Five years after it burnt to the ground, Eugowra’s historic Fat Lamb Hotel will be brought back to life, brick by brick.
RELATED: Historic Fat Lamb goes up in flames
With four new co-owners, including Ben Mulley, Gordon Hurry and Dan Buttriss, the current ‘eye-sore’ is set to be restored to it’s former glory in just months.
“It’s a huge project, but we weren’t deterred. It is madness in other people’s eyes,” Mr Mulley said.
What will the pub look like?
The venture will see the front facade rebuilt using bricks from the original structure.
“80,000 bricks will be hand cleaned, packed and re-purposed,” he said.
The restoration will also involve a shed built behind the facade to house the bar, which will be built from re-purposed bricks and granite.
“We are wanting to sell brick sized pieces of Eugowra granite, to be scribed with family names to be interspersed into the bar with the bricks. People will become a part of the bar, a part of the Fat Lamb,” Mr Mulley said.
Other features of the ‘Fatty’ will include a plexiglass floor to allow patrons to walk above illuminated historic underground cellars, a shearing stand, a memorabilia collection and a 9-hole Par 3 golf course out the back, designed by Forbes golfer John Betland.
“We’re a Central Western pub, we’re in one of the biggest sheep growing regions. We want shearing stands for non-rural kids and even rural kids who have never seen a sheep shorn before. We want the place to be family oriented,” Mr Mulley said.
“But we don’t want to rush the idea. We don’t want to miss quirky features or things that could add to the atmosphere. We’re open to any ideas from anyone. It’s a pub for all of us.”
Transport to The Fat Lamb Hotel is also on the cards, with talk of a routine bus service providing safe transport from Parkes to Eugowra.
“One of the main things we want to get up and running is a bus service,” Mr Mulley said.
Where do they begin?
Mr Mulley said the next six weeks will consist of getting the pub back down to its foundations.
“The number one priority is to get this green grass back, to get the place manicured and turn it from being an eyesore into a project so people can physically see the process.
“We will use what is existing that has been deemed structurally sound by engineers,” he said.
Why did the men decide to rebuild it?
A fifth generation Eugowra man, Ben was inspired to rebirth the ruins of the beloved pub years ago.
“The Fat Lamb was the figurehead of this town. It’s what put Eugowra on the map,” he said.
“It’s a place of Australian history, the word iconic is immediately attached to the Fat Lamb.”
After an unsuccessful attempt to buy the place himself several years ago, an afternoon with a few mates last year marked the beginning of a new chapter for ‘The Fatty’.
“We were drinking beer and talking about what we could do. We’re firm believers in drinking beer and laughing, the idea was brought up then,” Mr Mulley said.
Eight months of negotiations later and the men held The Fat Lamb’s fate in their hands.
“I think the biggest challenge or hurdle was buying the pub. It was just the anticipation of securing it. The day that we got it was a great day.”
Why was The Fat Lamb so iconic?
Mr Mulley’s nostalgia of the pub’s golden days and the locals and travellers it brought in, is what motivated him to get the iconic pub back up and running.
“I’ve had an affinity with the place ever since i can remember.
“It’s a place of Australian history, the word iconic is immediately attached to the Fat Lamb,” he said.
“It’s got the iconic name which is one thing, but it’s also in a really special little town. All four of us involved, we want it for everyone. We want Eugowra back to its former glory. It will be a family oriented atmosphere, peppered with characters.”
He is looking forward to the day caravaners, motor bike clubs and tourists once again stop outside The Fat Lamb.
“We’re gonna be selling beers and laughs,” Mr Mulley said.
The owners also hope to start sponsoring local sporting teams again.
“I’m looking forward to sponsoring Eugowra footy, it’s an integral part of the community.”
With a passion for the pub as strong as Ben Mulley’s, The Fat Lamb is sure to be back better than ever.
“I think I’m romantically attached to it,” he laughed. “People tell me, ‘Ben Mulley we think there’s something wrong with you’.
“A lot of my ideas haven’t worked, but this one’s gonna work. I have such a great feeling.
“I think a lot of people had just given up hope, that hope is now restored. The Fat’s back,” he said.
When will it be back up and running?
With hard work and lots of hands on deck, The Fat Lamb is planned to be open for business by December.
“If it works out okay, then we’d hope to be pouring beers by Christmas,” Mr Mulley said.
“Every single person I have spoken to has been absolutely overwhelmed. We’ve had offers from everyone to help out with it.”
Mr Mulley said the re-opening night of The Fat Lamb would be extraordinary.
“I don’t know how we are going to fit everyone in,” he said.
“We already have the first person to be poured the very first beer.
“He was the person who had the last beer here.”
Eugowra’s Gentle Cow Cafe owner Mike Hanly said rumours about the Fat Lamb’s future were flying around the town.
“Blokes keep coming in and asking what’s happening. There are so many yarns going, everyday there’s a different one. Everybody is waiting with great expectations for the pub to reopen.”
A police investigation in 2014 was unable to determine the cause of the fire that destroyed the Fat Lamb Hotel at Eugowra.
The Coroner, Magistrate Peter Dare SC, said the precise cause of the blaze couldn't be ascertained due to the extent of the fire damage.
Investigators concluded that the fire started in the front section of the hotel before entering the roof cavity and spreading throughout the building.