InQueensland

NEWS •⁠ POLITICS •⁠ BUSINESS •⁠ CULTURE

Get InQueensland in your inbox Subscribe

Binna Burra bouncing back as share scheme gives hope to rebuild eco-icon

News

Just over a week remains in the first stage of an ambitious plan by the heritage-listed Binna Burra Lodge in the Gold Coast hinterland to raise more than $4.5 million in an unusual share offer to revitalise the renowned eco-tourism resort after it was razed by deadly Black Summer bushfires.

Print article

Binna Burra Lodge was destroyed in the devastating September 2019 bushfires that caused more than $20 million in damage to the property. Now, more than 800 existing shareholders in the unlisted company are being offered shares for the bargain-basement price of just $1 to help reopen the historic 32-hectare retreat in the Gondwana World Heritage listed ancient sub-tropical rainforest of Lamington National Park.

Existing shareholders have until 6 April to take up the offer of purchasing up to three shares for every existing share they own, then it will be opened to the general public at the same $1 price point.

The offer will remain open to the public for a year until 10 April 2022.

Binna Burra Lodge chairman Steve Noakes said the company was entering a phase of renewal after wildfires ripped through the national park destroying the historic Binna Burra lodge, cabins and 11 homes in nearby Beechmont.

Noakes said the rebuild aimed to first draw on support from the “Binna Burra family”.

“After a bushfire, recovery is not a short term thing,” Noakes told shareholders this week.

“There’s lots of things to do to pull it all back together.”

He said the Binna Burra family knew the value of rallying to help revitalise the resort and its historic place in Queensland eco-tourism.

“Basically we’ve got 15 safari tents and not much else.

“To be honest, Binna Burra is a high risk company. We’ve come out of a tragedy like a bushfire, we’ve had the socks knocked off us financially, and we’ve got to work really hard to claw back the business,” Noakes said.

He said shareholders were already digging deep.

Among existing shareholders to take up the offer is Joan Bourne, who first experienced Binna Burra in 1949 and is now 100 years old and lives in a nursing home in Stanthorpe.

“She wants to help Binna Burra and has offered to buy $15,000 in shares,” Noakes said.

“That just tells the story about how Binna Burra resonates with people and it really sends me a message about our responsibility as custodians to bring it back and make the business survive.”

Under the company rules, no single shareholder can own more than 2.5 per cent of shares.

Noakes said he had “confidence and faith” Binna Burra would get up and running again after reopening in September 2020 with guests welcomed to some suites renovated after the damage caused by the fire and water bombing

A new bushfire pavilion, the first building to be erected on the site since the Black Summer bushfires as an exhibit featuring first-hand accounts of survival, was also unveiled on Friday morning.

Noakes said he had already purchased $25,000 worth of shares in the latest offer.

But he warned the public share offer was not a get-rich quick pitch.

“The overwhelming intention of the shareholders is for the stewardship and custodianship. I’ve never met a shareholder who bought shares in Binna Burra for the purpose of creating wealth for themselves,” he said.

“There’s other things in life in measurements of wealth that they consider important for their involvement in Binna Burra.”

In 14 months since the September 2019 devastation, $30 million jointly funded by the state and federal governments under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements has been spent to repair the only road in and out of Binna Burra.

But a less-than-hoped-for insurance payout, due to the fire being classed as an accidental bushfire caused by a cigarette butt in the desperately tinder-dry season that saw catastrophic fires rage across many parts of the country , has stalled any rebuilding efforts.

The proceeds of the share issue will provide capital to add up to an additional 13 tiny “wild” houses as well as conference and function facilities to further increase the revenue-generating capacity of the company.

The company aims to finish constructing a new climbing course that was started in 2019 with Queensland Government-approved funding of $1.6 million from the Attracting Tourism Fund.
Further funds will be applied to upgrade water and sewerage infrastructure to support the expansion.

Noakes said the board expects Binna Burra would continue to have broad appeal to overnight guests and day visitors, adventurers and those looking for a more accessible getaway to the Lamington National Park. Traditionally around 80 per cent of Binna Burra guests come from the Brisbane and Gold Coast regions.

More News stories

Loading next article