An historical account of Traralgon, written for the boys and girls of the city.
First published in 1970. Reset on CD Rom 2001
About the author - William J. Cuthill - click here
Chapter 6 Traralgon - The Country Town 1901-1936
Before I start to tell you this part of our story, I should take you back again into the last chapter. You will remember how everything was booming, and how blocks of land were selling like hot cakes. Then the bubble burst, and many of the banks closed their doors, for every one wanted their money at once, there was not enough money in the banks to pay them. People with money in some banks lost it all. And, when something like that happens, it takes years and years for things to come right again. The Traralgon banks closed their doors, but, fortunately, they all re-opened again after a while, but people were not now too ready to spend their money in building shops and factories.
And so our town really stood still for years.
But the Railway Station, which had been put up in the Seventies when the railway first opened, had become too small to handle all the passengers and parcels, and in February, 1901, a new weatherboard Stationmaster's Office and parcels office were built. Those buildings are still there today. An extra piece was put on the Melbourne end of the platform too, for the trains were getting longer with the new carriages. Maybe the time will come when a new railway station will be built here, perhaps even on the town side of the line where it should have been built in the first place in 1877.
I have not told you of the Traralgon Rifle Club which was holding shoots at this time. They used to fire their rifles from the flat over near the High School, and the targets were up on the hill where Hilltop Reservoir is now built. For targets they used large iron discs. If the shot was a miss, there was no sound, but, if it was a hit, you could hear the ring in Franklin Street. There was no road along the creek flats to Traralgon South then, the road being that which passes the High School and takes you out to the tip, and which you have heard called the "Switchback". When the Rifle Club moved from this range the butts were set up close by the Princes Highway west of Traralgon and near the Golf Club property of today. Following a rifleman, by accident, shooting two dairy cows instead of two target bulls, this range was also evacuated.
A new road had now been constructed over the Traralgon Creek flats, and the targets were moved to Koornalla, where there was no danger to travellers and little to stock. Later still, two further moves brought the range nearer to Traralgon, the first being along the same road seven miles from the town, and the second on to Mr. N. Thompson's property, where big bore shooting still takes place.
At the end of this year, the Junction Hotel at Flinnstead was closed. The State School carried on the name as "Flynnstead" for years, but the district is now known as Flynn.
On 27th April, 1902, St. Michael's Convent School was opened by the Sisters of St, Joseph. They had 35 pupils for a start. A cottage and a block of land had been bought, and the school was built on the land and the cottage was enlarged to serve as a convent.
The Boer War ended in May, 1902 and, by that time, about ten men had left Traralgon for South Africa. One was killed. I have already told you about Dr. Horne leaving here for the war, but among the list of the soldiers I find well-known names like King, Christensen, Lang and Drane.
It was in August, 1902 that Walter West was elected Shire President. This was the only time he was President for, when he became Shire Secretary some years later, he had to give up his position as. a Councillor.
Early in 1903, the Railway Department decided to bring their repair depot here from Sale. This meant that the engine drivers and firemen and the turners and fitters and cleaners all came here too. Some of these. men were to come here from Warragul as well, and both Sale and Warragul were up in arms. Deputations were sent down to Melbourne, but the Railways were not going to be told how to run their lines. So the depot was built here between the Railway Station and the creek, and Traralgon became a "Railway" town, so many of its people were working for the Railway Department, The coming of so many Government workers with wages being paid so regularly was certainly welcomed in Traralgon, and, of course, the new people were soon to take a large part in running many sporting bodies and other societies here.
Among those railway men from Sale was Mr. West, who was the secretary-treasurer of the Sale Baptist Church. He invited Rev. W. S. Rollings, the Minister of the Church at Sale, to visit here, and Baptist services were held in the Mechanics' Institute. This was the beginning of the Baptist Church here.
Peterkin's old store on Clauscen's corner was occupied at this time by a man named Ikey Owens, and it was not a credit to Traralgon for it was very much in need of repair. In 1903, Mr. J. Colvin took over the store and pulled it down. He built a quite impressive building in its place for his Gippsland Trading Company. He also had shops at Warragul and Maffra at this time. He sold his Traralgon store to the Coupars, and the Gippsland Trading Company under Mrs. Coupar and her son Les was our biggest shop here for the next thirty years. There was also a branch at Walhalla.
Traralgon has had a hundred or more different societies and clubs - far too many to list here, even if I knew them all, and, quite truly, I do not. So I will slip one in here and there in our story. In 1903, the citizens formed a Musical Society which held competitions here which lasted a week. P. P. Serjeant, the local solicitor, was one of the leaders in this Society.
The next Shire President was E. S. Whittakers, of "Fernhill". This was his first term, and he became Shire President for five further terms. Like his father William Whittakers, who came here in 1871, "Ned" Whittakers did more than his share in helping to run our town and shire.
At the end of this year, Mrs. Fuge did not bother to take out a further licence for her Sportsman's Arms Hotel at Tyers. I told you in the last chapter that the old brick hotel is still to be seen there. It was a stopping place for the coaches running between Traralgon and Walhalla.
Although we had many changes, Traralgon always had two doctors from the time when Dr. Montgomery came here to share the work with Dr. Morrison. In March, 1904, Dr. Thomas A. McLean, father of Dr. Trevor McLean, bought the practice of Dr. W. A. Spring. Dr. McLean Snr., served the people of Traralgon for the next forty years and, during World War I, when our second doctor, Dr. Henry Hagenauer, enlisted in the A.I.F., Dr. McLean had to care for all our citizens on his own. Dr. McLean played football for Geelong before he came here, so he was a star in the Traralgon team. He was a leader in the Town Band, and was also Secretary of the Racing Club for thirty years.
In May, 1904, the Traralgon Literary and Debating Society was founded. It had about fifty members. H. R. Sandford, the solicitor, was the first President, and Dr. T. C. Anderson the second President, and Mr. Lampe, the Head Teacher of the State School was the Secretary. The Society even put on the trial scene "Bardell v. Pickwick" for one of its open night. When the Orchestral Society and Minstrel Troupe was formed in July, 1905, to try to raise money to buy instruments for the Band, there was a movement afoot that the three Societies should join together and run competitions.
The wooden Star Hotel with its Masonic Hall was burned down in January, 1905. Mr. James Rogers, the licensee, rebuilt the hotel, this time in brick. This brick hotel also caught fire so many times during its existence that it was known as "The Burning Stump". After the hotel lost its licence in about 1920, it became a coffee palace, and has since disappeared to make way for a service station.
