Mitchell was driving force

From a tribute written in 1979 by Rosemary Boyes, BEM.

It is fitting that there be a “Thomas Mitchell Drive” in Wodonga, Wodonga being part of the Electorate of Benambra that “popular Tom Mitchell” represented in Victorian State Parliament for so many years. The road to Tallangatta and Corryong continues from the Thomas Mitchell Drive, and this road leads to Tom’s “Towong Hill Station” property. Every time Tom, his wife Elyne, or any member of his family drives to Wodonga, they will travel the “Thomas Mitchell Drive.”

The Drive actually commences at the traffic roundabout where five roads meet — Beechworth Road, Thomas Mitchell Drive (part of Tallangatta Road), High Street, Hovell Street, and Lawrence Street. Many Wodonga and District residents, tourists too, will recall when this road junction was nought but a dust bowl, a great traffic hazard. With the zeal so much part of his activities, “local” Member Tom Mitchell approached the Country Roads Board, Victoria, asking – even demanding – that SOMETHING be done about this danger spot. Tom’s efforts finally paid off – the C. R. B. agreed to a “trial” roundabout, made up of sand bags. The “trial” soon proved the great benefit to Wodonga a roundabout, constructed as it is today, would be, and so the roundabout that perhaps we sometimes take for granted today came into being. How fitting, then, that the “Thomas Mitchell Drive” should lead into that roundabout.

From our archives: Tom Mitchell was the first Australian to represent his country in world skiing competitions. He captained the Australian team overseas in 1933 and the Inter-dominion skiing championships between Australia and New Zealand which he originated. He won skiing awards in Switzerland, the British gold medal being the only Australian ever to win the award for all-round skiing in any conditions and led the first party to ski from Victoria to New South Wales through unknown country..

He served with the 8th Division AIF and was a member of the Changi Prison Ski Club after being taken POW by the Japanese.

Tom Mitchell wrote the first Australian instruction book on skiing. He made the first winter ascent of Mt Pinnebar and the first descent from Ramshead to Deadhorse Gap.