Oasis Exchange Hotel: A New Frontier for Torrens Creek and the Flinders Region

Torrens Creek has a fascinating history. Discovered in 1862 by the intrepid William Landsborough during the search for Burke and Wills, Torrens Creek bears the name of Sir Robert Torrens, Premier of South Australia. From the arrival of the Great North Railway in 1885, the town evolved into a vital supply centre, becoming the pulse of a once sprawling district. Torrens Creek also had its small chapter in the Coral Sea conflict of World War Two when the town was nearly blown apart when a huge allied ammunition dump exploded. Today the town is a sleepy stop on the Flinders Highway but one well worth the effort if you’re starting on finishing your sojourn in outback Queensland. Home to hidden, but fabulous artworks, friendly locals, and an entry point to Moorrinya National Park and White Mountains National Park. But, locals and travellers alike have definitive and exciting reasons to spend time in the town. The Oasis Exchange Hotel! 

Above: Just some of the hidden mural artworks waiting to be discovered in Torrens Creek

A new chapter is unfolding at the Oasis Exchange Hotel driven by owner and entrepreneur Priscilla. To get all the latest insights we got five minutes with Priscilla the latest torchbearer of this iconic establishment to share in her journey, intertwining the rich history of Torrens Creek with a vision for a vibrant future.

After living in the Flinders Shire for 12 months Priscilla and partner Col purchased the Torrens Creek Hotel. Their diverse experiences came to the forefront of the undertaking.

“I was a finance manager for a construction firm and a bookkeeper with about a dozen clients as a side gig. My background is in hospitality, starting at Sizzler at 13 years old and moving into management roles in my early 20s. Everything I’ve done, hospitality and finance, has led me to this. I’m in the final stages of completing my MBA specialising in Entrepreneurship.” 

Motivated by the freedom small businesses offer, the duo emphasises that they don’t just see themselves as “publicans.” The responsibility of running the show is passed on to partner, Col, an experienced business owner.

“Col has owned and operated a fish and chip shop and a bakery simultaneously. He also has a green thumb and is continuously adding to greenery and plant life, helping to make our place so appealing.”

The hotel has also become a community hub, offering a diverse range of services for locals and travellers.  

“We are a one-stop-shop providing a bistro and bar service as well as a cafe, campsite, petrol station, motel, and caravan park. We are fully air-conditioned, and our beer is on tap.” 

Opposite: Some of the graffiti left by travellers over the years

But the duo are by no means resting on their laurels and are determined to give back to the community which they now call home.

“We feel strongly about growing and improving our community and as such have implemented many initiatives. We hold a monthly market on the first Saturday of each month. We don’t charge visitors to come in and we don’t charge stallholders to attend, 100% of what they sell goes back to the vendor.”

The Oasis has also started several initiatives to help the community like their donation board where customers can purchase a drink or a meal for those doing it hard. They’ve even just started offering affordable healthy frozen meals and delivery.

On top of this, the duo are working hard on different fronts to help improve the area, including; tenders, and movie nights for the community and they have arranged for TMR to implement a Town Entry Treatment initiative that will hopefully slow down traffic speeding past the Torrens Creek Community playground. The excited team have focused intently on the community and will continue their support in the region. 

Offering advice to anyone thinking of giving it a go in the Flinders region, the owners suggest, “Look for opportunities and ask for help when needed. The council has been great to us, assisting with signage and regularly purchasing catering and accommodation services from us, so it’s great to have their support.”

As part of their vision for the future, the owners extend a unique opportunity: a free-of-charge shop with highway frontage for a go-getter willing to provide essential services to the community and tourists.

“We have an empty shop with highway frontage that we are offering free of charge – no rent, just contribute towards electricity. Ideal for a real go-getter. We would love to put someone in or a combination of people in the shop that can provide not only the immediate community but the nearby stations with services such as hair/barber, nails, waxing, and massage. There is also a huge opportunity with the tourists coming from April to September.”

Above: A traveller gets a well cold drink at the Oasis Exchange Hotel

Reflecting on her time in Torrens Creek, Priscilla has already created some cherished moments, like families returning and children writing on the pub’s walls, creating a generational connection. “It’s always nice when we get a family in and the parents show their children where they have written on our walls, then the children write on the walls and one day maybe their children will too. We’re part of that!”

What’s next for Priscilla and Col? The pair are determined to make the Oasis Hotel Torrens Creek an iconic outback watering hole. The pair envision the Oasis Exchange Hotel becoming as iconic as other great Aussie pubs like “Dog on a Tucker Box in Gundagai”. Or the old Barcoo.

In any case, you can count on seeing a warm greeting and a cold drink when you make the effort and head to Torrens Creek.

See you in Hughey.

Learn more about the Oasis Exchange Hotel – HERE

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