Looking Back
Isn’t it marvellous where historical information comes from?

By Leo Billington

Searching through names of early Morwell residents produces an interesting array of names, some of which had their names on blocks of land. These blocks are now part of Morwell’s older “close in” residential areas, presumably valuable once post-world war 2 development was at its peak.

If current media coverage is anywhere accurate, Morwell’s older residential zones could become valuable real estate alongside predicted industrial and commercial development.

For example, Mr Hector Munro, the manager of the Bank of Australasia was a trusted member of Morwell’s fledging community. When farewelled on July 24,1885, Hector’s commercial acumen, involvement in community affairs and keen eye for bank opportunities to expand were applauded locally with three farewell occasions.

At Moe, he became widely known in that capacity, more so perhaps on account of his being the hero who successfully resisted the attempted robbery under arms of the Moe branch bank. Four days later at Morwell on July 22, 1885, Hector and his wife were treated to a large community gathering in honour of his services to the town. Then, several hours afterwards, both were treated as royalty at a 9.30 pm farewell in Traralgon. On this occasion, a crowd had even gathered at the railway station to welcome them on arrival in town.

Hector Munro’s name appeared on several residential blocks shown in an early Department of Lands and Survey map of Morwell township. Seven blocks were between Tarwin and Chapel Streets facing McLean Street.

In November 1884, to celebrate the formal commencement of the Morwell Coal Prospecting Company's operations at Billys Creek, agricultural and pastoral interests were promoted by a small group including Hector. He also amplified that banking interests would not be neglected.

Mr Henry McIntosh was a resident of Morwell for more than 30 years during which time he managed the Colonial Bank for about seven years after which he established his own business as a general commission agent. Henry passed away on April 25, 1918 at his Morwell residence. He is buried at Ballarat.

Henry McIntosh, like other bank people, was involved in community affairs – secretary of the Morwell Shire in 1897, secretary of the Hazelwood Cemetery Trust, Australian Natives Association, Church of England, Morwell Horticultural Society, auditor for the Shire, lodges, other churches, returning officer for Federal, State and local government elections and a member of the Morwell Mechanics Institute committee.

Mr and Mrs McIntosh’s only son, Athol died from wounds received in action in France on October 22, 1917. It was widely known that Athol’s parents never seemed to recover from this blow. Athol was 23 when shot and is buried at the Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, outside Poperinge, West Flanders, about 20 kilometres from Ypres. Athol was born in Morwell, attended the Morwell State School and then at Caulfield Grammar School. He was employed at the Morwell branch of the Bank of Australasia.

Mr McIntosh’s name appears on residential blocks surrounding the former Commercial Road State School and also at the corner of Elgin Street and Hazelwood Road.

In the May 2022 edition of Churchill and District News, there was editorial about Charles Rickard Aherin – well-known as CR. He arrived in Morwell about 1893. For 29 years, he was a bank manager at the Bank of Australasia Morwell. Before leaving Morwell, Mr and Mrs Aherin occupied a bank owned residence in Berg Street.

In the Department of Lands and Survey map, the triangular shaped residential block, fronting McLean, Tarwin and Berg Streets, is marked with CR’s name.

Another name from earlier times, though not quite as far back as above, is Anker Olaf Pedersen. Of Norwegian nationality, born at Kvelde in Hedrum, and after being a resident for seven and half years in Australia, Olaf lived at Brown Coal Mine, Yallourn. He applied for naturalisation, under the Commonwealth Nationality Act 1920.25, in 1930.

Add for Pedersen and King Timber and Hardware

Olaf, or more well-known as Mr Pedersen, lived in Station Street (formerly the Princes Highway and now Princes Drive) about where the Coal Valley Motor Inn is located today. The family house was quite distinctive being two-story, perhaps with a cement sheet cladding.

During the 1950’s and 1960’s, Olaf was known as a quality carpenter, even at one stage being in partnership with Gordon King, trading as Pedersen & King, Timber and Hardware Merchants, Plumber’s Supplies.

From about 1942 onwards, Olaf also played a leading role ensuring the 1st Morwell Scout Group remained vibrant and sustainable. The post war years were tough but nonetheless the group retained its numbers across all ages.

Pedersens grave plaque

Olaf remained as scoutmaster to about mid -1952, when Phil Sandford took over.

One of Olaf’s initiatives was in April 1947, he established a week long model scout camp on a vacant block in Helen Street. The camp would prepare scouts for more camps and be a justification to apply to the committee for authority to purchase necessary camping equipment.

There may be people around who recall the first scout hall in George Street, Morwell – on a site which today is part of the Coles Supermarket carpark.

News Clipping about Morwell Scouts Anniversary (in 1997)