Ikin had built the body of his first bus himself, and his later models were not much better. They were terrible buses in which to travel, but by now the war was on, and no better vehicles could be provided. Before Mr. Ikin started his bus service up Grey Street to the mill, the only kind of public transport by road were the hire cars and the mail cars which ran across to Yarram, through Gormandale and through Balook, and out to Tyers. The running of buses out to Maryvale made it necessary for the Traralgon Shire Council to improve the road beyond the turn-off to the Cemetery and Tyers along which there had been no traffic at all before the mill was built.
By September, , the main paper pulp mill had been completed out at Maryvale, and it was starting to make paper pulp. Loads of pulpwood were coming in from all parts of the district by road as well as by rail, and the pulpwood truck was a common sight grinding its way up the Grey Street hill at all hours of the day and night. You already know how our first chemist, Paul Kleesattel, after starting in the central block of Franklin Street, built his chemist's shop on the corner of Franklin and Seymour Street.
In September, , sixty years later, Mr. Robinson, the chemist, bought the shop from Miss Elsie Kleesattel, thus ending the long association of the Kleesattels with that corner. The second World War had started in September, Soon many young men from Traralgon had enlisted in the A. Familiar faces were missing, but it was not until , when Japan attacked the Americans at Pearl Harbour that the war really affected Traralgon, when the militia units into which many Traralgon lads had been drafted were called upon to serve outside the Australian mainland,.
The new Methodist Church on the Princes Highway had been completed, and it was opened in November, The old wooden church was left alongside the new one for use as a Sunday School, and in later years it was moved further back on the block to make room for a new hall. This corner is always of interest, for it was here that Thomas Windsor built his house in the's, where it was the accommodation house where travellers along the Gippsland Road stayed overnight, both while Windsor and then Peter Jeremiah Smith were living there, before Duncan Campbell built his Travellers' Rest on the Traralgon Hotel corner in In , there were about children going to the Grey Street State School, and it became necessary to enlarge the school.
New classrooms were built on the Grey Street side of the school. The old wooden building which had been brought over from Campbell Street some ten years before to be used as a Higher Elementary School was proving rather cramped, and further Higher Elementary School classes were now able to use some of the rooms in the State School,.
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The paper mill at Maryvale had started off by making paper pulp, and the next step was the building of a huge machine which would turn that pulp into paper. By the end of , this machine was making brown wrapping paper in one wide sheet which was running out of the machine on to a big roller faster than you can run. I know that many of you have seen that machine out at Maryvale when you have been there on school excursions. In September, , the Rotary Club of Traralgon was formed.
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Its charter to carry on was presented to it in March, The first president was Mr. Roland Hill, and the first secretary was Mr. The club, which is made up of men who are chosen because they are leaders in their trades or professions, has started various schemes for the improvement of our town. The best of these was to call together our citizens to form a Hospital Trust which led to the Government in Melbourne building a hospital here far bigger than the men of Rotary had ever imagined in their dreams. Franklin Street was not a very bright place at night, and the traders decided to join together to take out all the poor lights under the shop verandahs and to replace them with hanging white glass bowls all the way down each side.
What an improvement it made! It was called "The White Way", and it did really brighten up the street at night. But it was not used for very long for, as soon as Japan started the war against us, all street lighting had to be blacked out. So, for the next four years, the lights of "The White Way" just hung there, getting dirtier and dirtier and dirtier. On the day that Japan surrendered, "The White Way" was switched on in the middle of the day to celebrate the victory.
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A large town without a public hospital is seldom found today. However, for years Traralgon had put up with small private hospitals. The chief standby at this time was the Cumnock Private Hospital in Moore Street, which had been run for years by Sister Donovan, and there was also a smaller private hospital called "Ewington" conducted by Sister Fennell over in Shakespeare Street. Those people who could not afford to pay for treatment in a private hospital had to be sent to the nearest public hospital, the Gippsland Base Hospital, at Sale.
The big hospital at Yallourn served the State Electricity Commission area only. The Rotary Club called its public meeting in June, , when it was decided that a Hospital Trust should be formed. In the next four years this trust, which was made up of local citizens with Dr. McLean, Snr. In , the trust bought the ten acres of land on the Highway where it decided to build its public hospital with the money which it had in hand. In the meantime, Sister Donovan had to sell her hospital, and in later years it was run by our three local doctors - McTeigue, McLean and Considine - until the new hospital was ready to be opened.
In , it was decided to try to reform the Racing Club, some townspeople thinking that, by holding a race meeting, money might be obtained for patriotic purposes for use in our war effort. Although there were some who thought that the idea was ridiculous, a new club was formed and a strong committee with Mr. Jim Cuddigan as president and hard-working Mr. Reg Collier as secretary held the first meeting on the Traralgon race course by permission of Mr.
Further meetings were held during the war, and much of the profits was passed on to patriotic efforts and to charities such as the Blind Institute. Since those days the race club has progressed to the stage where it is able to run meetings eleven times a year. It is now one of the strongest country racing clubs in Victoria. Traralgon City council took over the racecourse for the people of Traralgon in October , and it will now be kept and used for all kinds of sport for all time.
