Stratford Historical Society and Museum

News from the Stratford Historical Society and Museum, in Stratford, Gippsland, Victoria. We are open Tuesdays from 10am to 3pm, and the fourth Sunday of the month from 2pm to 4pm. Our postal address is P.O. Box 145, Stratford, 3862.

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Location: Victoria, Australia

Friday, August 26, 2011

Stratford in 1855

Masthead, Stratford 1855 map

The Society recently received a copy of what is believed to be the first map of Stratford, printed by the Surveyor General’s Office in Melbourne on 15 May 1855. It clearly states it was surveyed by William Tennant Dawson in April 1852, which is two years earlier than the date previously given by historian John Wilson.

This map shows the printed names of those who purchased land at the first auction – which was obviously some time before May 1855. Our copy comes from one in the National Library in Canberra, with names added in red ink at what was presumably a second auction after that date.

It also shows those buildings that were already in place when Dawson carried out his survey in 1852. There are some surprises.

The buildings already in place were the Shakespeare Hotel (no surprises there), but also Duncan’s store, S.Reeves (stockyard), a tannery, and buildings for Cliff, Slater and Haslett. A Mr Hobson had a large garden on the flat. And that was what made up Stratford.

Shakespeare Hotel, 1855

Those who bought blocks at the first auction were a mix of settlers and speculators. W.O. Raymond bought the land on which stood the Shakespeare Hotel. The other purchasers were:

Roman Catholic Church, J. Welsh, J. Scott, J. Aitken, I. Buchanan, T. Smith, T. Aitken, S. Reeves, J. King, A. Orr, Wm Raymond (who also bought Duncan’s store), John Jones, J.A. Stratton, J.B. Stone, W.McFarlane, Jas Scott, E. Slade x 3, J. Herbert, L. Mason, R. Thomson x 3, J. Medley, B. Latham, P. Manley, J. Lightfoot, S.Reeves, L.Mason, I. Buchanan, W. Wood, J. Johnson, R. Bennison x 3

At that time, the track from Sale to Bairnsdale came across the river at the Shakespeare, and basically went straight up the middle of the blocks between Raymond and Dawson Streets, so most of the speculative purchasers were in that area. Most of the blocks behind the Catholic Church were taken up, but Tyers street was not at all popular. There was also a small group was away from the main group, in the blocks between McMillan and Macalister Streets. They were

T. Blacker, J. Scott, J. Wheildon, Jas Timmins, J. McCallum Wilson

We know from the Gippsland Guardian newspaper that there was a land sale at Stratford in January 1856, so this may be the one for which the names appear in red. Those who purchased next were:

W.T. Dawson, J. King, R.Haslett, W.O. Raymond x 2, H.C.Orchard x 2, John King, Elizabeth Haslett, C.J. Tyers, D.McColl, T.Blacker, J.LeM Carey x 2, D. Clarke x 3

At the end of this time, about 80% of the blocks between Tyers and Merrick Streets had been taken, but less than 50% of those between Tyers and McFarlane Streets. The town stopped at Dawson Street.

Want to see where people were? Drop into the Museum and have a look at a copy of the map.


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