The Werrimull Hotel has an enthusiastic outback publican, a quirky history and an important role to play in its small community.

Story John Dunn  Photo Andrew Hull

Jim Barnfield is a born-and-bred outback bloke, so it’s apt that he has taken over the Werrimull Hotel, promoted on its sign as ‘Victoria’s most outback pub’. “Of course it is,” declares Jim. “Merbein is the only other pub in the state that is further north of Melbourne than this one, and there are few pubs, if any, that are so far away from the next. It’s about 75 kays east to Mildura and almost 100 west to Renmark.”

Tucked away in wheat and barley country in Victoria’s north-west, tiny Werrimull is north of both the Little and Big deserts, and beyond the remote and uninhabited Sunset Country, which Parks Victoria describes as “one of the few areas in the world where the environment remains relatively untouched”. Werrimull has only a post office, police station, grain collection facilities, a Catholic church (where the inscriptions are in Latin) and, of course, the pub, with its enthusiastic publican, who identifies strongly with locals. 

This story excerpt is from Issue #143

Outback Magazine: June/July 2022