Wandong, more than just a town

Wandong, more than just a town

BAKERY 1902-1944

Alexander Simpson established the town’s first bakery in the old Wandong Coffee Palace in 1902.  He continued to operate the business for six years before selling to David Campbell.  The old Palace became home to David and his wife and children as well as operating as the town’s bakery for thirty four years through to 1944.  David’s granddaughter still lives in the house today and has fond memories of the bakery. In 1966 The remaining section of the bakery was pulled down after council decided it was unsafe, the well on the property was also filled in at the same time.

Seen pictured here with his horse and cart, David would make his daily deliveries around the town.

With few owners, the Coffee Palace house still retains many of its architectural features from 1880s and standing here you can imagine the hustle and bustle of daily life around the town and the inviting smell of freshly baked bread from the outdoor oven once located in the garden.  Originally constructed of terra cotta lumber blocks the oven was later dismantled and the bricks used to build a retaining wall at the local Wandong State School.


The only records for a butcher at Wandong in the 1890s was George William Garner. Although John Kyle living at nearby Bylands was also a butcher in the local area and may have provided butchering services at the sawmills of Mt. Disappointment.

George was recorded at Wandong in 1896 with one of his children, Daisy attending the Wandong Primary School.

George would have provided for the daily needs of Wandong residents and a photograph of the Australian Seasoned Timber Company General Store depicts dressed meat carcasses hanging from its rafters.  The local townsfolk and workers would have purchased their daily needs from either the company General Store near the Rail Depot or from Frederick Arkell’s store across the railway line.

Later Jack Wharton had a small butcher shop in Wandong Avenue we believe from about 1925 to the mid 1930’s.


Blacksmithing was an essential service for any developing town providing all manner of goods and repair work for its residents.

The first blacksmith in Wandong was Robert Burns whose business was located on the western side of the Epping Wandong Road not far from the Traveller’s Rest Hotel, opposite the railway station.  With the arrival of Robertson around 1884 and the establishment of his sawmilling operations, the demand for Burns’ services increased.  Business was brisk and in 1887 Burns posted an advertisement in the Age seeking the services of a strong young man to work as a striker.   Burns and his family stayed at Wandong until around 1890 before relocating his business to Wallan which he and his son operated.

It was probably around this time that Robertson employed his own blacksmith and wheelwright to continue servicing his wagons and his horse shoeing needs.   Blacksmiths were always in high demand and in 1889 and again in 1891 Robertson advertised for a strong young youth to shoe for his bush mills.

Martin Ginter, an engineer and engine driver born in Buck, Germany may have been one to answer Robertson’s advertisement.  Martin became one of Robertson’s blacksmiths and became one of Wandong’s residents purchasing a block of land south of Affleck Street in 1893/94.  Martin’s son William attended the local Wandong Primary School in between 1893-1896.  Martin was naturalised in March of 1901 at Wandong aged 42.  The Ginter family remained at Wandong until the closure of the sawmilling operations at Wandong in 1903 after which they moved to North Dandalup in Western Australia around 1906.  Martin returned to Victoria in 1914 becoming a wheelwright at Walhalla, Victoria.

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