Whim Creek Hotel bought by Pilbara Aboriginal corporation

Alicia PereraPilbara News
The Whim Creek Hotel.
Camera IconThe Whim Creek Hotel. Credit: North West Telegraph, Rob Dougherty

Iconic Pilbara building the Whim Creek Hotel has been bought by a local Aboriginal corporation believed to be focusing on indigenous cultural offerings at the site —but it will likely be at least another six months before the building is ready to re-open.

The sale of the historic hotel, which is one of the oldest buildings in the Pilbara, was settled on July 5, with Ngarluma Aboriginal Corporation agreeing to buy the building.

NAC formerly part-owned the hotel with Ngarluma Yindjibarndi Foundation Ltd, which was forced to sell the asset after going into administration last year, but will now be the sole owner.

The Pilbara News understands the NAC board is considering options for indigenous tourism and cultural education at the site and may outsource operation of the hotel, bar and cafe to a third-party company.

It is also understood that implementation of the corporation’s vision is expected to take at least six months and the building will remain closed in the interim.

It comes after the hotel was closed in March in preparation for sale and means it will remain closed for the rest of this year’s tourist season in the Pilbara, which is dominated by drive tourists who commonly stop at the building — located about halfway between Karratha and Port Hedland — on their journey along North West Coastal Highway.

Pilbara Tourism Association chairman Barry Harrison said the hotel’s extended closure was unlikely to affect the Pilbara tourism market.

“It’s important they get their model right and do it correctly,” he said.

NYFL chief executive Bruce Jorgensen said the organisation was pleased that the well-known hotel had been bought by a local group with previous ties to the building.

“It was a conscious decision by NYFL’s partners to support an offer from the Ngarluma Aboriginal Corporation,” he said.

“We’d like to congratulate them on the purchase and wish them all the best in the future, for revitalising a classic Pilbara icon.”

NAC was contacted for comment.

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