Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Pakenham - the early days

The Pakenham area originally formed part of the I.Y.U Estate, first taken up by Dr W.K Jamieson in 1839. The original town of Pakenham was on the Highway, near Toomuc Creek and grew up around the Latrobe Inn, established around 1850 by Michael and Kitty Bourke. Michael Bourke also acted as Post Master for nearly 30 years. Kitty Bourke kept the Hotel and Post Office from the time of her husband’s death in 1877 until 1910. The Latrobe Inn was a Cobb & Co. coach stop and for obvious reasons was later known as Bourke’s Hotel. The town, which developed around the Railway Station, was officially known as Pakenham East until the 1960s. Pakenham grew as the service centre for the surrounding farms, especially the orchards at Pakenham Upper and Toomuc Valley, but it also had a number of other sources of employment, such as Nestles who established their plant in 1960 and sold out to Simplot in 2009.

This is a picture of the Auction Mart, which was near the Railway Station, in fact you can see a train in the back ground on the right. The  Pakenham Gazette of October 7, 1917 told us that William Close opened his auction mart on October 11, 1917 and sold  a whole range of goods from live stock to farm machinery to 'useful sundries'.

Pakenham Gazette, October 7 1917.

Report of the opening of William Close's Auction Mart from the Pakenham Gazette of October 12, 1917. If you click on the image, you will get a clearer copy.

In 1901, the Shire of Berwick moved its headquarters from Berwick to Pakenham. The first meetings at Pakenham were held in the Mechanics’ Institute until the new Shire Offices were built in 1912.  This building was  on the corner of Main Street and John Street and remained virtually intact in spite of the modernisation of 1962. The building was moved its current location in 2004 and is the home of the Berwick Pakenham Historical Society.

The Shire of Berwick Offices, after their 1962 modernisation - it's the building on the corner with the brick parapet. The small building behind it is the original office of the Pakenham Gazette and beyond that is the (now demolished) bell tower of the Presbyterian/Uniting Church. This photo was taken in the late 1970s/early 1980s during a Yakkerboo Festival.

The Mechanics’ Institute Public Hall was opened by Mr James Gibb, M.L.A on August 8 1884. A report in the South Bourke & Mornington Journal of August 13 tells us that the Hall cost 200 pounds to build, plus fit-out costs and was built by McCartney and Delaney. It was 65 feet in length (about 19 metres) and 25 feet wide (about 7.5 metres). There was stage and dressing rooms. There were 250 at the opening and they were entertained by a concert and  a Ball.  The building was used as a Hall, a Library and a Court House, however its role as a Public Hall declined when the ‘new’ Hall was built in 1959 (which was demolished in 2010) and it was put up for auction by the Council in December 1960. It didn’t sell and was thus able to be used again in 1962 for Council Meetings when the Shire Offices were being modernised. It was finally sold by the Shire of Berwick in December 1962.

No comments: