Wahgunyah is a quiet little town in northeastern Victoria on the border of New South Wales and Victoria, Australia. This small town has a population of less than 1000 residents. The name is believed to derive from an aboriginal phrase 'describing a white settler's house -- "Wah" meaning big and "Gunyah" a shelter' (Batson 2011). In 1841, the Wahgunyah cattle run was leased by two settlers known as John Foord and John Crisp. Eventually, Crisp sold out to Foord and the township was established in 1856 by John Foord. I have had a family connection with the area since 1858-59, when my 2 x great-grandfather purchased land from John Foord, established his farm and raised a family.
|Foord Street, the main street of Wahgunyah, viewed from the Murray River crossing (Mattingbgn)|
|The bridge over the river Murray (Abt 1870)|
Situated on the banks of the Murray River, the discovery of gold transformed Wahgunyah into a busy river port. Before the rail link to Melbourne was established in 1879, paddle steamers transported goods to and from Echuca, where they were then transported overland to areas such as Chiltern, Beechworth and Melbourne. The river trade came to an abrupt end with the introduction of the rail link to Melbourne.
| Launching P.S Wahgunyah at Wahgunyah |
Bow and side view of 'P.S. Wahgunyah' behind the mill at Wahgunyah, owner John Foord
The region is well known for its wineries and historic buildings. What follows are some of the historic buildings/storefronts of Foord Street, Wahgunayh:
|The Wahgunyah Customs House and Bond Store (Abt 1901)|
The Customs House (approximately 1886) was once used for collecting excise on goods crossing the NSW/Victorian border and is located on Foord Street, near the John Foord Bridge. This single-storey building has been restored and now has a National Trust classification and stands as a reminder of the town's river port history.
|The Wahgunyah Customs House and Bond Store (Mattingbgn Abt 2008)|
|Savages Store (Mattingbgn Abt 2009)|
When the photo above was taken it seems this building was being used as a Fish & Chip shop. My memories of this store, in approximately the late 60s/early 70s, was as a barber shop and tobacconist. Erected in approximately 1861, this building was built by John Foord and was originally the Wahgunyah Hotel. It was also used as a booking office for Cobb & Co which ran a daily service to Melbourne.
|The Old Wahgunyah Post Office (Mattingbgn 2008)|
This two-storey building (above) is now a private dwelling. It was used as the post office from 1863 and 1942. Below is the present home of the post office, which was once the Bank of Victoria building.
|Wahgunyah Post Office (Mattingbgn 2009)|
Although Wahgunyah is a small town, it has a long history and another interesting landmark from Wahgunyah's past is the Mass Tree. In 1869, in a tent under this his huge red gum tree, the town's first Catholic mass was held. While not situated in Foord Street, and not an historic building or storefront, it is of historical significance and is located not far away in Short Street.
|The Mass Tree (Mattingbgn 2008)|
This post is part of a series of posts for Sepia Saturday, which provides an opportunity for bloggers to share their history through photographs. You can view more Sepia Saturday images here.
Batson, Peter. "Wahgunyah: A Short History." Border Mail [Albury Wodonga] 18 12 2011, n. pag. Web. 24 Jan. 2013. <http://www.bordermail.com.au/story/67134/wahgunyah-a-short-history/>.
Launching P.S. Wahgunyah at Wahgunyah. 1867. State Library of South AustraliaWeb. 4 Jan 2013. <http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/godson/1/04000/PRG1258_1_3900.htm>.
Mattingbgn, . Foord Street, Wahgunyah. 2009. commons.wikimedia.orgWeb. 4 Jan 2013. <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wahgunyah.JPG>.
Mattingbgn, . Savages Store. 2009. commons.wikimedia.orgWeb. 24 Jan 2013. <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:WahgunyahSavagesStore2009.JPG>.
Mattingbgn, . The Mass Tree. 2008. commons.wikimedia.orgWeb. 4 Jan 2013. <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:WahgunyahMassTree.JPG>.
Mattingbgn, . Wahgunyah Customs House. 2008. commons.wikimedia.orgWeb. 4 Jan 2013. <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:WahgunyahCustomsHouse.JPG>.
Mattingbgn, . Wahgunyah Old Post Office. 2008. commons.wikimedia.orgWeb. 24 Jan 2013. <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:WahgunyahOldPostOffice.JPG>.
Mattingbgn, . Wahgunyah Post Office. 2009. commons.wikimedia.orgWeb. 4 Jan 2013. <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:WahgunyahPostOffice2009.JPG>.
"My Holiday Trip to Victoria and Tasmania." Australian Town and Country Journal 05 02 1870, 17. Web. 24 Jan. 2013. <http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/70457498>.
The Wahgunyah Customs House. 1901. National Archives of AustraliaWeb. 4 Jan 2013. <http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/scripts/PhotoSearchItemDetail.asp?M=0&B=9699346&SE=1>.