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The Independent Voice of
Central West Queensland since 1923
Central West Queensland


15 July, 2020

End of an era and new horizons after Motor Inn sale

AFTER a highly-successful 13-year tenure as owners of the Longreach Motor Inn, Damien and Judy Kennedy have been celebrating since the sale of the acclaimed motel two weeks ago.

By Hamish Hart

New beginnings…(L-R) Longreach Motor Inn’s newest owners Gary and Sommer Scarborough, with help from current manager Sarah Kennedy, have big plans for the local motel after taking over from former hosts Judy and Damien Kennedy.

Based on the Sunshine Coast, the Motor Inn’s new owners, Gary and Sommer Scarborough, have held a multitude of parks within their portfolio, including the Lake Hume Tourist Park situated near the Victoria-New South Wales border.

As the Motor Inn’s fourth owners, the Scarboroughs said they were thrilled to be taking over the Kennedy legacy after maintaining a watchful eye on the region for the past five years.

“If anything, we’re learning from the Kennedys,” Mrs Scarborough said. “We’re thrilled to be taking on a business with such loyalty to its town.

 “We’ve always been incredibly impressed by the Longreach region, the tourism sector and its wonderful people. When tourists ask locals for a place to stay in town, the Motor Inn is their first recommendation.

“Little did we know the Motor Inn would become apart of our lives.”

The Scarboroughs said they were ready and willing to support the community with assistance from current manager and daughter of Damien and Judy, 26-year old Sarah Kennedy, who will remain in the role.

“Sarah is someone who really understands this region and its local clientele,” Mrs Scarborough said. “We are sure that the locals will appreciate her familiar face as well.

“With such a large business, things take time to prepare. We get calls from people every day, often the same, asking if Harry’s Restaurant is open for business.

“We promise all that we’re working as quickly as we can and can’t wait to open Harry’s up to the incredible locals and tourists as soon as possible.”

Last week, Damien and Judy Kennedy looked back on the Motor Inn’s establishment in 1986 by Paul and Marty Smith.

The couple celebrated the Smith’s achievements, and their own, expressing gratitude to the community for its earnest support.

“It is so important to Judy and I that we say thank you,” Mr Kennedy said. “It was an absolute privilege to serve our local people.

“We have received unbelievable support over the years. From local faces dining at Harry’s, to tourism operators recommending our accommodation, to the same travelling workers staying with us time and time again — we couldn’t have done it without you.

“We’ve had amazing staff over the years too, with some of our people being with us since the very beginning.

“It has been a real blessing to run this business in such a wonderful community.”

The Kennedys said that along with Harry’s Restaurant, the Motor Inn had been demanding.

“We’re dealing with experts on a daily basis” Mr Kennedy said. “We appreciate that everyone is the expert client and the expert patron.

“We felt it was the right time to exit. For the past 13 years we’ve built the business to where it is now and we are a bit tired.”

Although they are looking forward to some downtime, the Kennedys said they would be kept busy by maintaining popular tourist attraction, Saltbush Retreat, alongside David and Tanya Neal.

“We’re staying in Longreach and will be kept busy at Saltbush Retreat.”

Damien and Judy Kennedy congratulate the new owners of the Longreach Motor Inn and are looking forward to supporting its famed restaurant from a different perspective.

“We do look forward to eating at Harry’s Restaurant,” Mr Kennedy said. “We won’t need to worry about whether the beer is cold enough or the meals are hot enough. We can enjoy it like we never have before.

“We wish Gary and Sommer all the best. It’s been a wonderful adventure.”

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