Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Gurwood Street : the Paris end of Wagga

Gurwood Street has had a large and enduring part to play in Wagga Wagga's history, right from the very beginning when Surveyor Townsend first laid out plans for the town in 1849. This wide, tree lined, gracious street retains some of it's former bohemian influences and a slightly raffish charm, and encompasses one of the nicer parts of "old" Wagga.
Cafes, lawyers, Speirs famous jewellery store, and a cinema, were just a few of the businesses that made their home in Gurwood Street over the years. According to "The progress of Wagga Wagga and District", Hanson's Butchery in Gurwood Street (at the turn of the previous century) was built on "the original site occupied by Tom Castro, the notorious Tichbourne claimant".Other businesses included H. Oates, Merchant Tailor,The State Stores Ltd.,and even a funeral director and enbalmers service, Hoye and Colbeck's,
The Wagga Wagga City Library local studies collection has a few handy references on Gurwood Street's history, including entries in the Urban Heritage study ( available to look at within the library ). Many schools were established in the street, some lasting, some active during the war years 1939-1945, and the library has a selection of these histories for loan.
If you are researching the history of a particular street another handy reference is "The street names of Wagga Wagga" compiled by William "Bill" Ellis, who was the Town Clerk of the City, from 1960 - 1984. This guide to street names also has the year the street was named- quite helpful for assisting historical research. Another fun way of researching a street is using the extensive collection of local microfilm to find businesses, people and events that may have a connection with your street. Check when your street was named, then pick the corresponding year in the newspapers on microfilm, then start searching!
Come into the library and spend a few happy hours looking into Wagga's history!

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