Despite the vagaries of the mining economy, Dampier’s Mermaid Hotel is leaving its rough reputation behind.

Story + Photos Mandy McKeesick

The Mermaid Hotel, in Dampier in northern WA, opened its doors to a wild frontier in 1967 at the birth of the Pilbara’s iron ore construction boom. “The pub and the cop shop were the only buildings in Dampier back then,” publican Nick Bond says. “It developed a reputation as a rough workers’ pub. When we took it over in 2003 it was still very rough. Blokes would get full of Bundy rum and have games of 10-pin human bowling, where they’d run headfirst into groups of bar stools.”

“Or there’d be a line-up to buy the Burrup Pack – two king browns [long-necked bottles of beer] – and then they’d race back along the highway on the Burrup 500,” manager Anthony Loveridge chimes in. “It was the last of the wild west.”

This story excerpt is from Issue #130

Outback Magazine: Apr/May 2020