Buying in to a city heritage

The row of shops and businesses from the railway line to the south-east corner of South Street and High Street were an important part of Wodonga’s commercial and social history. That part of High Street going north from the railway line to the NSW border was known as Sydney Street until the early 1950’s. In 1954 newspaper advertisements for The Terminus still shows their address as Sydney Street, Wodonga.

The South Street corner was the site of the first bank in Wodonga, the Bank of New South Wales, which opened in 1872 complete with Manager’s Residence. The building was extended in 1889 and again in 1898 before a new building was erected in 1906 and remodelled in 1969. Since its banking days it has housed a video shop and more recently a travel agency.

Many of the shops incorporated a residence. Rates records reveal that many of the allotments/buildings were occupied by more than one business.

In the early 1900’s, coming south, De Gruchy the chemist had the next shop, this was taken over by John McSwiney who was there until 1967, then William Moulder the saddler. Next was Mendal Friedman selling millinery, underclothing and fancy goods. Then came George Leighton, who was also a Councillor, with a general store, stocking groceries, ironmongery, drapery, crockeryware, boots and shoes. Next was Franz Geordes the bootmaker

Right in the centre of the block was Elizabeth Tubb running a newsagency. Elizabeth was one of the 38 Wodonga women who signed the Women’s Suffrage Petition in 1891 seeking the right for women to vote on equal terms with men. Later the newsagency moved one shop north and this became Phillips newsagency.

The centre allotment was purchased by S. Green who had the existing building demolished and he built the first two storey business in the street, opening the “Rose Marie” café in 1939.  Apart from cooked meals it sold fish, fresh and smoked, fruit, confectionery, vegetables and small goods.  This business had a number of subsequent owners before it became Alljoy Chinese restaurant.

South of that to the railway line appears to have been some empty allotments until J Mann & Son built their first store in 1921, and later expanded to the rear and to the side.