The Creekside Hotel was formerly known as The Commercial Hotel, Warracknabeal
The hotel was built at its current site in 1870. Fire destroyed the original building the same year it was constructed so a one-storey brick building was rebuilt soon after. Owners added the second storey during renovations in 1891.
Kevin and Sally Gebert took ownership of The Commercial Hotel in Warracknabeal in Western Victoria’s Wimmera district on October 3, 2011.
We closed the hotel for 10 weeks for renovations with an aim to open by Christmas. It was all hands on deck to create a contemporary open-plan, light-filled space with stylish furnishing and quality appliances. Community members, friends and family pitched in to help. Being embraced by the community was a sign of things to come. Renovation plans centred on achieving the full effect of the waterfront location. We removed walls in the bar area to allow expansive, uninterrupted views of the picturesque Yarriambiack Creek. We also created an expansive indoor-outdoor space and installed big windows to capture as much natural light as possible.
It was also important to retain original character of the hotel. Go to our Facebook page to see some before and after photos of our renovations!
When we discovered old newspapers underneath the floorboards we carefully removed them. These newspapers are now framed and on the wall for people to read and there is always someone standing at the newspaper wall catching up on old news!
Sally is also a keen collector of clocks: I am thrilled with so much wall space to fill with clocks I collect on my travels around Australia and overseas.
As we got into the swing of running a hotel we were encouraged by incredible community support for our new venture. We were also recognised in several major awards.
On May 26, 2013 we hosted the inaugural Creekside Food Fest and used the occasion to launch our new name: The Creekside Hotel. The name choice was inspired by the creekside location and to highlight that it’s the only hotel in the whole of the Wimmera with water views. The name has extra significance because the creek played an important part in our decision to move here in the first place. It was an Easter weekend where we spent the whole time alongside the creek that we first started talking about buying the hotel. The name is also an extension of our approach to renovations which centred on retaining the hotel’s original character while achieving the full effect of the waterfront location.
Everywhere you look you can see the creek.
2014 was a busy year at The Creekside. The second annual Creekside Food Fest on the last Sunday in May doubled in size from the previous year, and we won a major Victorian business award and reached the finals of the state’s most prestigious hotel awards. We were also part of a Victorian Government campaign called Good Move, which focusses on the many benefits of living in regional Victoria. You can view a short film here.
The Australasian Barbecue Alliance selected The Creekside to host one of only three BBQ competitions in Australia, which will bring hundreds of American-style ‘low and slow’ barbecue enthusiasts, their friends and families, to the Wimmera for one of the biggest and best barbecuing competitions in the country.