Two and half years after the town of Buchan lost its only pub, the new and world’s first crowd-funded Caves Hotel will be reborn tomorrow.
A fire razed the landmark local pub on the night of 8 April, 2014. The accident saw the town of Buchan lose its meeting place and pit-stop for passing tourists.
“Men stood in the streets in their pyjamas and cried,” town resident Lyndel “Lindi” Moore told PubTIC.
Moore initiated a community meeting and proposed a crowd-funding campaign to get money for a new pub. Nearly half the town of 400 people turned up, and while many thought she was mad the motion was embraced and the cry of “Let’s build a pub” began.
The goal was to raise $600,000 in 60 days for a new structure on the existing land, still owned by a local.
The end of the campaign in August, 2015, saw donations from 1,694 supporters, garnering $605,146. On top of that, many businesses and local residents offered help, donations and materials in place of an online pledge.
Moore vowed construction would soon begin in earnest on the first crowd-funded pub in the world.
Sixteen months later, the all-new Caves Hotel will open its doors Thursday (8 December) to a special crowd.
“We’ll open tomorrow,” publican and part-owner Greg Brick hesitantly told PubTIC. “But it’s more of a locals thing … the support on social media has been huge, and we’d get slammed if we advertised it to everyone!
“We’re happy it’s gone that way, but Buchan is a small town. Everyone is welcome, and if you’re thinking of dropping by, please do and say Hello, but do us a favour and hold off a while.”
Brick also owns a plumbing business, which he reports has “taken a bit of a battering” while he is neck-deep in final preparations for reopening the pub.
His ‘partner’ in the business is the community of Buchan, with incredible local support arising from the realisation that without the pub the town would fade away.
The crowd-funding agreement dictates profits will be cycled back into the town. There are plans to support the football club, bush nursing services, the Country Fire Authority and Buchan School.
Buchan is around 350 kilometres south-east of Melbourne.
A pub first opened at the site of Caves Hotel in 1882. On Monday (12 December) it will proudly re-open to the public again.