The fame of the tiny settlement of Koorawatha lies in the remnants of old buildings and the cairn marking the site of a notable gun battle between bushrangers and the police at the Bang Bang Hotel.

Once a large thriving centre, the village of Koorawatha is gateway to the Koorawatha Falls and Koorowatha Nature Reserve located in the Illunie Range, favoured for bird watching and family picnics. The name Koorawatha is from a Wiradjuri dialect and means ‘A place of pine trees’.

A reserve for a town had been gazetted on the Bang Bang creek, to be named “Koorowatha”, in October 1852. In 1860 the reserve was surveyed and  opened for sale. The town was proclaimed in December 1861 and the Bang Bang Inn was built by Edward Liddiard in the same year.

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.

At the site of the gun battle there is a sign where the old Bang Bang Hotel used to be. It is inconspicuously located by a peppercorn tree in the township, about half a kilometre west from the A41/Olympic Highway.

The Koorawatha Falls are located about 7km from the highway, accessible with extreme care along a extremely uneven dirt track and by 4 wheel drive vehicles only. The falls are at their best after rainfall. During dry periods the falls are less spectactular.

Explore Koorawatha on Map
Things to do in Koorawatha

Image Gallery

Key Highlights

  • Bang Bang Hotel gun battle between Police and Ben Hall
  • Gateway to Koorawatha Falls and Koorowatha Nature Reserve

Other Shire Towns to Explore


Things to do in Koorawatha

Show On Map

Explore Our GoldTrail Towns

Visit Other Towns!