Early Sites of Interest
Visit the DLCA History Group rooms for more details of early Lismore.
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(Information below was compiled by Andrew Lang from converstions with Les Buchholz in about 1980) Please "contact us" if you have more details.
Gray St sites from east to west
High St sites from west to east
Mounted Constable Dominick Healy. In 1893, it was decided that a police presence was not warranted. Mounted Constable John Hall was withdrawn, and the station was closed. The brick building on the corner may have been the post office from 1914-1924. In the 1930's it was Bertie Bennett's butcher shop, later Keith Abley's. Bert Bennett slaughtered beasts at a slaughterhouse above the creek north west of town, reached from Brown St.
A series of blacksmiths worked on the site. In 1926 McQuinn and Gallichan, Lismore Shoeing Forge, commenced business here 'undertaking all descriptions of blacksmithing - a trial solicited'. This site held a blacksmiths into the 1930's. Later it was used by E.J Ryan as a fuel depot.
Site of Roy McQuinn, saddler (1920's). 'McQuinn sat behind a never diminishing pile of harness. A great place for men to gather and gossip.' He also repaired boots.
Site of John Dunstan's grocer shop, also Mr Jarman, later Bill Lewis ran an electrical shop and repaired radios. (now state bank building)
Site of two small shops used by visiting dentists and solicitors in the 1930/40's. One became an opportunity shop in the 1950's.
site was originally owned by Seymour Bros, coach builders. They may have operated here before
moving to another site in Heriot St later Whatmough's International Harvester agency and garage (1951). The bank building was used as the first official post office from 1915 to 1924 when the new post office was built.
High St side road east to west
Heriot St sites
William St sites, east to west
In the 1930's teachers were Miss Pluck (junior), Mr Dwyer (intermediate) and Mr Dance (headmaster). Geoff Drinnan recalls lots of nature study and excursions. The school burnt down in 1948, and was rebuilt in 1950 to accommodate up to 120 children. By 1961 after two more rooms and a staff room were added it was accommodating 144 children with four teachers. By 1966 there were 188 children and eight teachers. Extra rooms including a library were added, but the enrolment turned down in 1967 and numbers have slowly dwindled to pre-1912 levels.
Ferrars St sth
45 'Bottletop Cottage' is built on a site subdivided from Sam Perkins original block, which he bought in 1894 for 8 pounds. Shortly after he built the house to the north that still stands. Bottletop Cottage was one of a number of houses moved into the area around 1914-16 from the Pitfield township near Cape Clear. When the Woady Yalloak gold diggings were exhausted the township houses were gradually sold off. Buildings were mostly moved by bullock teams. The name came from the beer bottle tops used to secure the wire netting that acted as reinforcing for the trowelled-on cement render.
R.L Gibson built a butcher shop here sometime after the subdivision. Geoff Drinnan remembers Harry Howard (Howith?) trading from here in the early 1930's. He came house to house in a red and yellow buggy. It had a pull-down back with a chopping block on the tailboard. Harry used to carry a gum tree switch to brush the flies from the meat while serving. In this period only one butcher at a time was operating in Lismore, while in the 1950's there were two shops, both in the central town area.
High St, just west of Hospital
46 4th Police station. This house was brought in from Pittong (Pitfield?) in the early 1920's, and an office was built on the east side. It served as the station through the 1940's. Constable George Hornsby was one of the officers. It was originally a one acre block and had an orchard. One account is that there was a free-standing building, possibly a mortuary, that was shifted later to the hotel yard. It is likely the solid lock-up that is at station no.5 was also here. Ted Court has lived here since 1956.
47. The creek-side golf course, public reserve and town water supply. This was the site of the second Lismore Township golf course (to distinguish it from the golf course on 'Gala'). The township club began in 1930, playing on the common, pound paddock and recreation reserve on the south side of town. With development in that area the links moved to this area of Crown Land where nine holes were laid out along the creek, possibly providing more water hazard than any other course in the country (a major pastime of children of golfers was to retrieve balls from the creek). In 1974 the club and ex-RAAF clubhouse moved to the current site.
The creek was a choice recreation area for town children, into the 1960's. There was a footbridge below Cunningham St, which gave access to the cemetery area, and a windmill just downstream pumped water up into the town (into the pound paddock dam?). Water quality was better then, and platypus, water rats, yabbies and fish were here. Several holes were big and deep enough for swimming.
