Barry McKee passed away last Tuesday.
Barry McKee passed away last Tuesday.

Community mourns former Central hotel owner Barry McKee

THE entertainment and service industry in Bundaberg has received a blow with the passing of former Central Hotel owner, Barry McKee.

One of Mr McKee's close friends, Jamie McCall, described him as the type of bloke who just wanted to help everyone.

"I lived in Bundaberg for a short amount of time, I think it was two years in the end, my wife ended up being there for three years - and we pretty much became Barry's best friends," Mr McCall said.

He said he didn't have much to do with Mr McKee's business side, but they met through common interests and virtually lived next door to each other at Bargara.

"It was more just because we were both from out of town and trying to make Bundaberg and Bargara work," he said.

And while the pair might not have discussed work too much, Mr McCall said it was clear Mr McKee cared about the region, particularly following the floods.

"I know he was particularly disappointed in the fact that after the floods happened he basically thought a lot of the money was going to come back into Bundaberg - but it didn't, just all disappeared straight back down the south coast when all the tradies left," he said.

Mr McKee passed away last Tuesday evening, but he won't be remembered as just a club owner.

"He was just a guy that wanted to help everyone, especially in Bundaberg," Mr McCall said.

"You ask any of the taxi drivers or anyone that picked him up from the airport or anyone that served him a meal at a restaurant - you'd know that if you did the right thing by him, he'd do the right thing by you."

Mr McCall said they were mates rather than colleagues.

"Put it this way - there was 28 people at my wedding and he was one of them," he said.

"The main thing is there's quite a few people in Bundaberg that will miss his business from an entertainment and restaurant and taxi perspective - he loved that place and he loved the people."

While he may have passed, Mr McKee's legacy lives on through the dancefloor and fun at the Central Hotel.



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