We now come to the first steps to obtain a good water supply. There were a number of ideas put forward, One was for the pumping of water from the creek near Seymour Street or at the top end of Franklin Street. Then there was a proposal for a reservoir on the creek near Dunbar's "Homestead". A further idea was a pumping station on the Latrobe River, which was, at that time, a nice clear stream. But Mr. A. K. T. Sambell, the Shire Engineer, had the best scheme - to run the water all the way by gravity from a weir built up on the Tyers River. Up there, the river winds about in its gorges and, by tunnelling through a hill, a good drop for a start could be obtained in a very short distance. The Council thought it was an excellent idea, but many people in the town thought otherwise. They even formed a Property Owners' League to fight the Council. So the Council asked the people to vote twice on the idea, and the Tyers scheme was favored each time.
As a result the Council asked the Government in Melbourne to set up a Waterworks Trust, a body of local citizens who could take charge of the whole idea and who could tax or rate the people who owned land which was likely to get water when the pipes could be laid all the way out to the Tyers River.
The Lodges were still taking part in every procession that marched up Franklin Street on special days. In April, 1905, the Ancient Order of Druids established a Lodge here. All of the original members are now dead, but Mr. C. H. Welch and Mr. A. Dunbar were leading Druids in later years, but they are now dead.
The Golf Club was reformed in 1905 when the Campbells of Traralgon Park gave the club permission to play on the park.
Then there was another big fire in the central block in Franklin Street on 23rd October, 1905. Gilbert the baker, Bicknell the jeweller, McFarlane the hairdresser, and Ellis the fruiterer, were burnt out. The fire was stopped before it could burn down Mr. H. E. Henden's newsagency.
In January, 1906, the Baptists were able to open their church on the corner of Church Street and Hotham Street. The church sold this corner only recently and the shop of Office Systems has been built on the site. The old wooden church was taken away and was used to build sheds on farms.
We now come upon a name that is well known in Traralgon - Marsh the Butcher. In 1906, G. H. Marsh bought out J. Manning who had his butcher's shop in Franklin Street where Croft's have their self-service store today. Marsh had been managing Redman's butcher's shop before this time, and some years later he bought out J. W. Grubb & Co, who had their butcher's shop next door to the A.N.Z. Bank.Here G. H. Marsh, his sons and grandsons have carried on the same service to the public for nearly sixty years.
Another bank opened in Traralgon in 1906. This time it was the Union Bank, and it started in a shop in Franklin Street opposite the Grand Junction Hotel. When the National Bank joined the Colonial Bank in 1918, the Union Bank moved down into the old National Bank building next door to the Court House. But the Union Bank has now gone. It joined up with the Bank of Australasia a few years ago to trade under the new name of the A.N.Z. Bank, and the old bank premises have now become a shop again after nearly fifty years.
The Australian Natives Association is another Lodge which has a branch here in Traralgon. The branch was formed in 1906, and some well-known and respected citizens, among them Peter Dunbar, Alfred Cross, Thomas Standing and Duncan Christensen, all now passed on, were active members in their day.
In 1907, Walter West took another step forward in his long career when he became Shire Secretary to relieve A. K. T. Sambell, who had been carrying on both as Shire Engineer and Shire Secretary. Of course Mr. West was still secretary of the Mechanics' Institute. At this time, too, Mr. F. Burnet was manager of the Colonial Bank. He had two famous sons Mr. Alan Burnet, of Glengarry, and Sir Macfarlane Burnet who, as you all know, received the Nobel Prize in Stockholm as a result of his work in the study of disease.
On 15th May, 1907, the Government in Melbourne set up our Waterworks Trust. There were the six Shire Councillors and Mr. J. S. Milligan on the Trust, and they set the scheme going. Nine and a half miles of pipe line had to be laid out to the weir on the Tyers River where two tunnels had to be made.
The Traralgon people were still looking forward to that railway over the range. This time it was to run from Traralgon to Meeniyan through Carrajung and, to help pay for it, the people along the line were to pay 10/- an acre a year. The Council was not too happy about this idea, and did not push the scheme with the Government in Melbourne as hard as they might have done.
In 1908, Mr, Charles Du Ve, the Clerk of Courts at Rosedale, retired. Although he was not a Traralgon citizen, he had been a Gippslander for many years. After managing a cattle station at Benambra, he came to Rosedale, where his first Government job was as poundkeeper in 1867. He was appointed Clerk of Courts at Rosedale in 1872, and opened the Courts at Traralgon, Morwell, Moe and Mirboo North, and also visited Toongabbie. He was, of course, an authority on the history of the early days in Traralgon, and he often wrote stories for the "Journal" and the "Record" fifty years ago Those stories have helped in my writing this story for you.
Let me take you along Franklin Street in 1908. On the corner of Princes Street was "Scotty" Macdonald's general store. T. G. Cobbledick could be found in his workshop where Jim McDonald's Kyama Milk Bar is today. Then came Miss Ray, who sold drapery and ladies' wear, Childs who sold out to Russo and Santamaria, fruiterers, William Thomas, the tailor, the "Journal" Office, C. H. Welch, the jeweller and watchmaker, who had bought out H. M, Hewett, then the Union Bank, then Bert Ennis, the tailor, and H. O. Cornell in the old Mechanics' Institute on the corner. He sold out soon afterwards to H. W. Bond.
Across Hotham Street, the Club Hotel, where William Clues was the hotelkeeper, was on the corner. There were several shops in the hotel building. A. McLean & Co., the auctioneers, being in the first, then Harris, the hairdresser, a saddler's next door, and then H, E. Henden's newsagency. From there you found W. Ellis the fruiterer, McFarlane the hairdresser, H. Ladson in his bootshop, P. G. Bicknell the jeweller, G. White the painter and paper-hanger, T. R. Gilbert the baker, Neilson the butcher, Wallis the saddler and Christensen and Bowden on Jeffery's corner.
After crossing Seymour Street, you would see J. S. Milligan's store on the corner, John A. Kay, chemist, Robert H. Ikin the tailor, Fraatz the boot repairer, Marsh the butcher, Cleveland the hairdresser, Mrs. Joe May in her fruit shop, D. J. McCarthy the plumber, E. Clarkson the photographer and then H. White & Co.