High St east of Manse
48. Methodist Church site. The first Methodist services in the area were held at John Bustard's house The Church was built by S.J.Gullick of Ferrars St and was opened in 1912.. The Closer Settlement Act stimulated subdividion of parts of many stations, and this meant a marked increase in population of the area. The land was donated by John Bustard, and the Bustard family were prominent members of the Methodist community, with Harry Bustard being one of only two organists for the next fifty years (the other being Miss C.Missen). Other Methodist families included Wilson, Walters, Dunstan, O'Donnell, Hosking, Tonkin, Gazzard, Worral, Ingles and Bennett. The last service was in 1965 and in 1968 the building was moved to just behind the Presbyterian church. It served as a Sunday school, meeting room for cubs, and a place for piano lessons for some years.
High St side road opposite Manse
49. The Anglican Church site. Some early services were held at 'Titanga' in 1978 during Alexander Buchanan's ownership. In 1911 services in the Mechanics Institute attracted up to 25 worshippers. As with the Methodists, closer settlement from 1911 had brought more Anglicans into the town and surrounding farm settlements. The church was built by S.J.Gullick (who had just finished the school) and completed by July for the first wedding (Gullick immediately went on to build the Methodist church). The site for the church was given by S.McPadden. The church was called St Augustine's after the home parish church of the oldest member of the congregation, Thomas Seymour (he had been working in the area since at least 1862). The McPaddens continued as pillars of the church for the next sixty years. Ron Howell remembers coming from Struan 6 miles to church every Sunday in a buggy in the late 1920's, when Lismore would have been full of church goers from town and the closer settlement farms.(the horse and buggy was left at stables behind Bustard's store). The church was extensively renovated in 1975 and re-hallowed. In 1979 the first set of twins, Kerry and Joanne McPadden, were christened, being great-grand daughters of S.McPadden.
The congregation slowly dwindled through the 1980's. The decision was finally made by the Camperdown Parish to deconsecrate and sell the building. It is now a private residence in Werribee.
Gnarpurt Rd east of recreation reserve
50.The flax mills and manager's residence. The Second World War generated a great need for flax for making parachute webbing, bags, straps, leggings and puttees. A search round Victoria located a number of suitable sites for growing flax, including the granite soils around Lismore. Growing began from 1940 with the flax sent to Colac by rail. The flax mill was built in 1943. At its peak the mill and outside jobs employed 90 people, including up to 50 Land Army girls.
Crops were harvested when higher than 23 inches. The crop inspector George Williams would then send the reaper-and-binders in. Loads of flax sheaves were carted to the showgrounds area and stacked (hundreds of tons of these stacks were burnt in the 1944 fire). The Land Army girls worked turning the spread out stalks so the soft vegetable material would rot off the fibre (retting). This was done on the land south of the sports reserve. The retted flax went to the flax mill and was processed.
After the war demand for flax products dropped away and the mill closed. Several attempts were made to use it for making agricultural machinery, the first by Jim Meldrum who tried making hay balers. Finally the site was bought by Jack Lang. In the mid 1950's the local scout troupe met in the buildings. They were badly vandalised to their present state by a few town boys in the early 1990's.
High St side road just west of West St.
51. The Lismore Catholic Church was completed in 1923. Before this religious needs of Catholics in the area were served by priest from the Parish of Camperdown which stretched from the coast to about Cape Clear. Fr Daly held the first Mass in Lismore at the Hall in 1911. The congregation consisted of three adults and four children. More families arrived with closer settlement. There had been a site allocated for a Catholic church in Gray St at the corner of Cunningham St (a rather wet site and close to the Presbyterian church). This was sold, and a new site bought on High St A local curate, Fr.T.Darcey, lived midway between Lismore and Derrinallum.
With an overflowing congregation necessary extensions were added, and opened in 1957. From 1958 the parish priest was based in Cressy, initially Fr O'Keefe. In 1974 Bill Keating, a local boy, was ordained a priest before a congregation of 700 in the only ordination in Lismore's history.
Camperdown Road, corner of Seymour St
52. Site of Hood and Reed, Blacksmiths. They started here in the 1920's (1934 according to BWH), and are remembered by Les Buchholz as 'ex-military men'. While Hood and Reed left few memorials, this blacksmithing business is the only one out of the six sites that continues to the present. Alec Cornish operated here through the 1950's, after beginning with Jim Meldrum. The present engineer John 'Whoopie' Worral maintains the ability of the early blacksmiths of being able to straighten anything by eye, and to repair any broken equipment, so that that section will far outlast the rest of the machine. Given time he can find a nut for any bolt and vice versa, and identify the thread type apparently by instinct. Here there is still an element of the less frantic past, and men stand here and talk, and watch while repair goes on. No one feels they have to be on their most polite behaviour, allowing the basic problems of life (particularly politics and the iniquities of big business) to be freely discussed in straight-forward language, often interspersed with crude jokes and raucous laughter.