ALICE, ALICE, WHO THE F%#& IS ALICE?!?
Farewell party for publicans Herbie & Jane Horsnell as they depart their beloved Scenic Hotel
It was the end of an era and a party to end all parties. The faithful joined David (Herbie) and Jane Horsnell and family to celebrate 26 years of owning and operating their adored Scenic Hotel. It was abundantly clear that the patrons and guests have a great affection for the Horsnells and you get a sense that they will be truly missed around here.
Nestled in the Eastern Adelaide Hills, a short drive from the CBD at Norton Summit, is a favourite hotel for locals and visitors alike. Founded in the 1870s with historic character, inviting ambience, and a balcony with superb views over the valley toward Adelaide, the Hotel is unique. It’s exterior is typical of late 19th century architecture with the interior appreciated by all who visit. The Scenic Hotel is much more than a typical Adelaide hills pub and the Horsnells more than your typical publicans.
But enough chit chat ….
Let’s get this party started!!
This night, the iconic hotel was closed to the public for the private function. Decorations were hung, kegs were tapped, the band was sound checked and the good times flowed.
Expertly opening the night’s entertainment was local lad Ben Gillard.
Followed by Dave Gleeson, front man of legendary Australian bands, The Screaming Jets and The Angels, who was joined on stage with his best mates Crafty, Matt and Athol.
The hits flowed as fast as the beer and as this was a private function, people danced for the first time in many Covid months. We danced, we sang, we laughed and we danced some more.
Dave and Crafty have an obvious mateship and respect for each other and are both as funny as you know what. Crafty is one very, very intelligent musician. They performed hit after hit and had us laughing in the aisles between songs. A highlight of the night was when The Angels base player Sam Brewster joined the guys on the stage for a few songs.
Another was when they performed the old Smokie hit, Living Next Door to Alice, including all the crowd response lines. It was a funny, sad, happy, emotional sing-a-long because we were actually saying goodbye to Alice Horsnell, daughter of Herbie and Jane.
Heartfelt speeches ensued followed by a brilliant display of fireworks, a very fitting way to end the night and also signal the end of an era.
David and Jane Horsnell have owned the pub since 1994 when they moved from the Bridgewater Hotel.
Prior to that they were at the Stirling Hotel.
Now we wish them all the best they go onto new adventures.
Publocation had this to say about The Scenic …
“So Near … Yet so Far …
In case you haven’t heard… this is one of the best kept secrets going around, fifteen minutes from King William Street, you’re lost in the country eating on a balcony looking down a valley to Adelaide. Magnificent.
The setting, the organisation, the food and the smiling people are as good as it gets!!!”
Norton Summit is an Adelaide Hills town named after Robert Norton, who arrived in South Australia shortly after its proclamation.
Just after that in 1839 a John Horsnell arrived in Adelaide. There is an interesting link between the Horsnell name and the now famous Penfold Hermitage wines.
One day whilst tending his orchard, John was gored by a bull. His neighbour was Dr Christopher Rawson Penfold and after tending to his injuries, Dr Penfold employed John to plant grapevines which he had brought to Australia from France.
The year was 1844 and Christopher Penfold named it ‘The Grange Vineyard’.
John Horsnell and his wife Elizabeth raised their fourteen children in the house which still stands in what we now know as Horsnell Gully.
Reece Warren, the young photographer at the party has four siblings – three of them work at The Scenic, Sahara behind the bar, Khyton in the Kitchen and Tierym as a glassy. They hope to stay on at the hotel and I’m sure Reece’s 8 year old brother Pheonix will be working there in no time!!
Herbie, Jane and Alice may be moving on but The Scenic will continue to be a fabulous asset to this hills community.
You may even see a rock’n’roll singer playing pool, having a beer in the bar or a sneaky ciggie in the courtyard.
From mid November the hotel will be have new management.
We wish them all the best as they become caretakers of the next chapter of The Scenic Hotel story.