Six O'clock Shot – Wirrabara Hotel
Wirrabara, a small town on the banks of the Rocky River in the Southern Flinders Ranges, is located about 135kms north of Adelaide. The town is name is Indigenous in origin, coming from the Kaurna peoples, but is actually a misspelling – In Kaurna the word Wirra meaning Water and Birra meaning gum trees.
The town saw European settlement in 1844 when the White Brothers took up leases just north of where the town now stands. The Brothers named their station “Charlton Run” after their home town in England.
An old mining air intake chimney can still be seen where the old Charlton Copper Mine once operated in the 1850’s. The station was later renamed Wirrabara, and this is where the town adopted its name from in 1874.
The Wirrabara Station was once owned by A.B. Murray, the man who made the Marino Sheep famous!
Wirrabara was a means to an ends for the South Australian Government. The State of South Australia had no natural forest like other Australian states did, so the Government decided to create its own, and Wirrabara was chosen as the site.
Much of our States practices for Emergency Bushfire plans that we use today, were founded in the forest nursery of Wirrabara. The nursery spawned a huge industry locally that supported the growth of early colonial South Australia.
Like all good South Australian towns it didn’t take long for a pub to be built in the town. Mr Farley built the hotel at 65 High Street, and leased it to Sam Miller. The hotel has had about 23 publicans since that time, all of which are displayed on an honour roll in the Hotel.
One of the more interesting thing in this hotel is an old clock which adorns a wall. The clock is stopped dead on 6 O’clock. As the story goes, back in the late 1800’s a local man by the name of Malcolm Murray, who was described as a good natured fellow, went on a bit of a bender at the hotel. At the time of his bender, it was state law for hotels in South Australia to close at 6pm – Mr Murray did not like this idea at all as he wanted to drink, so he whipped out his revolver and shot the clock, dead on 6.
Mr Murray, the next day, no doubt hung over, and feeling very sorry for his outburst, went and bought a new clock for the hotel – the old one was left in the hotel as a memento of Mr Murrays bender!
The Hotel is also reportedly haunted with an unknown phantom who likes to move things around in the hotel, and has on occasion, held people down in their beds when staying overnight!