Grove Hill Heritage Hotel

If the walls could talk, they'd probably be swearing.

Life is a bit tough out in the bush. No more so than in a part of the bush that's been abandoned by a gold mining company.

Heritage Listing

Grove Hill Heritage Hotel is a heritage-listed Territory icon that's been around since the 1930s.

By hook or by crook

The pub was built almost entirely from scavenged scrap from the abandoned nearby gold mine.

The History

Settlement of Grove Hill began after the discovery of gold by prospector Harry Roberts in 1872 during construction of the Overland Telegraph.

A stamping battery became operational on 6 June 1887 and was used to crush stone from surrounding mines. Grove Hill was formerly a siding on the North Australia Railway where a 2 ft gauge steam tramway some 12 miles in length was constructed in 1904 to connect the nearby Mount Ellison and Iron Blow mines met the main line, with a dual gauge section allowing main line wagons to be hauled to the private smelting works. The Iron Blow mine, located 2 mi (3.2 km) south of the siding produced gold until its abandonment in 1914. The area surrounding the mine was surveyed by the Australian Government in 1960 after reports that there remained 33,000 tons of mineral ore available for extraction.

Prior to 1935, a township and miners camp had thrived approximately 4 km (2.5 mi) south of the railway line. As the gold rush was ending, this settlement was abandoned and a hotel constructed near the railway sidings to take advantage of new business opportunities brought by travellers passing through the area.

The remains of the settlement were further isolated in by the closure of the railway line in 1976 and was bypassed by the Stuart Highway when it was upgraded to National Highway standard between 1970–92, passing 15 km (9.3 mi), with the former road alignment now forming part of the Northern Goldfields Loop tourist drive.

The Grove Hill Hotel was built in 1934 from materials scavenged from abandoned mining sites in the aftermath of the Great Depression. It has remained operating as a licensed hotel since and also incorporates a heritage museum with displaying historical artefacts from the local area. 

The hotel is renowned for birdwatching nearby, and attracts a faithful crowd of birders each year in the Dry Season to see many outback birds in their undisturbed native habitat. It was previous listed for sale by auction on 12 July 2012 with a reserve price of $760,000, attracting widespread media coverage. In November 2016, after falling to attract a serious buyer, the hotel was closed, but the current owner Stan, reopened again before the expiry of the hotel's license and has, again listed it for sale via Darwin agency, Churchill Real Estate. See our contact page for information.