Store, Post Office & Hotel
Strathdownie, Victoria, Australia

Extracts from "Echoes of the Past", Casterton News, 1886

The extended interview on Strathdownie history from which this extract is taken was conducted with a Strathdownie resident who called himself "Mr. Jones" with a reporter from the Casterton News. It is believed the person interviewed was actually Mr. William McEachern.

....."How did the Strathdownie township come to be founded?" we asked.

"In 1875, Mr Holden selected 320 acres of land, a part of this being where the Strathdownie Hotel now stands. Mr Holden had been for some years employed on the Strathdownie station, and had, for a year or two, carried on a small store on the station, in a building belonging to himself, so that, after having a dwelling-house erected on the land he had selected, he had his store put on wheels, and thus taken down by bullocks, and placed alongside the dwelling that he had erected on his land. This store forms a part of the present building used as a store by the present owners."

"When Mr Holden got his buildings in order," continued Mr Jones, "and opened his store, an application was sent to the Postal Department, asking that a Post Office might be established at Strathdownie and that Mr Holden should be appointed Postmaster. This request was granted by the Department, and the office was opened on the 1st of October, 1877, and, as coaches had to come to the Office, to leave and take up the mails, the house was turned into an hotel, and a license obtained for it. From that time the coaches commenced to travel by the present road, from Casterton to Mt. Gambler, not going near Lindsay, so that a horse mail was established to supply that place with its mail. The new road then being used from Strathdownie to Mt. Gambler, was very boggy for a part of the way, but the mail contractor, Mr Cawker, managed to get through, and keep good time as well. Mr Holden, for a few years kept the hotel and store - he then sold out to Mr Donald McInnes, who kept it about two years, and then resold it to Mr Douglas, who, later on, sold it to the present owners, Messrs McFarlane Bros."

"Did your correspondence justify the postal facilities that you were given?, we inquired. "The first year that the Post Office was opened," replied Mr Jones "the number of letters that passed through the office was about 10,000, and it has gone on increasing, for I learn that the number of letters which passed through the office for the past few years, has averaged annually about 45,000, Strathdownie now being the centre of a large postal district. Strathdownie is now a great centre for sales of stock, and to Mr A. T. Anderson belongs the credit of starting these sales. He was the originator of them, some years since, and others have kept them up since he left the district, notably your Mr W. V. Lee, and Messrs Young Bros., who now visit us regularly.".....