A devastating fire that swept through the small Australian community of Buchan claimed no lives, but destroyed the town’s only pub.
The Caves Hotel was built in 1881 and received its liquor licence on December 11, 1882. However, tragedy struck on April 8, 2014, when a serious bushfire swept through Buchan and razed the pub to the ground.
For a small town in country Victoria, going without a pub had a terrible effect on the local community. “There’s that song about a pub with no beer, but we had it even worse,” said one Buchan local.
The local football clubrooms were converted into a temporary pub, but the venue was not quite right for a pub. Something had to be done, and the locals of Buchan turned to the internet to raise the funds needed to replace their historic drinking spot.
In total, $600,000 was raised through the crowdfunding campaign, which is reportedly the most successful ever launched in Australia. The funds were used to rebuild the Buchan Caves Hotel, and after many months of hard work the soft launch date is planned for December 11, with a grand re-opening scheduled for December 12.
What has made the crowdfunding campaign so notable is the geographic diversity of those contributing. “We received donations from people all around the world: people in Brazil, Russia and even Kenya heard about how our pub burnt down and graciously offered funds,” said a member of the campaign to save Buchan’s pub. “We are eternally grateful and amazed at the generosity of these people.”
Locals are understandably thrilled that their pub will soon be open for business once again. “For the past two years, the nearest pub has been at Nowa Nowa, about 30 kilometres down the road,” said one local. “To have the local pub opening again is a dream come true.”
Times have been tough on the town of Buchan in recent years; in addition to the devastating bushfire that razed the pub, the local timber industry has been going through a tough time as well. “Many mills have shut down and people are out of work. There’s been a gloomy mood throughout Buchan over the last few years, but hopefully the reopening of our pub is a sign things are going to get better now.”
It is hoped that the reopening of the pub will also give tourists a reason to visit the town of Buchan after they spend time at the nearby attraction of the Buchan Caves. This series of limestone caves are a major tourist attraction in the region, with over 100,000 visitors per year. “If we can encourage those tourists to come back to Buchan and have lunch at the pub after visiting the caves, the whole community will benefit.”