Past and present pubs to be part of west’s tourist attraction

Cobar’s Empire Hotel looked a bit different back in c1915. ▪ Photo from the Great Cobar
Museum collection

Cobar’s past and present pubs are set to become tourist attractions as part of a project currently underway by the Far North West Joint Organisation (FNWJO).

A travelling team will visit Cobar next Wednesday to undertake a stakeholder workshop for the Far West Historic Hotels Touring Route which is being prepared for the FNWJO member Councils of Bourke, Cobar and Walgett Shires.

Chairman of the FNWJO Councillor Barry Hollman said the Hotels Touring Route project is being undertaken by Gidgee Media and headed up by well-known Bourke local Andrew Hull.

“Andrew has a long history of storytelling in Western NSW from the Opal Fields of Lightning Ridge right across the Cobar Peneplain including working with touring routes like the Darling River Run,” Cr Hollman said.

He explained the project aims to celebrate and encourage visitors to explore the history, heritage, and contemporary values of the Great Australian Bush Watering Hole.

“The Aussie pub is as iconic to the Australian Outback landscape as red dirt.

“Across the Local Government Areas of Walgett, Bourke and Cobar, there are hundreds of sites where pubs once stood, and while we can’t access many of these sites, it’s important that the fascinating stories attached to them are recorded and told,” Cr Hollman said.

“These stories form an important part of the area’s history and should not be lost.

“The legacy of their existence and the sites of what remains are like remote monuments to the development of modern Australia and the identity of the Outback.

“They are like an archive holding the story of Western NSW during this development period.”

Mr Hull said the entire Gidgee Media team has a strong connection to the region and a deep passion for the area.

“The team are also working with local historians, photographers and, most importantly, local storytellers, so the narrative of the region gets told by the people of the region – that’s really important,” Mr Hull said.

“The project team has already been busy gathering information but they want local residents to have their say and the stakeholder workshops are an opportunity for people to provide additional information and stories.”

Cr Hollman encourages anyone who has any information, stories, family folklore, or photographs which could add to the project to attend next week’s information session.