Black Rhino (George) Pty. Ltd. is set to take over the management of Millicent’s second-oldest business. The company is going through the regulatory processes to obtain the liquor and gaming machine licences of the George Hotel.
The Liquor and Gaming Commissioner will convene a licence transfer hearing in Adelaide on July 29. The new owner is understood to be associated with the Black Rhino Group which already has 20 hotels in Victoria. Earlier this year it entered the South Australian hospitality market by purchasing hotels at Port Adelaide and Port Pirie.
The George has traded for almost 150 years and is second only in longevity terms in Millicent to the Somerset Hotel. The publican since 2019 has been Robbie Warren who is well-known for filling this role at the Tantanoola Tiger hotel from 1985-88 and then for around 30 years at the Commercial Hotel in Mount Gambier.
Mr Warren has long had a financial stake in The George with other partners. The George Street premises had a number of selling points including a front bar with TAB, substantial upstairs manager’s quarters and off-street parking. It had a change of name in 2020 as well as substantial renovations to its interior and exterior.
Formerly known as the “Sporties” and other names, it was erected in the 1870s after the licence of the Old Bush Inn at Mt Burr was transferred to Millicent. Arguably its most famous overnight guest was late English novelist and scientist H.G. Wells who spent one night there in 1939. It hosted the then-Governor of South Australia at a vice-regal luncheon in 1879 to mark the opening of the Beachport/Rivoli Bay rail line.