Tarnagulla Today - A Walk around Tarnagulla

This page is produced from a booklet originally photographed and prepared by Revd. T. H. Banfield from notes prepared by Mr. D. W. Clark. April 1981. A second edition was reproduced in 1991. Printed by Redman Press, Ararat. Copyright Revd. T. H. Banfield.

Further information regarding each of these sites can be found elsewhere on the Tarnagulla web site.

Tour Map

Park your car opposite theVictoria Theatre near the corner of Commercial Street and King Street. In front of you is The Victoria Theatre. The building was completed in 1861 as the "Victoria Hotel" and the "Victoria Theatre".

Victoria Theatre

Victoria Theatre, March 2000.

The building is a double brick construction consisting of kitchen, billiard room, hotel bar, and several rooms for accommodation, the main feature being the large theatre attached to the hotel. This was used in conjunction with the hotel business. George Barlow was the first owner, and the first licensee was Mr. Ashworth. The premises remained licensed till 31st December, 1916 and then was used as a private dwelling, the large hall being let for various functions. The people of the town then purchased the building as a Public Hall in September, 1924. George Ramm, Thomas Ison and James Reid were the first Trustees and with a Committee of Management, controlled the affairs of the Hall till 24th May, 1978 when the land was permanently reserved for Public purposes. A committee of management was elected and one of the first projects to be undertaken was the raising of funds to restore the building. Since then much restoration work has been achieved and the facilities are constantly in use by the community.

Walk up King Street to Gladstone Street, and on your left is The Uniting Church, formerly the Presbyterian Church.

Uniting Church

Uniting Church, March 2000.

The foundation stone of the church was laid by George Thomson on 23 December, 1863 using an ivory handled silver trowel. Green and Gibson made and supplied the bricks, 25,550 being delivered to the site. The building was opened on Sunday 19th June, 1864. The building adjacent to the church was originally the Presbyterian Church at Laanecoorie and was shifted to its present site in 1926 and is still being used as a Sunday School.

Return to King Street and on your left is The Court House.

Court House

Uniting Church, March 2000.

The building was commenced in 1863. The first Court sitting was on the day it opened, 3rd December. On the other side of the road is the Police Station with a two cell stone and brick lock up built in 1869 for 345 pounds.

Continue up King Street to the corner of Stanley Street. The Sandy Creek Gold Rush followed the discovery of Gold north of the present town in 1852. The house on the right hand corner was The Sandy Creek Post Office.

Original Post Office

Post Office, March 2000.

In 1859 tenders were called for the erection of a Gold Warden's Office and this building was built by Cross and Noble for 540 pounds. It was never used as a Warden's Office but opened as the Sandy Creek Post Office and in 1861 became the Tarnagulla Post Office and Electric Telegraph Office. The name was changed from Sandy Creek to Tarnagulla as there were so many places in Victoria known as Sandy Creek. The telegraph lines had been connected between Dunolly and Tarnagulla that year. In August Mr C. M. Maplestone was appointed officer in charge. In 1887 the building was sold at public auction to Mr D. J. Duggan for 115 pounds and has been used as a private residence ever since.

Turn left and walk along Stanley Street to The Tarnagulla State School No. 1023 .

Tarnagulla State School

The Tarnagulla State School No. 1023.

The school was built by Hutchinson and Hamilton of Newbridge in 1874. Mr Harper was headmaster and there were 236 children. Following Mr Harper's retirement in 1893, Mr Allen was headmaster and then from 1909 to 1913 Mr Robertson, from 1914-1915 Mr Sexton and followed by Messrs Allison, Carroll, Gibson.

Next in Stanley Street is St. Francis' Roman Catholic Church.

Roman Catholic Church

St. Francis Roman Catholic Church, March 2000.

The first wooden and iron Church was opened on 11th October, 1865. In July, 1911, the old Church was removed to Dunolly where it became St. Mary's School. The foundation stone of this brick church was laid in September, 1911 and the church was blessed and opened on 18 February, 1912 by the Most Revd. Dr. J. Higgins, Bishop of Ballarat. Mass was celebrated by the Rector, Fr. D. Howell.

Further along the street you will come to The Anglican Church.

Church of England

Church of the Holy Saviour, Anglican Church, March 2000.

