The historic Buchan Caves Hotel will be rebuilt after the ‘Let’s build a Pub’ crowdfunding campaign raised $600,000 for the cause.

After the hotel was destroyed in a fire last year, the community of just 400 residents created the crowdfunding campaign, aiming to raise $600,000 in 60 days.

“We are absolutely overwhelmed by the generosity of our contributors,” campaign manager Lyndel Moore said. “Our little campaign drew a national and global response with contributions from as far afield as New York.”

Organisers were informed that the campaign, hosted by Pozible, was the largest crowdfunding target the platform had hosted, and the Buchan Caves Hotel will be the world’s first fully crowdfunded pub.

Local businesses threw their weight behind the cause, with major contributions from corporate supporters including Whelans, Patties Foods and Sibelco, and Melbourne company Auswide. Other fundraising efforts included an all-stars concert at the Waterwheel tavern at Lake Tyers, a raffle at the Metung Hotel and collection tins at venues around East Gippsland.

Former publicans Greg and Marg Brick, who sold the pub in 2012 but retained an interest as shareholders and still own the land, will make up the shortfall in the cost of rebuilding.

“We have sought legal advice and drawn up stringent guidelines on how the money will be managed so it’s clear the community and our visitors will benefit from the rebuild,” Greg Brick said. 

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