Celebrating 60 years - P9
Kooroora’s history rich with life, memories and mateship after 60 years of operation
AN iconic Mt Buller business celebrated 60 years of operation this year.
A place of happy gatherings, Kooroora on Mt Buller has lived up to its name for the past 60 years.
But it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for the establishment.
O ffi c i a l l y o p e n i n g in 1953, the Kooroora Hotel opened its doors with 35 commercial and nine staff beds and replaced the first ‘eating house’ on the mountain, the Bull Run Canteen, established by the Forras brothers Ernest and Aurel.
The Forras brothers became known as the ‘hospitality pioneers’ of the mountain.
However, in 1961 the original Kooroora Hotel burnt down.
R e bu i l t t h e f o l l ow i n g year, Kooroora remains the same building today with the main part of it largely unchanged.
After changing hands from one Forras brother to the other, alternating over some years, Ernest sold the hotel to Arthur Tan who in turn sold it to the Arlberg’s then owner, Adam Adams.
A consortium led by John Perks purchased it from Adams, and Richard Paine bought it in 1994.
In 1996 Paine dramatically changed the internal layout of the hotel, removing the ageing carpets, polishing the floorboards and putting in a functional bar.
It was about this same time that Richard Paine and Anton Vanhoff (joint owners) reintroduced live music to the venue and regained its reputation for being a social focal point.
Paine and Vanhoff sold the building to the Grollo Group in 2001 but leased back the hotel operations side.
The Kooroora (incorporating the Hoohah Kitchen) is renowned for its hospitality.
The after dark bar is the favorite gathering place for many of the younger generation members on the mountain.
It is also the place to go for those looking for an early breakfast or a hot and cosy lunch.
Live music, cold beers and hot foods are all the go at Kooroora.
Today the Hoohah Kitchen is operated by business partners, Susan Raidel and Rudi Renz, both long time and well known identities on the mountain.
This is Susan and Rudi’s fourth year at the Hoohah, however, Susan first came to Buller to work in 1974 and Rudi in 1976 - making them friends for more than 40 years.
The Hoohah serves an eclectic menu with pasta, hot winter soups, braised beef cheeks, chicken souvlakis - just to name a few.
“A bit of everything, but we have incorporated a steak night for Thursdays, and we have also moved into Thai foods with delicious salads,” Susan said.
Susan and Rudi - working in partnership over winter for the past four snow seasons, also have a history in catering around the district for many more years.
Rudi has at times leased such venues as the Hunt Club, Jamieson Pub and now owns and operates (through summer) the Old Fire Station Restaurant in Mansfield.
Susan in the past has operated the Produce Store (for five years), was the original owner of Tarts Cafe in Mansfield and last summer worked at Cafe 41.
The Hoohah Kitchen opens at 8am and closes at 9.30pm with the hotel and bars continuing on until the traditional ‘That’s Amore’ is played around 3am.
IN THE HOOHAH: Susan Raidel and Rudi Renz have operated the Hoohah Kitchen at Kooroora Hotel for the past four years enjoying more than 40 years’ friendship on the mountain.