One of Australia’s best-known bush pubs is back on the market after a long-awaited sale fell through at the eleventh hour.
The historic Broad Arrow Tavern is a popular tourist destination in the WA Goldfields as well as a much-loved icon among locals. It’s famous not only for being covered in corrugated iron, but also the good-humoured scrawl of the thousands who have visited over the years.
See you at the BAT: The Broad Arrow Tavern is a Goldfields institution. Photo: Supplied
The pub, at 492 Railway Street, Kanowna, also served as the location for filming the Australian movie Nickel Queen in 1971.
Neil Cull, who has owned the hotel for 28 years and has leased it out twice, said an offer and acceptance had been signed in September 2015, with both parties agreeing to a long settlement.
However, four weeks before the scheduled settlement date of June 30, 2016, he had issued a default notice to the purchasers citing failure to comply with the terms of the offer and acceptance. The contract was subsequently terminated.
Because the tavern’s lessee of six years had already left due to the pending sale, Mr Cull had to return to running the business and is seeking a new buyer for the hotel, which is offered as a going concern.
There won’t be a for-sale sign posted outside – “it would just get written on” – and the price tag is $420,000, the same as when it was last put on the market in 2014.
“You’ll never make a million dollars but you can make a living out of it,” he said.
No surface is spared from the scrawled notes of visitors over the years. Photo: Supplied
Gold was discovered in the area in 1893 and the tavern was established in 1896. At its peak a few years later, Broad Arrow had up to 15,000 residents as well as pubs, breweries, shops and community buildings – even a stock exchange.
By the 1920s, after the gold rush, Broad Arrow was abandoned. The hotel is its only remaining building and the site is considered one of Australia’s best known ghost towns.
Nowadays, the clientele is a mix of tourists and the mining industry, which has resumed many local operations in recent years.
The beer garden at the Broad Arrow Tavern is billed as family friendly. Photo: Supplied
The tavern would suit a husband-and-wife team or a family, Mr Cull said, with plenty of comforts including recent renovations and a below-ground swimming pool.
The 7231-square-metre property is 38 kilometres from Goldfields capital of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, about a 20-minute drive along the Kalgoorlie-Leonora Road.
The hotel has a wraparound bar, a beer garden, a fully equipped commercial kitchen and a cold room.
The manager’s residence has two bedrooms, a study and a bathroom. There are three dongas for accommodation, all with bathroom facilities, as well as a separate shared bathroom and laundry. Both the pub and the manager’s quarters have a new roof.
Mines in the region include Norton Gold Fields’ Paddington, Bullant and Enterprise, Swan Gold Mining’s Davyhurst and Excelsior Gold’s Bardoc South.
“With gold being so strong, there’s a lot of positive sentiment in the Goldfields again,” Mr Cull said.
The tavern fields regular bulk pick-up orders for its signature Broady Burger from local mines and has also become a popular destination for motorbike riders.
“It’s not uncommon to have 20 Harley Davidsons sitting out the front on a Sunday, if it’s a nice day,” he said.
Agent Dee Lewis, of Wades First National Kalgoorlie, said there had been “quite a bit” of interest when the tavern was offered for sale in 2014.
Its unique location and the type of business meant it was likely to be bought by a local buyer, rather than an offshore investor – and someone who could secure a loan.
“Because of its isolation and location, whoever buys it needs to have the capital behind them,” she said.
Like many other historical sites in Australia, the Broad Arrow Tavern has a reputation for being home to a few ghosts.
However, Mr Cull reckons it depends on whether you believe in that type of thing.
“The joint creaks a bit at night but so do I,” he said.
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