Place Review: Wiluna Club Hotel Motel & Caravan Park

My Place Rating: My Rating 1/5

Looks as if whoever is maintaining the Wiluna Club Hotel website is living in a different reality.
Since the last tripadvisor review it appears the place has gone downhill, or perhaps the reviewer was just being kind.
The pub widows are now covered in tin sheeting and the place looks as if it is about to fall down. No evidence there was a functioning restaurant and your grog is limeted to cans of EMU export, XXXX, or Jim Bean UDL. The motel accomodation looks unmaintained. There is no secure area to park your vehicle overnight. The caravan park no longer has a fence and the whole area is overgrown.
We fueled, had a beer and departed.
The photograph above needs updating to reflect the dipladated and sorry state of the structure
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Reply By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 16:16

Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 16:16
Thanks for posting your review. Did you happen to take a photo to update this?
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Follow Up By: Member - nosey_bastid - Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 18:27

Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 18:27
Sadly not... It was to depressing. With the steel doors at the front entrance and the corrugated iron over the windows the hotel now looks as if it has been boarded up until you walk around the back. The picture shown is, I believe, as it was a few years ago not as it is now. Also the caravan site is now closed despite them still advertising it on their website.
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Reply By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 16:31

Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 16:31
I just had a really good look at their website, and at Trip Advisor reviews and yours and I would say nothing has changed. It's always been like that. I've been there back in 1998, then again in 2002, and then 2009 and 2010. In 1998 it was common knowledge that the camp ground wasn't really a place you'd enjoy staying for long. We were hassled to buy a painting as we were departing. I don't like being hassled for anything and won't do it. In 2002 we didn't camp in town at all. In 2009 we stayed at Lorna Glen out of town to the east - absolutely fantastic place to visit and we spent a few days exploring there and enjoyed the camping and facilities. In 2010 we organised the EO National Gathering 10 year anniversary at the Gunbarrel Laarger - also out of town but not has far as Lorna Glen. Nothing flash but safe and lovely hosts. There are options in the area but we would recommend staying out of town. The attractions are not within the town anyway although the visitor centre/art gallery is worth a visit.
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Follow Up By: Member - wicket - Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 17:05

Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 17:05
Just following you link to Lorna Glen and in the description it it described as, and I quote " Lorna Glen Conversation Reserve ".
Just wondering what a Conversation Reserve is ?
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 17:07

Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 17:07
Thanks Wicket - all fixed now.
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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 18:11

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 18:11
Agree with Michelle, better off out at the Gunbarrel Laager - was there in 2013, CP in town wasn't very attractive. Due to family commitments, my Mum had to fly out and meet us in WA before our trip up the CSR - we chose Willuna. She had to stay in the hotel before we got there. There was a young Indian couple trying to make a go of it, however there was no food in the hotel or anywhere else in town. Mum had to survive on a packet of crisps and some instant soup for the night. Not a recommend.
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Reply By: pop2jocem - Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 16:45

Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 16:45
Ah lovely Wiluna, just like a few other towns in our (WA) north west. The best view is through the dust cloud in the rear view mirror.
I spent quite a few days in and around during my working life back in the 70s, 80s and early 90's.
The last visit was in 1998 when we stopped for fuel and to call into the local cop shop to let them know we had just finished our CSR trip. The copper we spoke to seemed to be wishing he was somewhere else and couldn't really give a (word deleted). I must admit I couldn't blame him and wondered who he had upset to get that posting.
Always was nice to be leaving and it doesn't sound like much has changed.

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Reply By: Member - mechpete - Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 17:10

Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 17:10
you gotta feel for the people who own businesses in the town ,
even callin it a town is a bit of exageration when we were there in 05
not much chance of selling anything ,with the locals hanging around
cheers mechpete
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Follow Up By: Zippo - Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 20:39

Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 20:39
Pete, I can assure you in the following ten years (we were there in 2015) it hasn't improved. Of all the depressing places I've been, it has to top the list of those best viewed in the rear vision mirror. It made some of the lower tier outback NSW towns of poor repute seem like paradise. SWMBO had not seen it before, and made it clear she doesn't want to see it again.
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Reply By: Member - Robert1660 - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 09:16

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 09:16
We visited Wiluna in July 2015. The so called caravan park was merely a derelict paddock, and of course the hotel had a number of our indigenous friends sitting under the awning. The positive about this town is that it is open unlike many other settlements in outback Australia. Compared to Warburton with its "concentration camp like" caravan park and fuel stop with the numerous " No Photographs" signs, Wiluna is almost a breath of fresh air.
On the positive side the art gallery/museum is definitely worth a visit. We purchased a very interesting painting there. The cemetery is also very interesting in that the graves of the last indigenous nomads, Warri and Yatungka, to come out of the Gibson Desert can be found there. The book by W. J. Peasley, "The Last of the Nomads", is a must read before visiting as it makes your visit to the cemetery quite an emotional experience.
The town now has a wonderful statue of Warri and Yatungka and an associated lay-by which is a good place for lunch or morning tea.
Of course even if you are not attempting the Canning the drive to Well#1 and the obligatory photo next to the sign indicating that you have just started or just finished the drive is well worth the effort.
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Follow Up By: Member - nosey_bastid - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 13:17

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 13:17
Cheers Robert,
Will check out the features next time around. We kicked on and overnighted at North Pool. I pointed out, by web mail, to the 'owner' of the 'Hotel' and the adjoining facilities that their advertisment on the web was misleading and merely copped a swag of abuse. I think their profit margin is based on welfare cheques.
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Reply By: Baz - The Landy - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 12:26

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 12:26
I was fortunate to travel and spend some time with Elders from the Birrilburu People last year, many of whom now live in Wiluna.