Now you should return to the other end of Franklin Street to the Grand Junction Hotel, The National Bank was in the hotel next to Woolworth's Apparel Stores, Grogan Brothers had the drapery and grocery there in those days, and F. and E. Grubb, plumbers and hardware, were on the corner. Across Seymour Street, the Bank of Australasia was on the corner, and next door were J. W. Grubb & Co., butchers. Then W. Hewett, the saddler was beneath the upstairs offices of Serjeant, Bruce and Frost-Samuels, the solicitors, and you then came to Theo B. Little & Co., the auctioneers; Dan Bouscarle in his boot shop; H. R. Sandford, the solicitor; the Crown Hotel, Shiells and Menardi, saddlers; Ralph Kinna, the bootmaker, and then the Colonial Bank on the corner of Seymour Street. When you crossed the street, you came to James Brinsmead, the chemist, on the corner, then Miss Childs; E. T. Stammers, the tailor, then J. Mayze & Sons, the coachbuilders, where the State Electricity Commission is today. Across the lane to A. L. Cross the baker; W. "Starry" Christensen in his mart, and you finished with the Gippsland Trading Company on the corner.
Now that we have new saleyards on the road to Rosedale, it is interesting to look back fifty years or more, The council was looking for five acres of land in the town for such yards even as far back as 1888, but, in 1908, the Council very nearly bought land for the yards. Conferences were held, and also public meetings, and, in April, 1908, the Council even held a poll when the ratepayers voted on the matter. But it took fifty years for the Council to squeeze out the auctioneers and the private saleyards that they held here and there in the town, including the huge square where the Civic Centre is now built. Of course it was necessary for the future of the town that good yards for the sale of cattle were here to bring trade. Market Day was always the busiest day each week, with a huge crowd of buyers and sellers down at the saleyards, and the wives and daughters of the farmers crowding the stores on their weekly visit to town to do their shopping. Maybe it was fortunate for the Borough that the large Town Square was kept for saleyards for so long, so that the Borough Council was able to use it for our Civic Centre.
A public meeting was called in 1908 to see if a Bowling Club could be started. Mr. E. J. Box, the State School head teacher, was the leading spirit, and there was great support given by other citizens. A green was constructed where the bowling greens are today, and the club was opened later in the year. The first President was Percy Serjeant, the solicitor, and Mr. Box was the secretary. Bowls was such an important sport here that, when the club held an excursion to Walhalla, the Council declared a public holiday here to allow the citizens to go to Walhalla with the bowlers.
I know that the boys of the town all have an interest in fishing. Fifty years ago, the Traralgon Creek was deep and dark, covered with ferns and full of deep holes where the big blackfish lay among the logs. It is not like that today. The opening up of the Creek valley, the cutting down of the timber and the bush fires have caused the heavy rains to fill up the creek with gravel, and the floods have filled in all the deep holes. And the big blackfish have all gone. However, in 1908, it was decided to try trout in the creek to add some variety to the fishing. Percy Serjeant was in this too and helped the Fisheries Inspector to release 1,000 trout in the creek. Two years later, Arthur French, a dentist who used to come here regularly from Melbourne, caught the first of these trout, and some say, that for this reason, his name will never be forgotten by Traralgon anglers.
In October, 1908, we had another big fire here in Franklin Street. This time it was in the Post Office block, and the shops of Cleveland, Fraatz, Barker, McCarthy and Cobbledick went up in smoke. That would be the area from Croft's down to Bambit's, but Clarkson the photographer's shop was saved. The Fire Brigade still had to use their old hand pump to pump water out of the underground wells behind the shops, for the water from the Tyers River did not reach the town until a few weeks later.
And what a difference it made - the pressure was so great that the stream of water from the hoses at the next fire nearly blew over the walls of a burning house in Princes Street.
Now I told you how in 1864 the miracle of the magic wire, the telegraph, first reached Gippsland, and how, eleven years later, in 1875, Miss Kate Campbell had a telegraph sounder placed in her little Post office in her father's house in Argyle Street. It was not until 1909 that the telephone first came to Traralgon, and, when telephones were placed in houses in the town, Dr. Hagenauer was No. I and Dr. T. A. McLean was No. 2.
In November, 1909, the first State Savings Bank was opened here in Hotham Street. There was an old cottage on the land, and it was pulled down and a new brick bank built. When the bank opened, all the Savings Bank accounts which had, until then, been held at the post office, were taken over by the bank. The bank which was built in 1909 was pulled down only recently to make way for the new building in Hotham Street. The new bank in 1909 opened forty new accounts on its first day.
The narrow gauge Railway line from Moe to Walhalla was opened in 1910, and this also changed the lives of the Traralgon citizens. It meant that the coaches from Traralgon out through Tyers and Happy Go Lucky soon stopped running. And, when Walhalla started to fold up, quite a number of houses there were pulled to pieces, loaded on the train, and brought round to Traralgon where they were re-built.
It was at this time, too, that the Traralgon Fish and Game Protection Society was started. Because some people were fishing and shooting ducks out of season, the local sportsmen formed the Society with Mr. Bert Coates as secretary. The Society is still going, and, now that the blackfish have gone from the creek, the Society has done a lot in keeping it stocked with trout.
For the last couple of years, some of our people had the idea of setting up an electric light plant for Traralgon. The scheme was to use the water of the Tyers River out at the water supply intake to drive a turbine which, in turn, would generate the electricity which could be brought in by a line through the bush. Launceston in Tasmania already had its electricity generated by water power. But, if electricity were to come here, it would mean that the gasworks, which were owned by the Council, would have to compete with electricity. And the Council still owed £1,700 for the gasworks. And there was all that money to be paid for the new water scheme. And there was also the cost of the tramway from Dunbar's to bring road metal into the town for the making of Franklin Street which was all mud in wintertime. So the idea was just talked about for the next few years until, when the Great War started in 1914, all ideas of electricity schemes had to be put off while the more important task of beating the Germans was finished,
In 1911, another well-known name came to Traralgon when Senior Constable Chenhall took charge of the police station from Senior Constable Murcutt. Senior Constable Chenhall served here until his retirement in 1922, and his son, Mr. W. J. Chenhall still resides here. In 1920 Mr. W. J. Chenhall bought Dan Bouscarle's boot shop, and he carried on his business there for nearly fifty years.
For some years the State School over in Campbell Street had been too small for all the schoolchildren in the town, and the infants were being taught in the Baptist Church. When the Traralgon Park was cut up and sold, the School Board of Advice was able to get the Education Department in Melbourne to buy the corner of Grey Street and Church Street. There, in 1912, a big new brick school was built. It had six rooms, but soon became too small for the growing town, and in 1914 the old wooden school was moved over from Campbell Street and re-erected along the Grey Street boundary of the schoolground. The Franklin and Grey Street corner had been bought by the Shire Council, but the Council decided to give it to the Education Department so that the school ground now had streets on each of the four sides.
