The old Wallangarra Hotel has been transformed into a women's refuge.
The old Wallangarra Hotel has been transformed into a women's refuge. Contributed

A pub with no beer

WHEN Kerrie Mackie closed the Wallangarra Hotel, she wanted to do something special.

She figured the world had more than enough pubs, but what it really needed was a safe haven for people doing it tough.

With middle-aged women the fastest growing demographic of homeless people after years of giving up so much for their families, there was an important need for stable and affordable accommodation.

She partnered with local agencies like Safe Haven Community to open her doors to women in dire need who didn't fit the criteria for their assistance, or that needed the stability of longer-term housing.

Mrs Mackie works nights as a security guard in Stanthorpe, returning home each day for a quick nap and busy days filled with helping others.

She has been inspired to watch women pull themselves from the pits of despair to thrive in her former pub.

She puts all her resources into the place, doing her best to keep it in good order so women going through the toughest times in their lives have little to worry about beyond paying the modest rent she charges.

The only flies in the ointment were the desperately outdated bathrooms and the lack of transport so she could take "her girls" on outings and help with the healing process.

Mrs Mackie has been reluctant to ask for help as she was always used to doing everything for herself.

Good friend and Safe Haven Community founder Denise Hunter contacted the Stanthorpe Border Post on her behalf, knowing she would never ask for help on her own.

"The bathrooms are 1950s and just need a spruce up," Mrs Mackie said when contacted.

"A real plumber could give them a bit of a spruce up and I've even got stacks of tiles here, but I'm not a tiler and I just don't know how to ask.

"I've never been a dole bludger and I've never asked for help in my life."

 

If any tradesmen have materials, skills or time to donate to the cause, please phone Mrs Mackie on 0409058997.

Stanthorpe Border Post

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