Brad Solman – known by everyone as Sol – has been a well-known face around Singleton for many years.
After working in the mines for many years, he purchased the Clubhouse Hotel which he and his wife Katrina ran until they recently retired. Sol is also keen on giving back to the community and has been actively involved in volunteer work as well as being the president of the local rugby league club for many years.
I recently chatted with Sol about Singleton, the pub, footy and retirement.
Sol, you’ve lived in Singleton a long time. What do you like about Singleton and the locals?
They’re down to earth. And Singleton itself? You’ve got the best of both worlds: an hour to Newcastle and two hours to the airport in Sydney but you’re not in the hustle and bustle, you’re still in the bush.
Tell us about your time owning the Club House Hotel with your wife, Katrina?
I’d wanted to own a pub since I was about 20, then the opportunity came up and I had a crack at it. I went out for a drink one Friday night then told the missus the next morning that I’d bought a pub! She wasn’t too impressed, but she got over it.
I drank there often enough so I was better off owning one – you might as well make the best of it! And it worked out: we made some money, had some good times.
I hear you’ve recently retired. How’s that going?
I retired early. I was supposed to keep going for another five or six years. At the moment I’m having a ball. I get to spend more time with my grandkids and kids, and I can go to their school functions and sporting activities. I especially enjoy going when they’re playing rugby league.
So you’re still keen on rugby?
League! There is a difference! I did about fifteen years straight with the Singleton Rugby League Seniors. I still get over there and watch the boys, and if anyone wants a hand they’ll often give me a ring to help one way or another, to clean up or mark the field. But I’m following the junior league with my grandkids now. Football’s been my life, really. And prior to me playing, my mum and dad were involved too.
You’re very community-minded. Why is that important to you?
I’ve got nothing else to do so I might as well help out! But if everyone did a little – if they can – it goes a long way doesn’t it? If you can just help out a little it makes it easier for other people.
Can you tell me about the community work you’re doing at the moment?
I’m doing voluntary work with Ourcare, doing medical runs and Meals on Wheels. I help out where possible. It’s putting a little back into the community.
What, in your opinion, are the ingredients for a good life?
You’ve got to have an interest and my interest in sport and beer and meat pies – not necessarily in that order!
Enjoy life while you can. And have a laugh when you can; if you don’t laugh you’ll cry, so you’re better off laughing.
Any advice for anyone who’s about to retire?
I don’t like giving out much advice. Everyone’s got their own thing, they’ll work it out. And if they haven’t worked it out by the time they retire, they’re in trouble! Live life to the fullest; help your kids out when you can; remember money’s not everything.
Do you have any future plans or goals?
Make it to eighty! No, I’ve got no plans – I just take every day at a time. Both my parents are still alive, which is great, and I’d rather be close to them. Going overseas doesn’t interest me – I’m pretty boring when it comes to that sort of thing.
Sol, you’re far from boring! Make sure you look out for Sol next time you’re in town.