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Heritage-listed Binna Burra treasures open for investment

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Words: Suzanne Simonot Photography: Supplied – Binna Burra Lodge Magazine Issue: # 43 Winter Ocean Road Magazine

Nature lovers have been given the chance to invest in the future of the beloved Binna Burra Lodge as the tourist drawcard continues to rebuild in the wake of the 2019 Summer of Bushfires.

IT’S a rare opportunity: The chance to invest in the future of one of Queensland’s most-loved natural treasures.

Binna Burra Lodge, unlisted on the stock exchange, has invited people to buy a minimum of 500 shares – at the cost of only $1 per share – to help secure its future as one of Queensland’s favourite natural attractions.

Binna Burra Lodge chairman Steve Noakes says the offer is part of Binna Burra’s rebound in the wake of what has become known as Australia’s ‘Black Summer’ bushfires.

On September 8, 2019, at the beginning of six months of bushfires around the country, the historic Binna Burra Lodge, located in the Lamington National Park, and pioneer cabins (built in the 1930s) were destroyed.

Within months of the bushfires, which saw Binna Burra sustain more than $20 million worth of damage, the global COVID pandemic delivered Binna Burra another crippling blow.

The tragic events forced the property to close for a year before it reopened to visitors in September 2020.The share offer comes in the wake of an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of shareholders of Binna Burra Lodge Ltd held at Mt. Roberts, on the site of the former lodge in March this year (2021).

The shareholders approved the company to (a) Rights Issue to current shareholders to take up new shares valued at $1 each based on buying 3 shares for every one share currently held and (b) after that process to current shareholders, to open the opportunity to buy shares to the general public.

Steve says the share offer is a chance for people to invest in the property’s legacy after the bushfires. He says buying into the Lodge will help preserve the legacy and “good care” of the Binna Burra landscape. “The continuing recovery of Binna Burra Lodge in the Gold Coast hinterland has not been possible without the support of people near and far who feel a connection to the place, its history and its landscape,” he says.

“The overriding motivation is for people who want to maintain the custodianship, the stewardship and the good care of the Binna Burra cultural landscape – it’s on the Queensland Heritage register, so it’s a very special place for hundreds of families – and we’d like to take that to thousands of families.”Shareholders will also be entitled to discounts on food and beverage, accommodation and activities.

Commencing in 1933 and incorporated as an unlisted public company in 1934, Steve says Binna Burra Lodge has a social enterprise with a strong environmental focus and one of Australia’s longest operating nature-based tourism offerings.

“No individual shareholder can own more than 2.5 per cent of the shares,” Steve says.

Almost 1000 people and their families currently own shares, with new shareholders welcome to invest in the company at $1 per share if they buy a minimum of 500 shares.

“Binna Burra is about the power and value of goodwill by generations of people with a close promotional connection to the location inside the World Heritage Listed Lamington National Park,” Steve says.

The Binna Burra Rights Issue Offer Information Statement was lodged with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) on March 12, 2021. It is not a prospectus and has a lower level of disclosure than that which would be required under a prospectus.

Investors should read the entire document, including the Share Application Form, before buying.

Current and new shareholders wishing to buy shares have until April 10, 2022, to invest in the new era of Binna Burra Lodge Limited.

Binna Burra: A Short History

1930: Romeo Lahey and Arthur Groom established the National Parks Association of Queensland (NPAQ) – to ‘preserve intact in their natural condition the existing national parks of Queensland and to secure the reservation of other suitable areas before it is too late.

December 1932: Romeo Lahey and Arthur Groom received a letter of confirmation from land-owner, George Rankin, to purchase the land where Binna Burra is located.

December 1933: The first summer camp at Binna Burra – tents were set up on the ‘Saddle’ near to where the ‘Senses Trail’ (opened in 1975) starts. The ‘Senses Trail’ remains closed since the bushfires but will be reopened when resources permit.

March 1934: Queensland Holiday Resorts Limited (now Binna Burra Lodge) incorporated with 97 initial shareholders.  By 2021, the company has 866 shareholders.

1960: 450 shareholders with small amounts each (20 to 30 shares)

September 2019: The central lodge and pioneer timber cabins are all destroyed at the beginning of the six months of ‘Black Summer’ bushfires around Australia.

