Friday, January 09, 2004

Marble Bar but no beer...

A terrible disaster has occurred in Marble Bar, WA, Australia's hottest town. This place is a tiny outback settlement that nestles, or rather hunkers down trying to find some shade in the Pilbara mountains of northwestern Aussie, the oldest part of the Earth's crust. The Bar was originally a gold-rush town (there's still a small mine not far away), but the bar of "marble" in the river turned out not even to be that. The hills are dark red with oxides and frankly look like Mars. There was - until this week - one pub. The reason I'm going on about this is because I've been there - I worked on Corunna Downs cattle station, about another 30 k's south into the bush, and I drank the most expensive beer of my life in the Ironclad Hotel's bar. The reason being that I had to bribe a mate to drive into town to get some ale - the bribe being a case of beer for his own throat, naturally. Not only that, but these buggers were charging 42 whole Aussie dollars for a slab of 24 stubbies (comparison - I later saw the same ale going for A$20 in Adelaide). So that was 84 bucks already. Mind you, it was a decent dirty boozer and the only pub within 200 miles.

Now - the pub has closed on the poor sods who have to live there! ABC News story
Apparently the temporary manager who was covering for the landlord's holiday quit and skipped town, leaving no-one legally qualified to open the pub. (Unfortunately the Bar's few amenities include the services of a policeman. Otherwise I doubt licensing laws would have held anyone back.) The owners, meanwhile, were held up on their way back by floods on the Great Northern Highway north of Meekatharra (there's a name I didn't I'd ever use again) and are still south of Newman, 300 km short.

Things like that used to happen all the time.

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