Railway Hotel changes hands as new owners Ben, Narelle Cochrane take over

NEW ERA: Ben Cochrane outside the Railway Hotel in Millthorpe, he and his family officially took over ownership on Monday. Photo: MARK LOGAN
NEW ERA: Ben Cochrane outside the Railway Hotel in Millthorpe, he and his family officially took over ownership on Monday. Photo: MARK LOGAN

A new era began at the Railway Hotel on Monday as the Cochrane family officially took ownership of Millthorpe's famous 'bottom pub', securing the property in an off-market purchase following lengthy negotiations.

The Railway hosted a final celebration on Saturday night to farewell previous owner David Mutton before the Cochranes took over this week, with both parties preferring not to disclose the value of the off-market purchase.

The value of the purchase is expected to the revealed in the coming weeks however historical records report the property, set on a block of approximately 1350 square metres, was last sold in August of 2014 for nearly $750,000.

We love the town, we always have ... it's a growing area and I think it will continue to grow.

Ben Cochrane

Ben Cochrane confirmed the purchase was finalised after negotiations began earlier this year and said it comes as a result of extended interest in the Millthorpe area, in fact it's somewhat of a homecoming for his mother Narelle.

The Cochranes also own Orange's Parkview Hotel while Ben is also the founder and owner of Parrot Distilling Co which, after taking flight in 2019, opened its cellar door in Endsleigh Avenue last year.

"Mum's actually from Millthorpe, so it definitely is a bit of a homecoming," he said.

"We love the town, we always have, so we'd earmarked it as a place we'd like to get involved in because it's a growing area and I think it will continue to grow.

"We think we can really bring something that will complement Millthorpe and then Orange as well."

Mr Cochrane said plans for some renovations and upgrades are in the works at the Railway Hotel, which started life as the Family Hotel in 1898 before a name-change some 15 years later.

"We'll look to do some refurbishments as time goes on, extending the dining space and making a few upgrades," Mr Cochrane said.

"We're looking at potentially putting in a children's playground too, to take advantage of such a family friendly space."

With Millthorpe also a booming tourist destination, Mr Cochrane said locals of the town's 'bottom pub' need not worry, the focus will be on ensuring the venue remains a fixture of the local community.

"In the day-to-day, it'll be all about the locals," he said.

"We'll bring in a few things like memberships, clubs and that sort of thing as well, to look after them."

The Railway Hotel is open for business although the kitchen is closed for a few days, it's expected to re-open on Friday boasting a similar - albeit limited, initially - menu to that of the Parkview Hotel, the Orange establishment's chef will run the kitchen.

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