Coursing with greyhounds after hares, was a popular sport at this time, and Mr. E. S. Whittakers allowed the Coursing Club members to blast out all the stumps on part of "Fernhill" and to fence it in for coursing. There were plenty of hares about, but they used to escape, and the Coursing Club used that ground for just one season. In 1914, the club ran open courses on Mr. Lang's property at Glengarry hoping to make enough money to buy hares for the enclosure on "Fernhill", but the Great War changed all that, and coursing, too, was forgotten for the time being.
The grand parade at the Traralgon Show always has quite a parade of new motor cars as well as the prize-winning cattle and horses. The first motor car appeared at the Show in about 1904, but, in 1913, the first motor cars were there as exhibits. They were Fords, and were shown by Messrs R. Farrin-Webb and Ike Cone. When cars started to be parked around the arena, the old timers in the buggies were not happy about it. The Agricultural Society held a special meeting on the ground, and a sign was placed there with "Cars" on one side and "Buggies" on the other. But, as the years went by, the post had to be shifted further and further around the fence until today it is not possible to get all the cars into the Showgrounds on Show Day,
As I told you earlier, the Racing Club bought its new racecourse up over the Maffra railway line in 1914. A proper course was laid out there and buildings built. Races were held there until 1936 when, because every race meeting was showing a loss, the Racing Club decided to sell its course and to pay off all its debts. This it was able to do, and the club was wound up. The late Dr. T. A. McLean was still the secretary at the time.
I should now tell you something about the Latrobe River. When Hobson came here in 1844, he had a mile wide morass at his front door. Swamp tea tree, reeds, lagoons - it was almost impossible to get through to the bank of the river. But there it was, a beautiful clear stream in the summer, full of logs from trees which had grown upon its banks and had fallen in over the centuries. Of course, those people in Sale and Melbourne who had thought of sailing steamers up as far as the Moe a hundred years ago had not really counted the cost of pulling out the snags. But, when the Government built the railway to Sale, all ideas of having steamers on the river taking away the carriage of goods from the railway could not be considered, and although many deputations went down to Melbourne seeking improvement of the river, nothing was done for years. And so each year the river flooded, and the mass of scrub held the water back for weeks at a time. As the farmers slowly cleared the river flats of the scrub and rushes, these floods spoiled their pastures year after year. A River League was formed in about 1890, but the farmers were unable to borrow money with which to do the work, and the first real step to stop the flooding was not taken until 1914, when a cut was made across one of the bends out near the Scarne. If the river should rise, the water could flow through the cut instead of right around the bend, and the first step had been taken to turn this land subject to flooding into permanent farms. But the Empire was soon at war with Germany, and the scheme for cleaning out the river was also put aside until the war was over.
The Council decided to do something about making the road in Franklin Street which was all mud in winter time. Carts became bogged in the street, and tea tree scrub was brought in and laid over the mud. It was decided to bring in the metal from Dunbar's on the creek, and the Council spent £1,500, which was a great deal of money then, in building a tram line to carry the stone into the town. The chief lament was, that that £1,500 would have made a lot of road.
In January, 1914, Mr, John Campbell died at the age of 93 years. He was a citizen who had seen Traralgon grow, for he and his brother Duncan had taken over the Traralgon West Run from James Purves in 1855. For many years he was a leading drover in charge of the mobs of cattle which were driven through the bush to the Melbourne market, But the droving was killed by the railway when it opened in 1878. For some years, too, his daughter Kate was postmistress first in the family home in Argyle Street and later in "The Retreat" in Kay Street.
In those days, the local newspaper printed the telephone directory on its front page, Here is
the 1914 list:-
|I. Dr. Hagenauer||17. Nurse Miller||33. National Bank|
|2. Dr. McLean||18. Gippsland Trading Company||34. Pentland & Canfield|
|3. Mr. Challman||19. F. L. Grubb. Jr||35. C. E. Clarke|
|4. T. B. Little & Co.||20. Mathieson & Davis||36. Clerk of Courts|
|5. Christensen & Bawden||21. P. Dunbar||37. The "Record"- J. W. Guest|
|6. G. H, Marsh||22. Co-operative Store||38. A. J. Trood|
|7. Layton Bros.||23. T. G. Cobbledick||39. F. Peiper|
|8. L. Lay||24. T. H. Row||40. F. Grubb|
|9. W. A. Clark||25. Serjeant & Bruce||41. J. Robinson|
|10. The "Journal"||26. A. McLean & Co.||42. R. F. Webb|
|11. Whittakers Bros.||27. G. H. Monds||43. W. Christensen & Co|
|12. J. English||28. Grand Junction Hotel||44. R. Widdis|
|13. Shire Hall||29. Railway Station||45. Rev. W. J. T. Pay|
|14. J. D. Campbell||30. Savings Bank||46. Picone|
|15. J. S. Milligan||31. Butter Factory||47. W. McDonald|
|16. Robert Farmer||32. Police Station||48. H. Campbell|
The most imposing building in the Traralgon of a hundred years ago was pulled down during 1914. I have told you how Duncan Campbell had built the "Travellers' Rest" in 1858 with redgum weatherboards sawn in the sawpit where the first Shire Hall was built twenty-three years later. There were already two brick hotels - the Grand Junction and the re-built Star, and Miss Hoare, who owned the Hotel, decided to re-build in brick. The hotel provided what was at that time thought to be the best in accommodation. It even had two bathrooms, and room for twenty outside sleeping compartments on the balcony. And the upstairs bedrooms even had fanlights for better ventilation. The hotel still has the same outside appearance as it did in 1914, but improvements have been made to the interior.
The Presbyterians were able to build their brick church on the corner of Kay Street and Church Street in 1914 after having put up with the temporary accommodation for so long in the Temperance Hall, which then became the Sunday School.
The boys and girls of today show no surprise at the basketball competitions and the table tennis competitions. Fifty years ago quoits were the rage, and there were very strong quoit competitions running here in the town as well as with neighbouring places like Moe. When it started in 1914, the Great War caused the quoits to fold up too, and when the war was over, the competitions were not revived.
In March, 1915, the Traralgon Higher Elementary School was opened. The old school building which had been moved over from Campbell Street, had been altered and improved, and Traralgon really had a better Higher Elementary School at that stage than any other town of its size in Victoria. The new course in secondary subjects was largely for the benefit of the school children of Traralgon itself, for it was many years later that the system was started of bringing boys and girls in from the surrounding district by bus to the Higher Elementary School. The little country schools still had their eight grades, whereas Traralgon had Forms F and E.
