THE South West is mourning the loss of one of its most iconic venues after the 67-year-old Quinninup Tavern went up in flames in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Dale Atkins purchased “The Quinny” eight years ago and was in shock Saturday morning as she struggled to process the blaze.
“Someone in town rang me at about 4.30am to tell me the tavern was on fire and I thought it was a joke at first,” she said.
“I arrived just before the emergency services got there and the whole tavern was already engulfed.
“When the firies arrived they couldn’t get near the building because all the gas bottles we had on site were exploding.”
The Department of Fire and Emergency Services said the fire had caused an estimated $500,000 in damage and left the tavern gutted.
Built in 1950 in to serve as the Workers Club for what was then a bustling logging industry, the Quinninup Tavern survived the closure of the town’s timber mill in 1982 and has served as a much-loved watering hole for locals and tourists alike ever since.
Ms Atkins said residents of Manjimup, Pemberton and Northcliffe would regularly travel up to 35km to visit the tavern.
“There are probably only a couple of hundred residents in Quinninup but the tavern is very well-known and everyone that lives within 100km would have visited,” she said.
“The town is very flat, the tavern really was our social centre so I think everyone is feeling bereaved.”
Ms Atkins said the tavern was insured and that she intended to rebuild.
No one was hurt in the blaze, the cause of which is yet to be determined.
The DFES fire investigation unit was on-site Saturday examining what remained of the building.