Eight years on, we remember the Bottom Pub, Wingham

It's eight years since fire destroyed the Bottom Pub in Wingham.

The fire broke out in the early hours and quickly engulfed the timber structure.

On July 7, 2010 the Wingham Chronicle reported on the fire:

Almost 150 years of history went up in smoke on Monday morning. 

From its construction and opening in the 1850s, the Wingham Hotel has been a comforting presence for all who pass through. 

The smouldering shell of the much-loved building has now become a sobering view. 

Our Bottom Pub. Gone. 

Hundreds surrounded the site on Monday morning to pay homage to the pub. 

Smoke rose from the charred remains, curling upwards through the blackened framework. The town stared in disbelief. 

Emergency services were called to the fire on the corner of Isabella and Wynter streets at 1.15am on Monday. 

Two men, aged 54 and 26, and a 52-year-old woman were awoken by a barking dog and the hotel's fire alarms. They were able to escape before the building was engulfed in flames. 

Eight appliances fought the blaze, two from Taree, one each from Wingham, Gloucester and Laurieton as well as a pumper and Hazmat vehicle from Port Macquarie. 

A special aerial appliance called a Bronto Skylift was brought from Newcastle to enable firefighters to get to the seat of the blaze from a position on top of the fire. 

A reported total of 55 firefighters were on the scene at one stage. 

"When we got there, the roof was totally involved," Wingham fire captain Dave O'Donnell said.

"Our main concern was the garage and petrol station next door. We concentrated on the adjacent wall of the building first so the flames couldn't get near the gas cylinders or petrol." 

Mr O'Donnell said fire crews focussed solely on containing the blaze. There was no question of saving the building. 

It was an extreme blaze. But the positive is that there were no fatalities. We can at least be thankful for that. 

Wingham fire captain Dave O'Donnell

"It was an extreme blaze," he said. "But the positive is that there were no fatalities. We can at least be thankful for that." 

Traffic diversions around the hotel were still in place yesterday. The area remains under a police guard due to the danger of further structural collapse and possible asbestos on the site. Inquiries into the circumstances leading up to the fire are continuing.

Hundreds join Facebook tribute

Wthin hours of the Wingham Hotel’s fiery demise on July 5, 2010, a Facebook page had been erected in its memory.

The ‘R.I.P Wingham Hotel (Bottom Pub)’ page had accumulated more than 900 members when the Wingham Chronicle went to press yesterday. 

“This much loved 'watering hole' will be sadly missed by all,” the page reads. “We hope to see a full recovery in the lives of those who lost the most, the owners, Mark and Di.” 

Facebook users have left hundreds of messages of support on the page. 

Some reminisced about the good times they have shared with mates over the years. 

Most were still coming to terms with the fact the Bottom Pub is no longer in existence. All were unanimous in their support for hotel managers and their family. 

Winghamites young and old, from near and afar, have been in touch with each other to share the shocking news. News that a piece of our town has been lost forever. 

Here’s what people are saying on Facebook . . . 

A shocking loss for our town...just so glad to know that you are all alive!!! Thinking of you xo

Had my first drink there in the 1960s..… farewell old pub..… lots a good memories

So so sad. An iconic and significant piece of Wingham's heritage lost - quite unbelievable