Wonderful people who were willing to talk about their culture and experiences.

What towns like Wiluna highlight is the plight of our indigenous population, for some it must almost seem like a hopeless existence where there is little opportunity for them to view in the dust of the rear vision mirror – it is the life that has been dealt to them, caught between two worlds…

Cheers, Baz – The Landy
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Follow Up By: Member - ACD 1 - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 15:53

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 15:53
Wiluna and its people were once proud and prosperous.

I was there in the mid 80's a completely different place to what we saw in 2014 when I took my wife and children through.

The Desert Gold farms were a success, making money and employing locals. The Local Co-op ensured that there was access to food and produce at reasonable prices and that not all the money went into the "club coffers".

The school had a fantastic program where the camp kids would be picked up in the morning by teachers, given clean clothes, showered and fed breakfast. Local women would wash/repair their camp clothes and cook lunch that had been hunted by local the local men. The kids would be changed, given afternoon tea and then returned by the teachers to their communities by bus.

There was even a local art workshop where men and women created art to be sold to boost the coffers of the co-op.

Yes! It was driven by welfare money, but like many indigenous communities, there was little to no employment. What set Wiluna apart, was a system (managed by locals) where to reap the benefits you had to contribute. Self determination.

I don't know what happened, perhaps it is just a reflection of our new society. I know the world I grew up in has changed from the one my children are growing up in. The once innocent country town where we lived now has the same social issues as any major town or capital city across the country - drugs, violence, unemployment etc etc.

When we went back there were more bitumen streets, new houses a new school and service station. The "church run missions" had gone. Desert Gold had been sold, the co-op was a supermarket. Adults and children wandered the streets aimlessly.

I think they call it progress - I'm just not sure who is making the progress!

I wonder how many of those who have responded to this post have witnessed what once was? Or are they judging a once thriving town based on their own comfortable middle class affluence? I have read many posts on this site and others that criticise/ridicule/bad mouth many towns that are now a shadow of there former selves...

The advent of long range fuel tanks, efficient 12 volt fridges and more reliable and comfortable vehicles will continue to assist in the demise of towns like this - not just in Wiluna, but right across the country. Unless we (the travellers) support them socially and economically, there will eventually be nothing left.........


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Follow Up By: Member - Robert1660 - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 16:41

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 16:41
I could not agree more with your sentiments regarding the plight of the indigenous people. We have travelled reasonably extensively through WA and NT where these issues are most noticeable. Because most of Australia lives east of Dubbo the issues faced by these individuals are essentially out of sight and out of mind. I am no expert but as I see it there are a number of aspects to this problem. The equal pay decision in 1967 forced many indigenous people off the stations and into settlements. The welfare mentality then became entrenched and this combined with the lack of meaningful and appropriate employment has led to many of the issues being experienced today.
Of course it has always intrigued me that so few if any indigenous settlements have made their communities traveller friendly. With the number of travellers these days I am sure many would like to have a greater exposure to indigenous culture. How many indigenous people do you see managing the indigenous owned roadhouses?
It is always confronting seeing the way many of these people live and seeing the security measures that have to be taken in such places as Halls Creek. Witnessing the "Keep Your Unleaded Petrol Secured" signs and the barbed wire around caravan parks in Warburton and Laverton is also quite disconcerting.
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Follow Up By: Member - nosey_bastid - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 18:06

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 18:06
Concur with everything you guys have just said plus that bit about the roadhouse management - That was also something we discussed around the campfire. I mostly feel for the youngsters who are still vibrant and full of fun, what future is there for them. When you look at the teenagers and the adults it is almost as if the life has been sucked out of them.
What can we do to resolve this... I honestly don't know and as a white fella I felt completely out of my depth trying to understand what I was confronted with.
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Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 18:28

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 18:28
When we were in Wiluna last August I thought the hotel WAS closed. Well it looked as though it was closed.
The store was not too bad though.

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Follow Up By: Members Pa & Ma. - Thursday, May 05, 2016 at 14:37

Thursday, May 05, 2016 at 14:37
We didn't see the Club Hotel looking in that new condition on either of our visits.
We stopped in there for a lemon squash to spend a bit more money in the town & it was in a state of disrepair.
At this first visit, we bought diesel & Groceries from a store which was well stocked.

Our second visit was a few years on & the place was ruined. Not a tourist friendly town.
I think they'd better update that picture,it is very misleading especially to visitors from overseas.
We've spoken to Elders and even worked with them, back in the 70-'s and they would say, that it would take at least 3 generations to bring us closer. It is now 2016.!
Drugs of a terrible nature are affecting both our communities and Aboriginal.
If this sort of thing is happening then people keep away.

If you feel welcome & safe in a place then you go there instead.
Take care,Safe travels. Ma.
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