Koorawatha, on the northern fringe of the Hilltops region, is 30 minutes from Young and 20 from Cowra.
The picturesque 20-minute drive from Murringo brings you through the Murringo gap in the hills and serves as a dramatic introduction to the fascinating Rift Valley. Koorawatha’s history includes a notable gun battle that took place in 1864 between bushrangers and the police at the Bang Bang Hotel. The gateway to the Koorawatha Nature Reserve and the Koorawatha Falls, the area is favoured for bird watching and bush walks.
BANG BANG HOTEL HEIST
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.