Buntz Garage Federal Coach Factory

George Smith came to Wodonga c.1885 and carried on a business as a blacksmith and wheelwright in Hume Street. He subsequently erected the very substantial Federal Coach Factory in High Street.

In 1901 the Coach Factory was sold to Mr C. E. Jones, but within three or four years George Smith again found himself in the establishment he had built.

In 1907/8 Marcus Buntz partnered by a G. F. Simpson took possession of the Federal Coach Factory.  In 1912 Buntz bought out the interest of Simpson and engaged a first-class wheelwright to do the woodwork.  In 1912 a buggy could be had from £40 and a sulky £18.

The business over many years developed from a shoeing forge and wheelwright business to a more modern day garage, keeping abreast with mechanisation.

Marcus Buntz was joined in the business by his three sons, George, and A grade mechanic, Edward and auto-electrician and Henry, who’d been, according to his father “the best blacksmith’s striker who ever worked for me”.  The boys who eventually took over the garage also handled coach building and general service work.  The firm also maintained the Wodonga Water Pump for many years, ensuring the town’s water supply.

In 1948 the old established motor garage was purchased by Mr Jack Mylon.

A public auction was advertised for November 15th, 1951 for a substantial brick building, with a frontage to High Street of 66 feet by a depth of 200 feet and known as Mylon’s Garage.  6 petrol pumps and 6000 gallon storage.

At some time later the building became Wodonga Market, housing a butcher, snack bar, milk bar, fruit and veg, Bill Dunstan’s Boat Centre and an Auction Mart.  One of our Facebook fans remembers the Market still being there in 1963 but later demolished to make way for the building which today houses Bendigo Bank.

The Indian hawkers in the top photo are possibly Pola and Gamble Singh who the late Mavis Chapple remembered frequently coming into town.  “They camped in Watson Street.” “The wagons were big and packed right to the top.  There were cottons, buttons and lace and everything for sewing.”