The fascinating history of the iconic ‘Bun Hotel

EARLY DAYS: The hotel at Kaimkillenbun as it was in the early years
EARLY DAYS: The hotel at Kaimkillenbun as it was in the early years Contributed by Ray Humphrys.

STANDING for over a century in the centre of town, the Bun Hotel has been a noted landmark of Kaimkillenbun.

The two-storey building was built from bricks made in the local area. Erected on the black soil flood plain of the north branch of Myall Creek, it has withstood the ravages of over 100 years quite well.

Such a structure may have never been built if the first opinion poll had not been held.

It was in 1908, just a couple of years after the beginnings of the town that a move was made to open a hotel.

A large low set wooden building was erected for that purpose.

However, there was a strong feeling among the community that this would be detrimental to the town. Rev George Tulloch and Peter Findlay led the "no" case and won.

However, three years later Edwin Higgs again applied for a hotel license and this time was successful.

Higgs had the present building erected and also built a single storey brick homestead on his property nearby.

He called the hotel "Kenilworth" after the name of his property and in about 1913 installed the first licensee, Alf Knight. The hotel and homestead were the only brick buildings in the district.

There have been many licensees and owners who kept the hotel going through dry times and floods, the depression and war.

There were some characters over the years.

Two were Ted and Nancy Gould, who owned a flock of sheep that kept their yard man busy grazing them out on the flats. They always had dogs too and some of them were far from friendly, including one they left guarding the bar if they were absent for a time.

The 1981 flood brought water into the building an unheard of event before that.

One evening, a severe wind storm ripped some iron from the roof.

One of the more spectacular damage events took place late one night when a car ploughed through the outer brick wall and ended up halfway into the bar.

In the early 1960s the hotel was modernised and with that came a change of name.

It became the "Bun Hotel"; a name most people used anyway.

Perhaps that was a key to having Kaimkillenbun selected as a location for a television comedy drama Chase Through the Night.

In the movie the town was called "Caribun" and for several weeks the people of Kaimkillenbun were regimented towards making the production.

The Bun Hotel featured prominently. No alterations were needed as its name seemed a shortening of Caribun.

Now it can be said the stars of the movie, Nicole Kidman, John Jarratt and Scott McGregor have all darkened the door of the old Bun Hotel.

Topics:  early days history

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