Awburn – Family left a faithful and local legacy

The name Awburn goes back to Wodonga’s early days when George Awburn Snr purchased land at Wodonga West about 1863, buying up several more allotments through into the next century.  In 1900 he owned three allotments, 124 acres with a house on it, 77 acres and 207 acres freehold.  In addition he leased another 133 acres.

A son, George Awburn Jnr had two shops in High Street south of St Augustine’s Church. One a grocery store the other a bakery. The bread and pastries were made by J. J. Arlette, a Frenchman, and his daughters, Tessie and Ona. Des Martin in his book A Tale of Twin Cities tells us the bakery ceased operating when the ovens got rope disease. This is caused by several strains of spore-forming bacilli which are resistant to heat.

In 1923 Awburn’s advertised his stock of groceries, crockery, glassware and tinware. In 1932 you could buy McIntyre’s MYOS, a household soap compound which cost two shillings and with which, using all your waste fat, you could make ten shillings worth of soap.

In later years George Jnr’s son Arthur took over the grocery business.

George Jnr’s sister, Mary, never married. She was a tireless worker for her religion and charity.

George Jnr’s son Thomas was ordained to the priesthood in 1917. Fr. Awburn was appointed curate to the Wodonga Parish in 1919, after being in Bendigo.  He concelebrated at his sister Eileen’s wedding in 1923 and various family weddings and funerals thereafter.

In 1942 Fr. Awburn celebrated the silver jubilee of his priesthood.  From the Border Morning Mail June 1942 “Fr. Awburn is one of the most popular figures among all denominations in Wodonga.  He was born to be a priest, but he started work as a messenger boy in the local post office.  Later with his brother he joined the firm of Bartram’s long since gone out of business, as a commercial traveller.” He then went to St Patrick’s College, Ballarat, and to St Colombo’s in the Blue Mountains.  He subsequently proceeded to Rome and studied at the Propaganda College and was ordained in 1917.