Simon Remienko owned the 112 year old Betoota Hotel which he managed for 44 years, before shutting up shop in 1997. "I own the place - if you own something and it makes you happy, there is no reason to leave it" the 87 year old Simon said.
A 2002 newspaper interview reported the bar still fully stocked, though bottles were coated with fine desert dust, and not a drop had been sold for 5 years. "I'm too old now, but I still have the liquor licence, just in case".
The hotel was a fortress - its thick sandstone walls attached to a three metre, locked wire enclosure. If Simon was not in the mood for visitors, which was almost always, he ignored the doorbell.
He drove to Birdsville for groceries once a month - almost a three hour trip each way. Occassionally, for a change of scenery, he drove 1400 kms to Adelaide to visit friends - four days each way.
Simon never married, smoked or - hotel notwithstanding- drank alcohol. His fiery temper was legendary. Police were contacted after more than one encounter between outback travellers and a sometimes armed Mr Remienko.
He was 25 when he migrated to Australia from Poland and was sent to the dusty town of Boulia, north of Betoota, where he got a job as a grader driver. He set up a contracting business, working long hours to buy the hotel in 1953.
Ziggy died at the age of 88 at a Charleville nursing home on Monday 27th September 2004.