sunshine Coast property set for town homes development

Owner tells of ghostly goings on at old Mackay pub

GHOST STORIES: Several people have died at the Mirani Hotel

Owner says pub is 'definitely haunted'

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!