‘Last Great Territory Publican’, Max Oldfield, dies

In Alcohol, Australian Cultural Exports, Australian Domestic Tourism, National Headlines, Northern Territory

PICTURE: The Paraway in Katherine, and Max Oldfield, Publican. The “last great Territory publican”, a lover of racehorses, and a crying shoulder for international singers, has died. Mr Oldfield was involved in many Territory establishments, including Darwin bars the Frontier Hotel, the Top End Hotel, the Hunypot, The Hot Rock, and the Paraway in Katherine. “He was a much-loved gentleman of the hospitality industry,” friend and fellow hotelier Justin Coleman said.

From the NT News

Gentleman of pub trade dies age 74

THE “last great Territory publican”, a lover of racehorses, and a crying shoulder for international singers, has died.

Max Oldfield, 74, passed the post for the last time on Sunday after a heart attack following complications from bone cancer treatment.

Mr Oldfield was involved in many Territory establishments, including Darwin bars the Frontier Hotel, the Top End Hotel, the Hunypot, The Hot Rock, and the Paraway in Katherine.

He also owned El Questro Station in the Western Australia Kimberley for a period, where he once comforted singer Kylie Minogue through a hard patch with sister Dannii.

Mr Oldfield was born into a large family in Perth and moved to Sydney where he bought and sold pubs before making his way to Darwin.

His friend and fellow Darwin hotelier Justin Coleman, with whom he owned several dozen horses, said they shared a love of the turf.

The pair had just bought three horses for the coming season: Next In Line, Verse Man, and Ready Steady Vetti.

But he made his mark on the Top End by making sure nobody had a dry glass.

“He was a much-loved gentleman of the hospitality industry,” Mr Coleman said.

“He was probably the true sense of a publican. He was the last great publican.”

Mr Coleman said Mr Oldfield was popular because of how well he treated others.

“One thing about Max was nobody had a hardly a bad word to say about him,” Mr Coleman said.

“He was the nicest man you’ll ever meet. He knew he didn’t have that long to go but he kept a brave face on.”

Mr Oldfield’s favourite horse was Little Cashie which won eight races in Adelaide and one in Melbourne.

He died at one of his homes in Coffs Harbour where he was buried yesterday. He also owned an apartment situated on Darwin’s Esplanade.

The Farewell To Max Oldfield Handicap will be run at Fannie Bay tomorrow and there will be a tribute at Darwin Turf Club next Friday.

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