Koorawatha – New South Wales

Township famous for a gun battle between police and the bushranger Ben Hall. Located 337 km from Sydney, Koorawatha is a tiny township on the Olympic Highway between Young and Cowra whose only real claim to fame is that it was once the setting for one of Ben Hall’s daring, and unsuccessful, bushranging ventures.

On 20 May, 1864 Hall, ably assisted by Tom Gordon and Jimmy Dunleavy attempted to hold up the Bang Bang Hotel (tragically it was demolished in the 1940s) but found themselves involved in a desperate gun battle with two policemen. Hall and his accomplices were forced to retreat.

The Site of the Gun Battle has a sign where the old Bang Bang Hotel used to be. It is located under a peppercorn tree about half a kilometre from the Olympic Highway and reads:

“Koorawatha Inn. This sign marks the site of the old Koorawatha Inn. On Friday 20th May, 1864 Ben Hall, Jimmy Dunleavy and Tom Gordon tried to steal some racehorses which were stabled at the rear of the inn, but were driven off after a battle with constables Scott and McNamara. 25 shots were fired by the bushrangers and 9 by the police.’

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