One of the town’s oldest pubs is sold to a local

ABOVE: Mary Bligh, second from the left. with her son on the left and friends at the farwell at the Commercial Hotel on Friday.

Susanna Freymark

Nine years ago, Mary Bligh saw an empty pub in the middle of Casino.

The 1869 Commercial Hotel had been closed for three months and Mary decided to buy it and reopen the doors.

With her brother John Bligh and Allan Michael, Mary had her sights set on turning the Commercial into a true local pub with no pokies, “bloody good food” and live music featuring local talent.

And she did.

“Time has come to hand over the role of custodian of this iconic Casino gem to the new energetic and enthusiastic owners,” Mary said.

“We welcome the Macdonald Family and your new licensee, Marnie Macdonald.”

Mary will still be close by living at Leeville with her mother.

Marnie is a Casino resident and Mary is looking forward to seeing what’s to come as Marnie takes “this beautiful venue to the next level”.

Mary said her farewell at drinks at the Commercial on Friday night.

Today she handed over the keys to the pub she helped renovate.

“To our supporters who have played a part in rebuilding the Commercial, thank you for everything. Whether your contribution was big or small, it was always appreciated,” she said.

A strange incident at the hotel was reported in the Richmond River Express Examiner.

In 1920, it was said a bolt of lightning came through a dining-room window and split one of the tables in half but no other damage was reported.

In Casino this year there has been many changes on the pub scene. The Charcoal Inn has new owners, the Tatts and Oxford Hotels were sold and the Cecil Hotel was put on the market to see what expressions of interest there were.

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