The Royal Mail Hotel was built in 1868 by Englishman Samuel Porter. The exterior has hardly been altered and the interior has a wonderful old world feel. As you stand in front of the pub, try and imagine what life was like for Cobb & Co. This is the last remaining coaching inn on the Cobb & Co route between Hay and Deniliquin. The pub is located because of a well that Porter dug that could supply reliable water. It is here where horses would be changed and the passengers could alight and have a refreshment. There were always fresh teams of horses and there were stables at the back of the pub.
There are two plaques under the peppercorn trees opposite the hotel. One is a Cobb & Co marker. The other is part of The Long Paddock signage which is part of a trail which stretches from Wilcannia to Moama. Both are worth reading. They provide useful background history to the pub.
Perhaps the hotel's most famous connection is the story of the Headless Horseman which is depicted in a painting in the appropriately named Headless Horseman Bar. The story goes that around the 1860s and 1870s drovers moving through the area regularly saw a headless horseman wearing a cloak around Black Swamp, south of Booroorban. Not surprisingly the wraith frightened the men and their animals. It was said the ghost was that of a drover who had died near or in the swamp. Then the myths began. There was the wonderful story of a Moulamein butcher who dressed himself in a cloak thrown over a wooden frame on his shoulders. It is said that he used the ruse to steal small numbers of cattle which he duly killed and sold to his customers. There were other stories of how cattle was stampeded and taken south across the border and sold. One Cobb & Co. driver claimed to have carried the wounded cattle thief to hospital only to see the same thief's headless body riding a horse a few nights later. A roadside marker has been established to honour the Headless Horseman. It is located at the Black Swamp rest area.
Distance & direction from Sydney: 770 Klms N NW
Cobb Hwy, Booroorban
Tel: (02) 6993 0694