The Forras brothers’ Kooroora Hotel
weeks’ ski lessons and meals in return for his work.
Kooroora had a grand opening and quickly established a reputation for a good time.
Consequently, many of Melbourne’s well established society families began booking in for weekends and holidays, thus immediately creating overwhelming demand.
The lodge was extended soon after in the summer of ’53-54 and in 1957 the Forras brothers also developed the Kooroora Marina Motel on the shores of Lake Eildon.
Initially the brothers rotated the running of each establishment before Aurel bought out Ernest and operated it on his own.
In 1961 Kooroora burnt down and the second incarnation of the hotel was built and opened in 1963 (one season was lost due to the build time).
This version was essentially the building as we now know (and love) it.
Ernest had taken over from Aurel by this stage and decided to add a swimming pool.
Despite the success of pools at European ski resorts, this one didn’t have great appeal and ended up becoming a home for many trout and other species of fish.
Guests were offered fishing rods and a new sport had been introduced into the Mt Buller village.
Finally a ski hire was built over the pool.
From here, Kooroora changed hands a number of times.
Adam Adams had come to Mt Buller in 1953 and developed a number of buildings including Never Rest Lodge, Summit Lodge, and rebuilt Arlberg after it had burnt down in 1966.
During the 1970s Ernest had negotiated to sell Kooroora to Adams on two separate occasions but it never quite got done.
Instead, Chinese interests purchased the now iconic building circa 1980, and Adams purchased it from this Chinese syndicate in 1985.
His son Mark Adams ran the business.
In 1988, a consortium comprising John Perks and Joe Pulitano bought it from Adams.
And Richard Paine bought it in 1994, bringing in partner Anton Vanhoff.
With licensing laws evolving, they increased capacity considerably and Kooroora once again became the Mt Buller village entertainment hub.
In 2001, Paine sold the building to the Grollo Group and leased back the hotel operations.
With the expiry of that lease, the opportunity was seized by Joe Maisano who is now the current licensee.
UP IN FLAMES: Fire ravaged the original Kooroora Hotel in 1961.
WHERE IT ALL STARTED: The original Kooroora Hotel building in 1954.
George’s Ski Hire Mt Buller Warren Miller Entertainment – Distributor Australasia