St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church was created a parish along with Glengarry in May, 1916, when it was separated from Morwell. Fr. W. J. McLaughlin was our first pastor here, and he was to guide the destinies of the parish for the next twenty years. It was largely through his efforts that enough money was collected to enable the building of the present Church to be planned. In March, 1916, a new brick convent had been opened here just before the separation of the parish.
And all this time the Great War was the first thing in the minds of our citizens. So many of the young men of the town had left with the A.I.F. or the Navy. There were 232 who had joined up, and, of these, 52 did not return. Most were just young fellows who might have been playing in the football team - ages 18, 19 or 20. You remember them all on Anzac Day each year, and you will find their names on the War Memorial in the Kay Street gardens. The trees around the Grey Street school ground were also planted in memory of the boys who did not come back.
I should mention here one of our best known servicewomen, Sister McCarthy, who was a returned nurse from that war and who was in charge of the Infant Welfare Centre here for very many years on her return.
When the boys came home from the war, life in the town changed once again. Some of them started shops of their own; others sought land to become farmers. You already know how the large areas close to the town, which were used only for grazing, may have been one of the reasons why Traralgon grew so slowly. For the last seventy years, the Government has had power to step in and to buy large pieces of land like "Traralgon Park" and "Fernhill" and to cut them up into farms - we call it Closer Settlement. There has been very little of this Closer Settlement near our town until recently, but, after the First World War, the Government did take over some land for Soldier Settlement. One of the first near here was the farm at Tyers which was sold to Mr. H. F. Christensen when he came home from the war, But we had no big scheme here like the large Soldier Settlement out on the flat at Hazelwood South which meant so much to the prosperity of Morwell forty years ago.
In 1919, Traralgon were premiers of football once again. There had been no football during the war, and, when the boys came home we had a really good team. You will know some of them - Lou Bell and Bert Coates - they are still living here in Traralgon. At the end of this year, the Commercial Hotel and the Star Hotel, the two hotels in Argyle Street, did not renew their licences, and this left the town with its present four hotels and the Club Hotel, which was to keep going until 1932, when Mr, James Rogers bought it and pulled it down to make way for a modern shop.
Among the soldiers who were now running their own businesses here were David and Walter MacCubbin, timber merchants, J. B. Robinson the chemist, P. T. Remington the dentist and Bert Coates in his book shop. There were others too, but these five remained in business here for the next twenty years or more.
There are no saleyards in the town now, but it was not so many years ago that, on the afternoon of sale days, you might see a mob of pigs heading full speed along Church Street for the railway yards for trucking to Melbourne. In 1920, there were four separate yards. Mathieson & Davis had their office in the Club Hotel building in Franklin Street, and their yards were in Breed Street near Hotham Street. A. McLean & Co. were opposite Woolworth's Apparel store in Franklin Street, and their yards were at the corner of Hotham and Breed Street, opposite Mathieson & Davis. Theo. B. Little & Co., the third firm of auctioneers, were next door to the National Bank, and their yards were on the square where the Civic Centre is today. Skews & Patterson had their yards in Grey Street behind the Traralgon Hotel. And, although McLean & Co. and Theo. B Little & Co., joined up in later years and continued to use the Kay Street yards, Mathieson & Davis' yards were eventually taken over by Thomas Standing & Co., and we had two cattle sale yards here right up until the new sale yards beyond the Maffra railway line were opened in 1958.
Although the construction of the present sewerage system for Traralgon was not started until 1940, the idea of sewerage for the town was being considered in 1921. The sanitary service was costing the Council £12 a week, and they had thought that it might be better to spend that £12 in paying interest on a loan which could be used for putting sewers throughout the town. But the idea didn't get very far - the sanitary service at £12 a week was paying its way, so the Council left it alone, being very thankful that it did.
PHOTO: of the official opening of the Fire Station in 1921
We obtained a new fire station in 1921, when the Council gave the corner of Franklin and Argyle Streets to the Country Fire Brigades Board, and the Station was built by the Traralgon people paying half the cost and the C.F.B. Board the other half. You may have noticed how the doors on this old fire station were placed on an angle so that the fire engine could get a straight run into the three streets which lead away from the corner.
In the same year, the Fish and Game Protection Society built a hatchery on the Tyers River. This was a community effort - Mr. Bert Christensen giving the land, Messrs D. and W. MacCubbin a lot of the timber, and the Society most of the labour. The idea was to trap the big trout swimming up from Lake Wellington to spawn in the Tyers River and to hatch the eggs so that the fry could be released in the local creeks. This prompted the Fisheries and Game Department in Melbourne to build a second hatchery out at Traralgon South on the Traralgon Creek. These hatcheries later fell into disuse when the Department decided to do all its trout breeding at Snobs Creek near Eildon Weir. The biggest trout ever caught in Traralgon Creek was caught in 1921 by Mr. E. Bohlmann in the big hole at the junction of the Jeeralang Creek. It weighed 6 lbs. 1 oz.
In 1922, Walter West, the Shire Secretary, was elected as the Member of Parliament for Gippsland South, the first and only citizen to become a Member of Parliament. He served as our Member until an election in 1929 when Mr. Herbert Hyland, of Leongatha, opposed him. More people voted for Mr. Hyland than for Mr. West, and Mr. West lost his seat in Parliament. He returned to his former job of Shire Secretary which he held up until his death in 1934.
Mr. Herbert Hyland, who was later knighted by the Queen for his services, served as a member in the Victorian Parliament until his recent death. I feel that he would have been no stranger to many of you.
It was in 1922 that our second resident solicitor, Mr C. H. Ford Snr., opened his office here. For many years Mr. Percy Pye Serjeant had been carrying on the business of Serjeant & Bruce upstairs in a two-storey building where Learmonth's now have their shoe shop, and Mr. Ford opened his office in the room in Cobbledick's buildings on the corner of Service and Franklin Streets, the State Electricity Commission occupying the rest of the building in later years.
The new Church of England was dedicated on 7th October, 1922. It was to replace the old wooden church which had been in use since 1880, and was built by two young returned soldiers, David and Walter MacCubbin, who had established themselves in our town as timber merchants and builders.
