A Phoenix Reborn from Ashes: The Story of Binna Burra Lodge Recovery After 2019 Bushfires.

Written by Binna Burra


May 5, 2021

Wang, J., Pham, W. and Noakes, S. (2021)

Australian & New Zealand Disaster & Emergency Management Conference
12 – 13 July 2021 | The Star Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.

Hosted by the Australian & New Zealand Mental Health Association, A.I.E.S. and the

Bushfire & Natural Hazards CRC.


Destinations and communities are witnessing more and more disastrous events, causing loss and damages of significant magnitude. In the aftermath of a catastrophe, business resilience (i.e., the ability to bounce back from the shock) plays a pivotal role to the community livelihood and ultimately the recovery of the whole affected destination.

In this presentation, we argue that resilient leadership as well as stakeholder collaboration and social networks are important factors that contribute to the resilience of an organisation. To illustrate, we will report a real-life story of how Mr Steve Noakes, the chairman of Binna Burra Lodge, has brought the business back to life after a devastating blaze in September 2019, which endangered the Lodge’s staff and customers and destroyed most of the Lodge’s heritage-listed infrastructure. By demonstrating exceptional leadership skills, particularly a sound appreciation of stakeholder collaboration and social networks, Mr Noakes was able to lead a remarkable recovery campaign that resulted in the Lodge’s reopening only within 12 months from the fire. While the case study is situated in a tourism and hospitality context, its key disaster management learnings can be highly valuable to professionals from a wide range of fields.



  1. A resilient leader with proactive strategies can turn the organisation around after disastrous events, bringing out new opportunities and innovations from devastation.
  2. Cross-sectional stakeholder collaboration plays a crucial role in disaster preparation and recovery.
  3. Organisations need to be well-prepared for the risk of disasters, so as to be able to respond proactively in the time of emergency.

Dr. Jie WANG
Dr. Wang is a Senior Lecturer in the Business School of The University of Queensland. Her research interests are associated with tourism risk reduction, crisis prevention and disaster recovery. Her research focuses on how humans perceive and act in relation to risk, crisis and disaster, with the aim of understanding how behaviour changes can improve the wellbeing and safety of people and organisations. Her projects center on organisational resilience-building. Her research on preventing travel-related risks has helped tourist attractions to promote travel health and safety.

Ms. Wendy PHAM
Wendy Pham is a PhD candidate in the Business School of The University of Queensland. Her research focuses on the sustainable development of small tourism and hospitality businesses as well as destinations in developing economies. Her particular topics of interest include disaster and crisis management, social networks, and service management.

Mr. Steve Noakes
Steve has an extensive 40+ year background in the sustainable tourism industry in the Asia Pacific region and maintains interests across industry, academia and NGOs throughout the region. He is the Chairperson of the Board, Binna Burra Lodge, founded in 1933, nestled in the world heritage listed Lamington National Park, Queensland, Australia. Binna Burra Lodge is reopen, after closing for 12 months from 8 September 2019, when major bushfires destroyed many of the core heritage-listed buildings.


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