The corner stone of a new Church of England was laid by Archdeacon Crawford of Castlemaine who dedicated it as "The Church of the Holy Saviour". Copies of the Argus, Dunolly, Tarnagulla and St. Arnaud Express and the Tarnagulla and Llanelly Courier was placed in a zinc case under the foundation stone. Davis and Trevascus were the contractors for the building at a cost of l,000 pounds. On 16th November, 1864 the first service was conducted by Archdeacon Crawford with the incumbent, Revd. W. Chalmers. Two hundred people were present and the choir was assisted by the Tarnagulla Philharmonic Society. Bricks for the building were made and supplied by Mr Theobald, Gladstone Street, Tarnagulla. Two members of the Church committee, Messrs R. W. Hammond and Eli Summers, presented the congregation with a fine toned bell weighing two hundred-weights. The Church was licensed on 17th April, 1866 on a visit of the Bishop of Melbourne.

Walk down Poverty Street to Commercial Road. Poverty Street takes its name from Poverty Mine. Captain David Hatt who had been shipwrecked at Poverty Bay, New Zealand with his companions King, Hawkins and Hammond found a quartz outcrop on the surface showing veins of gold. The Poverty Mine returned 13-1 tons of gold.

You now come to Commercial Road and on the opposite left hand corner is the former Colonial bank, and until 1989 a general store.

Colonial Bank

Colonial Bank, August 1999.

In 1866 the Colonial Bank built a two story bank on land previously occupied by Foo's Shop. The bank opened in these premises in July 1866. The building is unique because of the tall chimney stack used for the smelting of gold. It was also built with a strong room of such character to defy burglars, fire, etc. The bank was sold to the Union Bank of Australia in 1888 for 2,500 pounds. The old premises of the Union Bank, built in 1859, were disposed of and for many years were used by Doctors and Dentists and was renamed "Lochcarron". This building is the third building from the corner. The Union Bank closed in 1942 and the building became a general store.

Turn right and walk towards Dunolly until you come to The Post Office.

Post Office

Post Office, March 2000.

The site was recommended by the Tarnagulla Borough and the first brick was laid by Mrs Annie Lewis of the Golden Age Hotel in the presence of a good number of spectators on 7 September, 1885. The building was completed in March, 1886. In May, 1886 the telegraph was connected to the new Post Office. Miss Knight was appointed as the new Post and Telegraph Mistress in January, 1887.

A little further along Commercial Road on the other side is the site of the old Gold Rocks Museum.

Old Masonic Temple

Old Masonic Temple / Gold Rocks Museum, March 2000.

This building was thought to be originally The Masonic Temple, during the 1870's and was later used as a private dwelling. It was then a private Museum, containing an excellent collection of the history of Tarnagulla in both photos and texts. There was an extensive display of minerals, rocks and gem stones and local bottles. The large and excellent mural on the wall is a striking feature of the interior decoration.

As you walk back along Commercial Road you pass the site of the old Fire Brigade Station which was occupied by the brigade since late in 1887 until 1988 when the new station was built in Gladstone Street. The character of the shopping centre has altered little in the past eighty years.

Turn right at King Street and walk up the hill to The Wesleyan Methodist Church.

Methodist Church

Wesleyan Methodist Church, March 2000.

The foundation stone of the church was laid on 19th October, 1864 by the Revd. W. Hill of Castlemaine and the church was opened for public worship on Sunday, 9 April, 1865. Revd. W. Hill preached in the morning and Revd. Sayer of Dunolly preached in the afternoon. The main structure of the church is 55 by 32 feet and accommodates 300 people. It was constructed by John Nottage of Newbridge at a cost of l,408 pounds and is noted for the significant architectural design. The Church closed when it united with the Presbyterian Church in January, 1962.

On the right of the church is the Gold Memorial, which records the discovery of Poverty Reef. Behind the Gold Memorial is the Western Mining Company headworks of the reopened Poverty shaft.

Now return to the small park next to the Victoria Theatre.


Cannon, March 2000.

The Cannon arrived in Tarnagulla in 1898 after the Borough Council was successful in being allocated one from the Ministry of Defence. It is a 64 pounder from the H.M.V.S. Nelson. The Canon was fired on several occasions - notably on 19th May, 1900 on receipt of the news of the relief of Mafeking, and on 23rd May when a monster picnic was held to commemorate this event. It was also fired on the 26th June, 1902 during the Coronation Thanksgiving Service Celebration and at the declaration of peace after the 1914-1918 War. It was shifted to its present position sometime after the 1939-45 war. It was also fired as part of the bicentennial celebrations in 1988.

Memorial Park

Memorial Park, March 2000.