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  • Writer's pictureHelen Avaient

The phoenix of Ora Banda, Western Australia

The abandoned ghost town of Ora Banda is 66kms (41 miles) from Kalgoorlie, and known by many for the infamous and notorious hotel that had been standing there since 1911. Three times the pub has been devastated, and plans are underway for the third reconstruction to happen sometime in 2021. Like the mythical phoenix, it keeps rising from the ashes.

Australia is full of country pubs like this, each with their own unique personality and stories that we love to hear and share.

Many people over the years have quenched their thirst here, often driving from Kalgoorlie for a meal. Friends of mine remember great times at the Inn.

Currently the pub is closed, due to a fire in 2019. The walls are still standing, but the windows are boarded over and the roof is covered by plastic. A chain wire fence keeps people out.

The stone and brick Ora Banda hotel was built in 1911. By 1958 the building was abandoned after mining activities decreased in the area, and the building had been damaged by fire and hailstones.

It was rebuilt and reopened in 1985.

In 2000 Billy Greirson was sitting at a campfire in the old town site and was fatally shot long distance by a high powered rifle. Billy was a member of the Gypsy Jokers motorcycle club, and the Ora Banda hotel owner, Don Hancock, was suspected of his murder. Don’s properties at Ora Banda were fire bombed in retaliation. Don was killed in a car bombing in Perth in 2001.

The hotel was rebuilt and reopened in 2006 by Mike and Rhonda Lucas, then destroyed again in May 2019. This time by fire caused when a mouse chewed through wiring in the roof.

Ora Banda is believed to mean ‘Band of gold’ or ‘Sash of gold’ in Spanish.It is site number 3 on the Golden Quest Discovery Trail.

The Australian flag flies at half-mast at the Inn. Let us hope it flies high when the Lucas’ rebuild and reopen the hotel. Let the beer flow, the meals keep coming, and friends keep visiting.

Happy Travels!

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