Celebrating Our Past
The following information has been extracted from the book:
"Toongabbie, Gippsland A Gateway to the Walhalla Goldfields"
by Alan Harding and Roger Ries.
Toongabbie football side painted
by Denis Santamaria c1970's
Toongabbie township came into existence in 1863 as a supply depot en route to the Walhalla Goldfields after discovery of gold in 1862 by Ned Stringer. Goods were transported from Port Albert to Toongabbie by bullock wagon and then transferred to packhorses and mules for the arduous journey over tortuous tracks to the Jericho, then later the Walhalla, Goldfields.
As tracks turned to roads, horse teams took over. The advent of the railways in the 1870s and 1880s allowed goods to be transported overland from Melbourne to the Toongabbie Railway Station and then hauled by local carriers to Walhalla.
Walhalla boomed, and as a result Toongabbie's carrying industry thrived. The town benefited accordingly and for a time, with the timber industry providing added income, and farming battling along, its future looked rosy. Then Walhalla demanded a railway and Moe won the insuing dispute over the lines starting point. Toongabbie thrashed around searching for savious in the form of oil, marble and gold.
Then the inevitable happened and the last carriers sold their horses, Toongabbie was thrown back on farming to sustain itself.
The road to Walhalla still partly exists, although rough and neglected, a tangible link to the past. It does not take much to imagine the wagons and coaches toiling along it, or to picture the web of post and rail fences stretching out on to the plain from the base of the ranges. The Mechanics Institute and Free Library and St David's Anglican Church still stand, reminders of the towns resilience and origins.
Presently, the community are sourcing funding to provide better access to all historical material through online databases and exhibition displays. The Toongabbie Mechanics Institute Committee of Management plan to display the significant collection of intact photos and archives that our local historian, Roger Ries, holds for tourism benefits. Online access will providing positive outcomes for research, education and general information to the broader community.
New story of interest include 'Mysterious Alma' - a story about an illusionist touring Australia and visiting Toongabbie in 1902.
To read a poem by Ruth Evans C1990 - An Ode to Toongabbie