Jeparit’s sole remaining “watering hole” the Hopetoun House Hotel has closed its doors suddenly, taking the town by surprise.
Without warning on the fourth of August the licencee/publicans, John and Maggie McCready, vacated the premises citing personal and health reasons. However the accommodation is still operating with reservation details still running through the jeparit.com.au website.
Melbourne freehold owner Greg McKay was taken off-guard by the departure of the publicans and had no idea it was coming. “I knew they were having health and personal issues, but it was still a surprise when they shut up shop,” Mr McKay said.
“It’s the town I’m worried about now. When the Hardware and Newsagency burnt down it affected the town, so now without a pub it’s hard to understand how the town will keep going when we keep losing businesses slowly,” Mr McKay said. “It creates a bit of a snowball effect. More and more people decide to leave and no one new comes to town because they can’t get all the services they need. I hope Jeparit doesn’t become a ghost town; that would be really sad.”
Mr McKay is currently looking at all possibilities to see how the Hopetoun House Hotel can continue to run. “I’m trying to find someone suitable to run the hotel or to buy it outright. I’m hoping whichever way it goes that the hotel can give the town what it needs and support all the townspeople,” Mr McKay said. “It’s important for all businesses to keep everything in the town going.”
“I’ve always liked coming up to Jeparit and visiting everyone up there. I’ve tried to get up to Jeparit as much as possible, more often when my daughter ran the hotel for three years,” Mr McKay said.
The Hopetoun House Hotel was first licensed in 1891, but after a fire destroyed the original building it was rebuilt in 1937 to the iconic style of structure it is today. Recently the stables adjoining the hotel were removed, due to a council order, but it still remains a classic example of the era’s architecture.
The town is still reeling from the loss of their mechanic, Bill King, who recently passed away suddenly and is sadly missed. The closure of the hotel is another blow to this small, but vibrant community that remains determined to overcome present obstacles as it has in the past.
“I hope that we can get the pub open again for the sake of the town and all the tourists who might pass through on their way to Lake Hindmarsh or other places. Otherwise they’ll bypass Jeparit and the town will not be what it is now,” Mr McKay concluded.

• The sudden closure of the Hopetoun House Hotel stunned everyone in Jeparit.
• The sudden closure of the Hopetoun House Hotel stunned everyone in Jeparit.