Exhibition explores Tumut’s rich history

Sylvia Fisher and Shirley Davis with some of what you could buy in Tumut shops in days gone by, as part of the Down the Main exhibition.

“Down the Main”, “Up the Street,” “Into Town” or “to the shops”.

How did people let others know where they were going?

Why go “Down the Main?” To do the shopping, get the paper, go to the pub, pay the bills, banking or doing business, collect the mail, for entertainment or just to hang out with friends for coffee or a meal or watch the world go by with likeminded people.

Whatever the reason it is interesting to hear the response when asking the older generation about the changes that have taken place; which shops have changed hands and when, who was running the shop, what goods did they sell, how have the shopfronts changed?

Most people who lived out of town only remember the larger institutions where those who lived near the CBD have stronger memories of individual shopkeepers and the many and varied town “characters.”

If you were to wander down the back streets, Fuller Street and Herlihy Street, you will notice that the brick buildings themselves have remained the same for many years, it is the shopfront configurations that are harder to re- imagine.

The Tumut Historical Society are launching their “Down the Main” Exhibition at the Tumut Museum this coming weekend and are excited with the research, memorabilia and photographs that have been put on display. They hope that when members of the community visit the exhibition they will bring many other photographs, newspaper cuttings, memorabilia and stories that can be added to the collection.

It would be wonderful if present day shopkeepers and business houses could research the history of their buildings and businesses to keep as a time capsule of the main streets.

Many locals are not aware of the first settlement at the “Mill Angle” and why this township moved to its present site. Fitzroy Street, being on the main road to the Mill Angle then became the main street. The road (marked tree line) from Gundagai and the road from Adelong also made Russell Street very important as it led the way to Wynyard Street.

The Tumut Family History Group have transcribed the Tumut Shire Rates Books from 1877 -1928 and have generously given a copy to the Museum. From these records they are able to trace the changes that have taken place in the CBD for that period.

Other information has been gleaned online from the National Library TROVE website, from old newspapers donated to the museum, and from families still connected to the Main Street.

The Exhibition will remain on display for up to 12 months and members are hoping that the community will be just as excited at what has been achieved, and will want to bring family and friends to visit several times. It is also hoped that more information and photos will be provided. All are welcome and encouraged to visit this wonderful exhibition of the history of our CBD.