March 2021: Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of shareholders of Binna Burra Lodge Ltd held at Mt. Roberts, on the site of the former lodge – approves the company to (a) Rights Issue to current shareholders to take up new shares valued at $1 each based on buying 3 shares for every one share currently held and (b) after that process to current shareholders, to open the opportunity to buy shares to the general public.

Offer Information Statement (OIS)

‘Eligible Shareholders should be aware that an investment in the Company is subject to investment and other known and unknown risks, including possible loss of income and the principal invested.

Investors should carefully read the section on risk factors outlined in section 6. An investment of this kind involves a number of risks, a number of which are specific to the Company and the industry in which it operates. However, these risks should not be taken to be exhaustive of the risks faced by the Company or its shareholders.

Those risk factors referred to in section 6, and others not specifically referred to in section 6, may materially affect the financial performance of the Company and the value of its shares in the future.

The Company has implemented strategies, actions, systems and safeguards for known risks. However, some risks are beyond its control. Consequently, the prevailing price or value of New Shares issued under the Offer may be more or less than the Issue Price.

The New Shares offered under this Offer carry no guarantee of profitability, dividends, return of capital or the price at which they may be traded. The past performance of the Company should not necessarily be considered a guide to their future performance.

Risk factors

Outlined in the Offer Information Statement (OIS)

‘Eligible Shareholders should be aware that an investment in the Company is subject to investment and other known and unknown risks, including possible loss of income and the principal invested. Investors should carefully read the section on risk factors outlined in section 6.

An investment of this kind involves a number of risks, a number of which are specific to the Company and the industry in which it operates. However, these risks should not be taken to be exhaustive of the risks faced by the Company or its shareholders.

Those risk factors referred to in section 6, and others not specifically referred to in section 6, may materially affect the financial performance of the Company and the value of its shares in the future.

The Company has implemented strategies, actions, systems and safeguards for known risks. However, some risks are beyond its control. Consequently, the prevailing price or value of New Shares issued under the Offer may be more or less than the Issue Price.

The New Shares offered under this Offer carry no guarantee of profitability, dividends, return of capital or the price at which they may be traded. The past performance of the Company should not necessarily be considered a guide to their future performance.

Sculpture pays tribute to local heroes

A new enduring tribute to the local heroes who fought to save Binna Burra from bushfires has been unveiled as the heritage-listed destination rebuilds and recovers.

On September 8, 2019, at the beginning of what became known as Australia’s ‘Black Summer’ of bushfires, the historic, heritage-listed Binna Burra Lodge and pioneer cabins were destroyed. One year later, the remaining facilities at Binna Burra reopened to provide services for visitors into the Lamington National Park.

Described as the worst single event for wildlife in Australia, and among the worst in the world, experts estimate that some three billion koalas, kangaroos and other animals were killed or displaced in the fires.

Australia’s Governor-General, David Hurley, and his wife Linda revisited Binna Burra in May to unveil the new Local Heroes sculpture – a three-panel tribute, located at the front of the Binna Burra Tea House.

“It’s really good to see the pace of recovery, both in the bushland here and in physical infrastructure beginning to be redeveloped,” Governor Hurley says.

The first panel represents Heroes of the Air, the second-panel Heroes of the Fire Emergency Services and the third-panel Heroes of the civilian population in assisting the wildlife and acknowledging the wildlife that perished.

Created by Ian Haggerty, the sculpture was originally used as a fundraising activity for the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital.

Ian says he tried to encompass all of the important aspects of the disaster in the sculpture, which includes light and sound.

“The ‘koala boy’ panel represents the community members who went out after the fires to help injured wildlife. One represents the firefighters who fought the blaze and the helicopter aerial bombing represents those who came from interstate to help,” he says.

Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen and his wife Denise, Mark Ayers and Suzanne Noakes from the Beechmont Rural Fire Service and Councillors Virginia West, Jeff McConnell and Michael Enright also attended the informal unveiling.

Mayor Christensen says the visit was a heart-warming reminder of Their Excellencies’ genuine compassion and concern for their fellow Australians.

Their Excellencies previously visited Binna Burra in October 2019, when they surveyed the devastation the bushfires had wreaked on the site’s historic lodge, pioneer cabins and landscape.

The Local Heroes sculpture will continue at Binna Burra as a fundraiser for the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital.

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