We have the Gippsland office of the State Electricity Commission in Franklin Street nowadays, but, if we go back fifty years, we find that the S.E.C, was just beginning. A small temporary power house was built at Yallourn in 1923, but most of the towns in Gippsland had their own electric power houses. As you know, Traralgon had no electricity - just the gas works. The power lines from Yallourn soon started to stretch as far as Drouin in the west and Sale in the east. In 1923-24, electricity reached about twenty homes in Tyers and, before long, 300 houses in Traralgon were connected. And so the S.E.C. found it necessary to open an office here. The first manager, Mr. V. Crowley, was allowed to use part of the old Shire Hall until he could open a small office next door. After twelve months, the office was again moved into the old galvanised iron building in Argyle Street which had been built for the Traralgon Club in 1888. In 1926 it was moved again into the two storied brick building on the corner of Princes Street opposite the Grand Junction Hotel. The modern headquarters at the northern end of Franklin Street was built in 1938 when the S.E.C. purchased the old timber coach building works of J. Mayze & Sons, and the Traralgon office now controls the smaller Commission offices which have appeared in every important Gippsland town,
In 1923, Tom Standing, who had just left Wesley College, joined the Traralgon Football Club, and proved to be the best player that our team has yet produced. He played with the team for the next ten years and served for some years as captain. He played for the Gippsland team against the Wimmera League on several occasions on the Melbourne Football Ground, and won many football awards. Thomas Standing, Snr., his father, who had been here since 1903 as manager for Mathieson & Davis, stock and station agents, bought out his employers in 1923, and for some time traded as Mathieson, Davis, Standing & Co., although most of you are familiar only with the name of Thomas Standing & Co. I have already told you how the herd of pigs would race along Breed Street after the pig sales in Standing's yards on their way to the railway trucking yards. Mr. Thomas Standing, Snr., took an active interest in football, and for some years was president of the Gippsland Football League.
Another fine citizen comes into our story at this period. William E. Cumming, who lived here until his death a few years ago, was elected Shire President for the first time in 1923. He served in that Office for three further periods, and was a Councillor for over twenty years and a Commissioner of the Waterworks Trust - twenty years of dedicated service to his fellow citizens,
In June, 1924, the 1st Traralgon Boy Scout Troop was formed by Rev. J. B. Blundell of St. James' Church. "Pinky" Carruthers was the Assistant Scoutmaster, and the first four scouts enrolled were Clem Jones, Allan Bissett, Harold Downie and Alan Burge. Trevor McLean joined the troop soon afterwards. At the same time, a Wolf Cub Pack was also formed, the Cubmaster being Major G. E. Bruce. At times the Scout Troop and Cub Pack have almost folded up, but, due to the efforts of interested citizens, particularly Mr. and Mrs. Tilbury, the Scouts and Cubs have prospered in later years, with now nine Scout Troops here. The gift by Miss Newman of the piece of land on the east side of the creek has enabled a permanent home for scouting to be built for the scouts and cubs of today and the scouts and cubs of the future, although there are other scout halls in other parts of the city.
In early times it was usual for an officer of the Treasury in Melbourne to be stationed in country towns, to collect money due to the Government and to pay Government bills. He was called the Receiver and Paymaster, and his office was the Receipt and Pay Office. Here in Traralgon, the Court House was on one side of the Post Office, and the Receipt and Pay Office on the other, where the mail is now sorted. I am telling you all this because the last officer here was Mr. J. G. Keys, who was Receiver and Paymaster from 1890 until his death in 1924. The Clerk of Courts, Mr, J. E. Thomson, then took over the additional job. But Mr. Keys will be remembered, for he owned all that land near Cumberland Park. His widow gave the land - 13 acres in all - to the Church of England so that a memorial hall might be built there in memory of Rev. J. B. Blundell, but most of it has since been sold, and the offices of the Country Roads Board in Kay Street are on part of the land. She also gave a large block of land over in Hyde Park to the Traralgon Hospital. It has since been cut up into blocks and sold. These were fine gifts by Mrs. Keys to the town where her husband had made his home for 34 years.
It must have been a big day for the Fire Brigade in 1924 when the first motor hose carriage arrived. Up until then the hand-pump "Ethel" had been the pride of the brigade. But the Traralgon Fire Brigade did not get the new carriage as a gift - they had to pay £200 towards cost. In 1934, another new motor carriage arrived - this time a Dodge --and the old carriage was passed on to another brigade which was worse equipped even than our Brigade.
Boys and girls of today give very little thought to the Mechanics' Institute. It has always been run by a Committee of local people who have been elected by those who chose to join and pay a small fee so that they could use the library, the reading room or the billiard room. In earliest times, the people had to use the two rooms next door to the Traralgon Hotel until the first Institute was built on the corner of Franklin and Hotham Streets in 1876. Traralgon then had its first public hall. When the new Mechanics' Institute was built in brick In 1887, it was the pride of the town. Here you could find the only public library and reading room where the newspapers could be read and where, in later years, the first moving pictures were shown on Saturday nights. The moving pictures were paying very well, but, instead of keeping this profitable show to themselves, the committee of the Institute decided to share the wealth with the Shire. In 1925 the Institute gave to the Council, free of charge, the land next door in Hotham Street, and between the Institute and the Council, the Town Hall and Council Chambers were built for £10,000. The Institute managed the hall and ran its own picture theatre there, with the result that, in twenty years, the whole cost of the building was paid off. You may not look on that building with pride after forty years, but it was built in the same style as the Institute so that the two buildings would match. The Committee of the Institute deserves every credit for its planning ahead and its generosity towards its fellow citizens.
I have told you how the first Traralgon tannery was built up at the north end of Franklin Street beside the creek. One of our early butter factories took over the old tannery and, in later years, it was able to exchange that land for the piece of land on the corner of Franklin Street and Grey Street which was owned by the Council. So the Council used the old butter factory as its depot and, in 1925, the Butter Factory Company was able to build a two storey factory on its new land which fell away so steeply that the top storey was level with Franklin Street. Of course you now know that that factory, which turned out so many tons of butter, is now turning out many bottles of soft drinks for Alpine Aerated Waters.
Coursing hares with greyhounds had died out during the first World War and, in 1925, the local coursing enthusiasts decided to form a plumpton. Dr. Hagen headed the move, and many prominent local citizens, among them J. S. O'Brien, M. Phelan and J. Fithie took part in the meetings. The Coursing Club had the use of the racecourse, and, during the next six years, held monthly meetings during the winter months. The financial depression, which struck the world in the early 1930's, and the growth of speed coursing in Melbourne were the eventual causes of the club being wound up.