Although Edward Hobson had come to Traralgon years before, there had never been a factory of any kind here to make anything to send away to sell in Melbourne. Of course you will want to point out Peterkin's sawmill, the bacon factory, the butter factory and the railway workshops. The paper mill at Maryvale might be thought to be an attempt to build up a local industry, but in , a Melbourne company was persuaded to start a factory here.
La Mode Industries Pty. Ltd, were able to use the drill hall when the Volunteer Defence Corps of old soldiers, who were ready to stop any attack by the Japanese on Gippsland, was disbanded, and the company commenced making ladies' brassieres with five girls from Melbourne who, in turn, taught the local girls.
Within two years, seventy girls were working at La Mode, and in a town like Traralgon, where there was so little work for girls except in the shops or out at the mill, this new method of using female labour certainly helped to find jobs for so many Traralgon girls who might have had to go to Melbourne to work or to stay here with no chance of finding a job.
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In the following year, La Mode built its own factory, here in the town, but times changed, and the factory was closed down because it was found to be much cheaper to make goods in Melbourne than in the country. It has now been re-opened by Kayser.
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I have told you how the A. In , it was still impossible for people not working out at the mill to find an empty house, and the Victorian Housing Commission took over a large piece of Traralgon Park in Gordon Street. The Commission called for people to give a price for building houses there, and Mr.
Clift from Melbourne was successful in getting the job, Mr. Gavin Blythman, his foreman, came up from Melbourne, and work was started.
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The Commission built houses in this particular part of the town, the scheme in this area being finished in The war finished at the end of , and many of the soldiers, sailors and airmen were given Commission homes on their return home. Traralgon had played its part in winning the war - men and 16 women served in the army, 19 being killed; men and 6 women in the air force, of whom 8 did not return, and 5 men in the navy, one of whom, Ross Berwick, was a member of the crew of H.
Our effort for King and Country was not a bad one for a Shire, which had a population of less than 4,, but, of course, you must always remember that Australia, with but 7,, people then, had 1,, in the forces. One out of every seven men, women and children was serving his or her country. There was probably no other country in the world with one-seventh of its people in the forces. When the men were returning home from the war, the Legion of Ex-Servicemen and Women was formed, chiefly to help and continue the comradeship for those who could not join the R. A branch of the legion was formed here in and, although it did not have as many members as the R.
You will remember how I told you that a counting of the people, a census, is held every ten years. It is usual to hold it in the year ending in the figure "1", but the war prevented the census being held until The total number of persons in the whole of the Traralgon Shire at the count was 5, and, of these, only did not live in Traralgon. Today the city of Traralgon has 14, people - quite a gain in twenty-five years. In , it was decided that the future Civic Centre for Traralgon would be on the Traralgon Creek with Mill street and Argyle Street as the boundaries.
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Seven acres of land was bought there by the Shire Council, and plans were made for building a modern Town Hall to replace the Town Hall in Hotham Street. In the meantime, the land was to be laid out as a park with lawns sloping gently down to the creek,. At this time Mrs. The school had been taken away many years before this date, and Mrs. Black had been renting the land from the Education Department. This area is of particular historical interest, for Count Strzelecki's map shows that he crossed the Traralgon Creek in this locality in after he had been trying to find his way over the Callignee Hills with his horses.
There is a monument to Strzelecki outside the Scout Reserve. The scout committee built a hut from tent floorboards bought from Army camps, and regular camps were held at the reserve by the local Scout Troop,. During the years of the war, the banks had to close up branches in some towns where there were really too many banks for the number of people.
When the war was over, the banks began to open new branches where they were needed. Traralgon was starting to grow quickly, and in October,, the Commercial Bank opened here in a shop next door to the Crown Hotel. Since then all the other banks have come here for, like you, they felt that Traralgon would soon become the chief city of Gippsland.
Traralgon was years old in As you remember, Edward Hobson and Hugh Reech arrived here -with their mob of cattle in about June, All thought of celebrating that event here in Traralgon had to be put off because of the war, and it was not until December, , that our Centenary celebrations were held. Under Councillor H. Saunders as president, and Mr. Harold Hanning as organiser, every committee and club in Traralgon joined together in making the celebrations a success.
Each was required to send two members to the first meeting. At that meeting committees were formed to handle decorations, entertainments and to welcome home returning former residents. An Historical Committee was also formed, and that Committee set out to write the first History of Traralgon. That history was the beginning of a much bigger History of which this story, written especially for the girls and boys, is taken. The celebrations lasted for a week, and included the Centenary Show, a floral carpet, an historical exhibition, a race meeting, back-to-school, and a Coronation Ceremony when the Queen of Victory was to be crowned by General Sir Thomas Blamey.
He became ill and Councillor George Purvis, from Moe, the founder of Purvis Stores, who was the president of the Shire of Narracan, acted in his stead. I have told you how Walter West was first elected a Councillor in , and how he became Shire Secretary in , an office which he held until his death in , when his daughter followed on as Shire Secretary.
The land at the bottom of the Kay Street hill had always been a swamp.