Anything that could go wrong, did in gutting and completely transforming this suburban pub into a place the locals could relax.
But the finished result even has the resident ghost seemingly content and quiet.
Nerrina Bar and Restaurant co-owners, married couple Elizabeth and Jeff Lunn, have re-opened the venue for about a month now and are pleased with their hard-earned result - friendly, supportive locals enjoying the modern dining and easy-listening music scene.
This is a stark contrast to the old tavern, best known as one of the last pubs on the way out of town and a place where police did not patrol too often.
Ms Lunn said they wanted to offer a destination venue for people across the city to want to visit, more fitting of the surrounding area.
While most of the place had to be gutted to meet modern regulations, there are a few lingering features: one of the city's oldest cypress trees stands nearby and in the garden lies Bourkey's Rock. Ms Lunn said they have been yet to uncover Bourkey's identity and how his rock came to be in the garden.
TAKE A LOOK INSIDE THE NEWLY OPENED NERRINA BAR AND RESTAURANT:
They had bought the pub during the pandemic but could not travel down to check it out due to metropolitan border bubble restrictions.
Ms Lunn said what they had found was overgrown and badly damaged, unable to be leased in its poor state.
"It's just been an enormous comedy of errors since," Ms Lunn said. "It's been vandalised twice and was flooded through the roof.
"Workmen were doing work one day and they heard banging and thought there were other tradesmen on stage. It was our ghost.
"...Once they started renovations we hit our biggest hurdles - anything we did uncovered more and more permits we needed."
Ms Lunn said as they progressed, they increasingly realised how much the venue meant to the community and fond memories for the place.
Originally, a working chook farm, the site was most popular in its iteration as a German restaurant and wedding reception.
"We're looking to try new events," Ms Lunn said. "The deck and beer garden has a capacity of about 200 people, comfortably, and we've been making contact with local musicians for local sessions.
"We've also been looking to sponsor local footy and use local produce.
"It's totally different but we've found the clientele all so friendly and supportive."
They have launched an American-Australian fusion cuisine and are one of the only places to hand-cut their chips.
Ms Lunn said gradually the Nerrina Bar and Restaurant was settling into a rhythm and even the resident ghost had settled, after a few calming words to let them know all was okay.
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