The Bogong Hotel

In December 2002, I was invited to a friends (Laurene) birthday where I met Dusty. A month later we were invited to to his hometown where I would be able to meet his family. A lot of nerves, apprehension and laughter (mostly on Dusty and his mate’s behalf at how scared I was!) later,I was welcomed into their home and their lives (even if his family are Collingwood supporters!).Dusty and his mates showed me around the town – boys being boys, one of the first places I was shown, was the historic Bogong Hotel – the ‘best pub in the area’ in Tawonga about 5 minutes or so out of Mount Beauty.

In the nine years Dusty and I have been together since, there have been many a night spent there – either having a cold one with the boys or celebrating a local’s birthday. If there was ever a celebration to be had – it’s likely it was held at The Bogong. Many a happy memory was created there. It was, as it’s motto say “The way country pubs should be” – there was never a dull moment at The Bogong.

The Bogong Hotel

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the 5th December 2011, Dusty awoke to a text message from his cousin Travis “Hey I know it’s early, but have you heard the shitty news? The Bogong Pub is totally stuffed, burnt down last night :(”

Dusty looking at the damage

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cue shocked silence. You could have heard a pin drop. A quick run downstairs, jump onto the computer to look for the news and there it was in black and white. “Fire razes historic country pub”. Well it doesn’t get any plainer than that. The Bogong was gone.

Dusty was lucky enough to make it back to Mount Beauty for Christmas this year. It’s been a while since that happened – 4 years in fact as work has had him rostered on – so home he went, he went to the country club for his cold beer, but when I asked him about his trip, the response I got was -“it wasn’t the same”. Like any good country pub, The Bogong was the place to be.

The place to have a cold one no longer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We headed back to Mount Beauty last week – it’s been a year since I was last there (not through lack of trying!) and as we arrived late in the night, we stopped by to take a look – obviously not seeing much, but enough visible in car headlights to know that it was badly scarred.

Outside scars of The Bogong

 

 

 

 

 

 

On our second last day there, we headed back in the late afternoon. I thought I’d take my camera along for the ride – what after all is a blog without pictures? When we arrived, it was eerie. The roof was caving in, the sign was smoke damaged, the plants were burned but coming back to life… Rising from the ashes I guess.

Poor plants

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’re probably wondering why I’m writing about a pub at this point. The reason is purely for my own records and to show those who won’t see it before it is bulldozed. But mostly to remember the good times that were had. Which is where this next bit of “Bogong History” comes in.
As we wandered onto the Kiewa Valley Highway side of the pub, we noticed a bunch of people (women presumably) had hooked up their bra’s to the security fencing – about halfway along there was a rather large cupped bra that said “We hung out at The Bogong”. Well, I’ve gotta say at this point I was laughing more than a bit, and wondering what the FULL story was.

We Hung Out At The Bogong

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh and I know what you’re all thinking and the answer is No. I did consider leaving my bra up on that fence, but alas, I wasn’t that brave!

Anyways – back to the story…

Jackie, Dusty’s mum works in the local hospital, and she did a bit of sleuthing for us to find out if anyone knew what the go was with the bras. The story goes as follows:

Every summer, there’s around 13 or so women aged from 30-60 who come up to the area and stay at the Tawonga Caravan Park a short trek from The Pub. These women would head to the Bogong on one night of their stay, drink a bit, and then they’d get a little crazy and dance on the tables and – you guessed it ripped their tops and bras off, giving the locals an eyeful and – hanging out at The Bogong!

Jackie and Dusty Looking at the Bras

 

 

 

 

 

 

These women came up on their annual getaway to find their watering hole had burnt down. I can’t think of a better way for them to celebrate it’s memory (though I can imagine that there were a few funny looks from cars passing by as they were ‘dressing’ the fence!

13 Bra's in Total hung off the fence

13 Bra's in total hung off the fence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, The Bogong has gone, and reports since have stated that it wasn’t a spontaneous fire caused by bad wiring in a building of around 125 years stature, but arson. It makes me angry and sad that someone livelihood has been taken from them, that stories will be lost in the ashes. Will those women who ‘hung out’ at the Bogong return now they know it’s gone? Will the pub ever be rebuilt, to come back from the ashes like a phoenix? Will the town’s economy struggle even more because times that were already tough are even moreso now?

They are questions that I guess I can’t answer, but I sure hope those footloose and fancy free women come back, that those stories hidden in the walls are resurrected and that soon enough the Bogong will be pouring another cold one for the locals.

May the Bogong always be remembered as the place to be when times were tough, and where the cool kids “hung out”

Farewell you little beauty and may you soon rise again.

Carlton Draught Sign

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3 Comments

  1. Jeanette Smith

     /  January 12, 2012

    A big loss to that community, I hope they are able to rebuild.

    Reply
  2. Kate

     /  February 2, 2014

    Was googling the bogong as I was starting to forget what my old Friday night local looked like, came across this blog, brought a tear to my eye. Funny how much a pub means to people. Great piece and pics 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi Kate,

      Sorry about the delayed reply!

      Glad this piece hit home for you. It was a great little pub and it’s sorely missed.

      Are you a local of Mt Beauty?? My Fiance is from there – you probably know him lol 🙂

      Reply

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