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Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Tatura as it was 100 years ago

The Guardian takes a look at Tatura during its boom period a century ago.

January 14, 2013 4:22am

The old Tatura Post office, circa 1913.


The early stages of the 20th century saw rapid growth in Tatura, with Hogan St becoming an important thoroughfare, having had the northern side of the street kerbed and channelled in 1907.

However, in 1913, a Dr Ley still had cause to complain of the ‘‘smell from the sewer in front of Balsillie Halls’’, and he advised the use of a small can of chloride of lime once a week.

At the same time, local traders banded together to provide £1 five shillings per week for watering of the street. The shire water cart provided the service.

In the Guardian of September 19, 1911, it was reported that ‘‘18 months ago there was only one motor car in Shepparton and now there are 15 of them’’.

Tatura got its first motor car on November 28, 1913, when Mrs Rennes of the Victoria Hotel purchased a car for hiring, therefore fulfilling a long-felt need in the district.

The car was a five-seater Overland, fitted with a powerful engine.

Because of reckless drivers, a notice of motion was given at the council meeting in September 1911, ‘‘that a regulation be made by council limiting the speed of motor cars and motorcycles in the various townships of the shire to 10 miles per hour’’.

There was already a by-law fixing the speed on the high road between Mooroopna and Shepparton at eight miles an hour.

In 1913 a new State Savings Bank was built by Mr A. Miles at a cost of £1150, while in the same year, Mrs C. Mitchell’s newsagency in Hogan St was destroyed by fire. On either side, the Commercial Bank and Mr C. Brady’s store were saved.

Advertisers in the local paper at the time included A. Phillips, watchmaker and jeweller of Tatura and Kyabram and G. A. Phillips of the Rodney Cycle and Motor Works in Hogan St.

The long-established and reputable auctioneering firm of Martin Cussen and Co also advertised extensively until 1913 when the Tatura and Undera branches were bought by Messrs Peck, Sons and Biggar, and those at Kyabram and Merrigum by C. W. Colbert.

For all the mass of advertising that came into his hands, the editor of the Free Press apparently considered himself hardly done by, and was moved to print an apologia on May 6, 1913.

Also in 1913, the Tatura branch of the ANA petitioned Rodney Shire Council for co-operation in seeking a new post office.

The petition read in part: ‘‘The present office is an old dilapidated building, it is inconvenient, inconspicuous, hot and badly ventilated and totally unsuitable for the conduct of postal and banking business ...’’

Council heartily agreed and two months later, a departmental inspector was persuaded to come and see the post office for himself.

The visitor was extremely anxious to secure a photograph of the building, presumably for the purpose of convincing the minister that it was a handsome structure.

Much to the surprise of the official, he was unable to purchase a post card, and when informed that no-one ever thought of including the post office in the list of public buildings, he retired broken-hearted.

The above is from the book Tatura And the Shire of Rodney by W. H. Bossence.

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