After the first World War, some of the returned soldiers and sailors joined together and formed the Returned Soldiers and Sailors Imperial League of Australia. They wanted to make sure that those who went to the war and who did not return were not forgotten, and that those who had come back to Australia and needed help were still able to turn to their comrades for assistance. The soldiers in Traralgon formed their branch in August, 1926. Mr. Bert Coates was the first president and, from this small beginning, the branch here has grown and grown, with its own clubrooms, and a membership of over 300, possibly the strongest club here after the anglers.
The boys and girls at Grey Street State School have all heard of the Richard Canfield Memorial Prize given each year by the Rotary Club to the outstanding girl and boy at the school. Who was Richard Canfield? He was just a painter and paperhanger who came here to Traralgon ninety years ago. It was he who painted the interior of the Post Office and Court House when they were built. In later years he was a real estate agent, but he is remembered for the years of service he gave to the town. He was a Councillor and was Shire President twice, the first time in 1926, and when he died in 1943, the Rotary Club considered that his service to the community was of such a high standard that his memory will be kept fresh by the annual award of these prizes.
Although I have told you about the Crown Hotel when it was first built in 1884, when Hugh McAuley closed his Wheatsheaf Hotel and transferred the licence to the Crown, I must not pass by the period when Mr. Michael Phelan was licensee of this hotel. He first held the licence in 1927, and finally left the hotel in 1957 to live in retirement. The first Crown Hotel, a single storey wooden building, was pulled down in 1934 when the present two storey modern hotel was erected on the site.
The Latrobe River was still quite a clear stream and, as there were no Town Baths then, the Traralgon people would travel out to the Sandbank at Tyers to swim. The reserve, in the bend of the river between the two Tyers bridges is still there, but Yallourn and the Paper Mills together have ruined the river for swimming. The fishing in the river has never been really good, although, at this time, huge Gippsland perch and conger eels could be caught by "frog walloping" at night. The Fish and Game Protection Society decided to try to introduce Macquarie perch into the river, and, in November, 1927, a party of eight members went up to the Goulburn Weir, where they hooked 1002 perch. They were released in the Latrobe and they commenced to thrive, but the pollution from Yallourn proved too much. It killed all the weeds and most of the fish in the river, and the hopes of the Society that the Latrobe River would become an anglers' paradise were ruined.
The first step towards Traralgon becoming a city was really taken in 1928. Back in 1885, the shire was broken up into three parts called Ridings, and each Riding sent three Councillors to the Shire Council. Then, in 1892, the Morwell Riding was cut off and became the new Shire of Morwell. The two Ridings that were left still sent their three Councillors each to the Shire Council until the year 1928, when the central part of the Shire, where nearly all the people lived, was made into a new Riding, called the Town Riding. It, too, was given three Councillors, making nine Councillors once again. In the next chapter I will tell you how this move led to the cutting off of the central part of the Shire to form the Borough of Traralgon. The whole Shire could not be made into a Borough, for a Borough must not have a greater area than nine square miles,
In 1928, it was decided to do something to give a better water supply to the people in the Loch Park area. In hot weather, the people in the lower parts of the town drew most of the water direct from the pipes, and this often resulted in very low pressure in summer. So the Waterworks Trust built the water tower at the top of Henry Street. It would hold 120,000 gallons, and was able to fill up during the night to give water to the people on higher ground when those down in the town were all hosing their gardens,
The Royal Exchange Hotel was rebuilt in 1930, when the old building which had started off as a hay and corn store was pulled down, and a modern hotel built in its place. The brick rooms which had been built on to the old hotel by the licensee Peter Kelly seventy years ago were still left in Princes Street, and were used as part of the hotel for many years afterwards.
In December, 1930 there was another bad flood in the Latrobe. The people along the river were at last stirred into action, and they formed the Latrobe River Improvement League, of which Mr. A. G. Burnet was the secretary. This league organized the farmers, and they put up such a good case for river improvement that the Government in Melbourne decided to hold an inquiry. The eventual result was that the Government gave £46,000 to snag the river all the way from Yallourn to Sale, and to make cuts across some of the big bends. But worse was to come in 1934.
A town landmark disappeared in 1932 when, in July, the licence for the Club Hotel was surrendered. The wooden hotel had stood on the corner of Franklin Street and Hotham Street since 1879. It was pulled down by Mr. J. H. Rogers, who built three new shops on the site. T he old billiard room at the hotel was moved up to a block of land in Kay Street opposite Cumberland Park, where it was used for a house.
The two newspapers, the "Journal" and the "Record" were still running, the "Journal" from its office opposite the Grand Junction Hotel, and the "Record" from its office in Seymour Street. Mr. Edward Barbor, the owner and editor of the "Journal" bought out the "Record" in 1932. He closed the old "Journal" office, and ran only one paper - "The Journal and the Record" - from the old "Record" office. Have a look at your paper today, and you will see that it is still called "The Journal and the Record",
The town was still growing, and every summer there was trouble with the water running out, despite the fact that the Henry Street water tower had been built only five years before. It was decided to put a wall across a steep valley on the east side of the creek to make a reservoir which could fill up during the winter months and also take all the spare water which came through the pipe from Tyers at night. And so the Hilltop reservoir was built in 1933, and, when it is full, it holds 12 million gallons.
In 1934, Mr. Walter West the Shire Secretary, died, and his daughter, Miss E. M. West, who had been working in the Shire Office for many years, was appointed in his stead. Many of you would have known Miss West, who died recently. She went to school over in Campbell Street, and she saw the town grow, And as she took such a large part in all the happenings in your town over the last 70 years and made local history one of her interests, she was able to help me to write this story for you.
The Crown Hotel was pulled down in 1934, and the present two-storey building erected in its place. Mr. Michael Phelan was the licensee at the time, and the new hotel was quite a meeting place for gentlemen visiting Traralgon on Friday nights while their wives were doing their shopping, all the shops being open until 9 pm in those days. The Crown was like a beehive until the police stepped in, with the result that about thirty of those gentlemen had to explain their presence in the hotel to the Magistrate.
Traralgon was soon to boom when the Paper Mills started up, so let me take you along the main streets in 1934. Down at the south end of Franklin Street, Richard Canfield had his estate agency, Raymond Farrin-Webb his garage, and Graham Silvester a tyre service. Starting then from the Grand Junction Hotel, Thomas Standing & Co. had their office in the hotel building in Franklin Street, and next door was Layton Bros. drapers shop and then their grocery. Around the corner John Row had his estate agency and acted as Registrar of Births and Deaths, and Secretary to the Cemetery Trust and the Agricultural Society, and then W. H. Plant & Sons had a timber yard which ran through to Princes Street.
