Birdsville Hotel owners purchase iconic Birdsville Bakery

New owners of the Birdsville Bakery want to bring the outlet back into production and boost tourism opportunities in the region. Photo: Sally Gall.
New owners of the Birdsville Bakery want to bring the outlet back into production and boost tourism opportunities in the region. Photo: Sally Gall.

The world might be in global shutdown mode but the tiny Simpson Desert community of Birdsville isn't.

The town's getting its back back!

The Ellis family, who purchased the Birdsville Hotel in January for around $6 million, are the new owners of the renowned bakery built by Robert 'Dusty' Miller in Queensland's far south west.

Mr Miller retired from baking and sold the business to Martin Josselyn, Diamantina Holdings, for $1.2 million in March 2017.

Diamantina Holdings was subsequently placed into liquidation and the bakery has been closed for almost a year.

Birdsville Hotel general manager Ben Fullagar said owners Courtney and Talia Ellis had been throwing the idea of purchasing the bakery around for some time.

"They knew its closure was a sore point with locals and tourists alike," he said. "It's important to have things to do here outside of the pub, and that the more there is to do, the more people will stay."

They will be building on the iconic pub's strong brand, its buying power and the knowledge of existing staff and the management team in place to grow the bakery.

The fact that they can't immediately open it, thanks to coronavirus pandemic control measures, wasn't a deterrent, according to Mr Fullagar.

The temporary inability to trade will give them a chance to modernise the point of sale area, spruce up the exterior, and look for a baker.

"We want to hear from any bakers out there looking for a sea-change," Mr Fullagar said.

They also want to pay tribute to Dusty Miller's legacy and keep his renowned camel pies on the menu if possible.

Although Mr Miller died in 2018, Mr Fullagar said they had a great relationship with his son Adrian, to facilitate the sharing of the recipe.

"We don't want to get it wrong - it's important that we keep Dusty's legacy alive," he said. "We'll try and have exceptional coffee and food options, and hot cooked breakfasts when we can open to full capacity."

They would need to see restrictions lifted to a point where people were once again able to travel to the region before they could open properly, but have been thinking of soft opening options once they can legally trade again.

Otherwise they may be able to bake their fare and sell it through the hotel.

Birdsville has a permanent population of around 120 people but that swells to many thousands when major events such as the Birdsville Races and Big Red Bash music festival are on.

This story Birdsville has its bakery back first appeared on Queensland Country Life.