Wednesday, 26 May 2010


When the Railway line was opened from Oakleigh to Bunyip in October 1877 is also opened up the timber industry. Sidings were established to dispatch timber to Melbourne and townships, such as Tynong, developed around these Sidings. Timber mills connected to the rail line by tramways. A number of Mills were established in the 1880s but the area had a resurgence when Horatio Weatherhead and his sons moved there from Lyonville in late 1908.

Horatio Weatherhead's Mill in North Tynong in 1910.

Horatio had a license to mill 2,000 acres of forest and he and his sons operated various Mills from 1909 onwards.

A trestle bridge in North Tynong, 1912. Eva Weatherhead, is standing on the bridge. Eva and her mother Eleanor, arrived from Lyonville to join the rest of the family, after Eva finished Grade 8 around the end of 1913.

One of the earliest public buildings in Tynong was the Mechanics’ Institute. According to The Argus, it was used as a Polling Place in February 1886 and I believe it was built in the previous year. The current Hall was officially opened on January 14, 1927. In The Argus report of the opening, it says that the Hall was new and recently erected at the cost of £900.00. It was wrecked by a gale in August 1959, then renovated and re-opened with a new supper room, kitchen and a ‘ladies ‘room in November 1961. The original Mechanics’ Institute building has been at Old Gippstown since 1974, when it was rescued from an orchard.

This much we do know, however a report in the Pakenham Gazette in 1961 says the history of the Tynong Hall goes back to 1909, in which year the Progress Association purchased the present site from Mr Gault. A year or so later they purchased from the Education department an old Schoolroom and that served as Tynong’s Hall for many years. The book From Bullock Tracks to Bitumen (see citation below) says the first public Hall was originally the School, put on land bought by the Progress Association in 1913 from Mrs Gault and opened in 1917. There is yet another account of a Tynong Hall from the Pakenham Gazette in the 1960s which are the reminiscences of an early resident, Mrs Ryan. Mrs Ryan says Where Wilson’s home is at present in 1918 a partly built house, three rooms and frame work for more. The Centre rooms were at one time a Tynong Hall. It was in the paddock opposite the lane …Mr Jas Smith later sold to Mrs Gault…in the early 1920s Mr Jas Marsden bought it and had a nice 6-roomed home made of it [later] Mr Cecil Brand bought the property and turned it into a nice home and ….at present Wilsons occupy it.

So, were there in fact three Tynong Halls? The 1885 Mechanics’ Institute, the 1927 current Hall and a Hall that was opened in c.1910 or 1917 or was there yet another Hall that became part of Mr Wilson’s house? Tynong is said to be Aboriginal for ‘plenty of fish’ but I believe it must really mean ‘plenty of halls’.

Tynong Hall also has a Projection Room, clearly seen in the picture, above, which is currently inaccessible. I have no confirmed information about this Projection Room. Was it built in 1927 when the Hall was built – the 1920s was time when many Picture Theatres were being erected, so that might be logical? However other notes I have say that in the 1950’s the Hall Committee purchased a film projector and used the Hall as a Picture Theatre.

Apart from being a town with many Halls Tynong also had a School which was opened in 1906 and became part of the Pakenham Consolidated School in 1952.

Tynong also supplied the granite for the Shrine of Remembrance which was built between. July 1928 and November 1934 to honour the soldiers who served in the First World War.

The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848-1954), Friday 31 August 1928, page 12.
From the National Library of Australia Newspapers Beta Project

From Bullock Tracks to Bitumen : a brief history of the Shire of Berwick. Published by the Historical Society of Berwick Shire in 1962. This is the earlier version of In the wake of the Pack Tracks.

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