The dedicated golliwog shop in the fake Uluru roadhhouse was burnt in the fire.
NITV Staff Writer

2 Aug 2018 - 1:56 PM  UPDATED 2 Aug 2018 - 8:32 PM

A roadhouse built to resemble Uluru, which earned a reputation as a travel icon and monument to questionable taste, has been destroyed by fire.

Firefighters were called to The Rock Roadhouse on the Pacific Highway about 70km north of Newcastle.

Eighteen firetrucks responded to prevent flames reaching fuel and gas stored in tanks and bowsers at the nearby petrol station.

Photos and video on social media showed the shell alight and plumes of smoke billowing into the night sky.

A NSW Rural Fire Service spokesman confirmed the roadhouse had been gutted.

There were no reports of loss of human life, but NITV understands there were hundreds of golliwog doll casualties in the fire that destroyed the unsanctioned replica of one of the most culturally-significant sites for the Anangu people of central Australia and surrounding mobs.

An amusement park of yesteryear turned iconic roadhouse

The site was first opened by explorers and documentary makers Mal and Mike Leyland in 1990.

It featured a 1/40 scale replica of Uluru, amusement rides, a playground and roadhouse. 

The venture quickly sent the brothers broke was sold for a pittance in 1992.

In recent years, the establishment's new owners drew criticism for operating a dedicated golliwog shop on site.

The shop featured hundreds of dolls of varying sizes, as well as golliwog-inspired children's clothing, pictures, bags and other memorabilia generally considered as a racist vestige of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

On one corner, the shop also featured a sign which whitesplained the 'heartwarming' origins of the golliwog. 

"The Golliwog or golly is a black fictional character created by Florence Kate Upton in 1885 that first appeared in the children's book The Adventures of two Dutch dolls and a Golliwog that was made in the same year that the character was created.

"The Golliwogg [sic] was first described as a 'horrid site, the blackest gnome', but who quickly turned out to be a friendly character, and is later attributed with 'a kind face'," the sign read.   

"In the period following World War II, the golliwog was seen, along with the teddy bear, as a suitable soft toy for a young boy or girl," the sign whitesplained.  

News of the fire spread as quickly as flames, with numerous reports on mainstream media and social networks indicating many were mourning the loss of the unconventional roadhouse. However, there was little sympathy held for the dolls. 

Despite reports that the roadhouse served tasty food and offered great customer service and toilet facilities to its patrons, the presence and historical significance of the dolls was not lost on all visitors, with some expressing their dismay online.

Investigators will tour the site to establish the cause of the fire.

May the dolls rest in peace. 

With AAP