On the other side of Hotham Street there was a dairy, and Cecil Coulson, the plumber was next door. The Bank of Australasia was on the corner. Moving north along Franklin Street you would pass Roy Marsh the butcher, then Herbert Lloyd the saddler, Serjeant, Bruce and Frost-Samuels the solicitors upstairs, W. J. Chenhall in his boot shop, Albert Jenkins in his delicatessen, and then the new Crown Hotel. H. Terrill the saddler was across the lane, then McLean & Little Pty. Ltd., the stock and station agents, where Mr. Dick Hill was chief and John McMillan his right hand man, and the National Bank was on the corner.
Across Seymour Street, J. B. Robinson the chemist was on the corner, then Mrs. Rayner's cafe, E. T. Stammers the "Wrong Side" tailor and mercer, J. Mayze and Sons coachbuilding works where the State Electricity Commission office now stands, Munro the baker, E. Osborne the hairdresser, Norman Berryman in his bicycle shop, Frank Reeder the butcher, Miss O. Marten who dealt in babies wear, the Blue Bird Cafe, and then the empty store of the Gippsland Trading Company on the corner. Around the corner William Ikin, the founder of our first bus services, had his garage, and then stood the old delicensed Star Hotel, which was then a coffee palace,
Starting again at the other end of Franklin Street, T. G. Cobbledick had his garage around the corner in Princes Street. The State Electricity Commission District Office was in the brick building on the corner, and Mr. C. H. Ford the solicitor was to be found in his office on the corner of Service Street. Across that street Alf Brereton the grocer was on the corner, then Walter Mathieson in his stationery business, Guiseppe Cincotta the fruiterer, Miss Louie Feldt the dressmaker in the old "Journal" office, Miss Bambrook the confectioner, Herbert Ennis the tailor and Miss Madge Holt ladies' wear on the corner of Hotham Street.
In Hotham Street, next door to the Savings Bank, J. C. Cuddigan had his store, then came Miss Josie Grace, a ladies' hairdresser, H.C. Kent the dry cleaner, then the Mechanics' Institute and the Town Hall, then E. Kennedy the baker, the Misses Rogers confectioners, D. and W. MacCubbin timber merchants, and Fred Judd in his bicycle shop on the corner.
Starting at Roland Hill's garage across the street, you would find William Mclntosh timber merchant and undertaker, and James Rogers was building his new shops on the corner of Franklin Street on the site of the old Club Hotel.
Going north in Franklin Street, the first shop was B. Johnson's fruit shop, then M. C. Brown newsagent, O. Gilpin Ltd. drapers, J. E. Vickers fruiterer, Rew Hunt hairdresser, J. Tomkins mercer, Alf Brown bootmaker, C. H. Welch jeweller, Geo White painter, Seth Plant baker, S. P. Stoddart butcher, Williams the Shoemen, Moran & Cato grocers, and then Jeffery's drapery store on the corner. In Seymour street, the only shop was D. O'Keefe, the boot repairer, in the shops beyond the "Journal" office. There were no shops on the other side of Seymour Street, and Bullock's the grocers were on the corner of Franklin Street. Next door was Fred Hesse's men's wear, then Layton Bros. men's store, W. J. S. Tanner in his garage, H. A. Peck hairdresser, H. T. Cooper Photographer, Miss Henderson ladies hats, S. Channing fruiterer, R. Farrin-Webb estate agent, Don Wallace bicycle shop and B. K. Coates stationer.
The boys and girls reading this story will now realise that there were no shops at all except in the central part of the town. All of the newer housing areas were yet to come. There was an old derelict shop in Bank Street, and another small one at the top end of Seymour Street and, apart from those, there was not one place of business away from the Franklin Street area. The modern idea of having a batch of shops in each new area did not reach Traralgon for another twelve years or more.
In December, 1934, the biggest flood of modern times hit Traralgon. It rained for nearly a week over the Mount Baw Baw area from where most of the water in the Latrobe River comes, and a few nights later a wall of water came down the river. The Princes Highway and the railway were washed away, the river flooded and filled up the Yallourn open cut, Morwell Bridge was flooded, and the old wooden bridges at Rosedale were all under water. Out near the Scarne, the Maskrey family were trapped in the ceiling of their home with flood waters all around. A truck rushed a fishing boat from Bairnsdale. It was taken off at Rosedale, and was rowed across the river there and brought on to Traralgon. It was launched again out at the Scarne, and the fishermen rowed it out to Maskrey's. They took some boards off the side of the house and rescued the Maskrey family, including young Jack, who in later years was to become Councillor Jack Maskrey. The flood backed up the waters of the Traralgon Creek too; and all the lower parts of Traralgon were under water, and bridges were damaged. After this near tragedy, the Government did do something about snagging the Latrobe in the hope that, if we ever had such heavy rain again, the river would never rise to the same level as it did in 1934.
In 1936, another well-known citizen sold up and left Traralgon. Edward Barbor, who had been a part owner, and then sole owner of the "Journal" since 1921 and who had bought out the "Record" in 1932, and amalgamated the two papers, sold out to Mr. W. A. Thompson, who had been a member of his staff for many years. In those days the "Journal" was printed on pink paper like the "Sporting Globe" of today, and Mr. Barbor and his pink paper were known throughout Gippsland. Mr. Thompson, who is well known to all of you, sold his ownership of the "Journal" a few years ago. I am telling you this to remind you how our local newspapers are the recorders of our history, and how important this can be, for we all like to tell others the stories of events that happened in the past, especially if we think we know more about them than our listeners.
But Traralgon was still just standing still. The depression, which had hit the world a few years before, was almost over, and there was more work about. Here in Traralgon the only industry of any kind was the railway workshops. Of course there were the butter factory and the bacon factory, but they employed only a few men. One citizen knew how Ararat and Beechworth both leaned rather heavily on their mental hospitals to keep the town going, and he realized how there was not one such hospital in all Gippsland. So he suggested to the Chamber of Commerce that here was a chance to ask the Government in Melbourne to do something about building the mental hospital for Gippsland here in Traralgon. Old Dr. McLean, of course, said that all that they would have to do would be to put a fence around the town, but, all jokes aside, the Chamber of Commerce did take up the idea. And now, nearly thirty years later, Hobson Park Mental Hospital has been built and has many patients.
We are now at the end of this chapter. In the next I will tell you the story of the Traralgon of which you know - the Paper Mill, all the new houses, and the new shops in Franklin Street.
End of Chapter 6