Beaches Backpackers, at the corner of Torquay Terrace and Denmans Camp Road, is closing after 28 years.
Beaches Backpackers, at the corner of Torquay Terrace and Denmans Camp Road, is closing after 28 years. Karleila Thomsen

Beaches owners move on

JOHN and Sally Bush, the Melbourne newlyweds who chose Hervey Bay 28 years ago to open Beaches, first as a caravan park and motel and latterly for backpackers, shut the door on their Torquay Terrace business at 5pm on Friday.

“We’re getting a life,” former legal secretary Sally told the Chronicle at the weekend.

“It’s been hard work, 24/7, but we’ve made friends from all over the world and been blessed with extraordinarily dedicated and loyal staff.

“Some of our 24 staff here have already found jobs, others will get jobs too.

“They are all good workers.

“It was John who finally made the decision just a few days ago and I agree with him – and for his reasons behind that decision.

“He just said: ‘I don’t think we need this anymore.’

“We’d been camping in central Australia with no mobiles, no computers and it was wonderful.”

John Bush, who confesses he is the first member of his family to have retired in 140 years, said that regulations “will kill off this industry but the authorities don’t want to talk to us, they don’t want to listen”.

“Gambling will take over the hotel industry.

“We will lose more industries like ours to bureaucracy.

“We are the ones who have been bringing people into town who spend their money when they’re here but there is really no encouragement to run a business. It’s at local level and at state level and even some of the federal industrial relations laws can make it difficult.”

On Friday when Beaches Hervey Bay closed, among a handful of Australia’s first backpacker hostels, so did Bay 4WD Hire, Beaches Travel Kings Cross, Beaches Travel Byron Bay and Beaches Travel Brisbane.

“Beaches Airlie Beach and Beaches Travel Airlie Beach will continue to operate as per normal, with Sally and I moving north to oversee the business,” John said.

“It’s a good, pro-active council there and we are right on the main street with a 270-bed hostel and a big bar that is also open to the public.”

Beaches Hervey Bay will be stripped of its demountables and put on the market as a six-storey development block.

On Friday, staff, along with Sally and Caroline, partied well into the night in an emotional wake.

Skip, the family dog, who has come to work every day of his life, stayed home with a rather despondent but philosophical John.

The Bushes, along with daughter Caroline (son Charlie is working in hospitality in Sydney), have nothing but warm feelings for Hervey Bay and the local community.

“It’s been a golden life here,” John said.

“Thank you, Hervey Bay. We will miss you.”

‘It’s been a golden life here. Thank you, Hervey Bay. We will miss you.’



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