Bang Bang Hotel

The small village of Koorawatha is the site of a notable 1864 gun battle between bushrangers and the police. The bushrangers tried to steal race horses from the Bang Bang Hotel – they were thwarted by police. The Bang Bang Hotel was demolished in the 1950’s – a cairn marks the spot where it used to be. It is inconspicuously located on a side street in the township, about half a kilometre west from the A41/Olympic Highway.


On 20 May 1864 Ben Hall, ably assisted by Tom Gordon and Jimmy Dunleavy attempted to hold up the Bang Bang Hotel (demolished in the 1940s) but found themselves involved in a desperate gun battle with two policemen. Hall and his accomplices were forced to retreat.

After this they proceeded to the Bang Bang hotel, and held up all those on the front verandah, instructing them to stay where they were. Two constables Scott and McNamara were at the stables tending their horses and upon seeing this drew their pistols. John Gilbert, the notorious bushranger who was part of Hall’s gang opened fire and fired three shots at the constables who returned fire, advancing towards the mounted bushrangers as they fired forcing Mount and Gilbert to retreat.

While McNamara kept Mount and Gilbert at bay, Scott took careful aim at Hall as he galloped away – and fired. The bullet struck his hat knocking it from his head. Gilbert and Mount galloped after Hall abandoning the robbery.

As you stand at the cairn you can clearly see a range of wooded hills. Older locals of the village still insist that Ben Hall and his gang had many hiding places in caves on the steep wooded range overlooking Koorawatha.

Facilities and Features

The site of the Bang Bang Hotel is close to the Koorawatha Hotel and Koorawatha Falls

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