In 2020 the Tetoora Road Community Centre Asset Committee (TRCC-Committee) was awarded a grant by the Public Record Office Victoria and the Victorian Government to make an “Oral History of Tetoora Road Area.” The TRCC initiated this project to mark the celebration of the centenary of the Tetoora Road Public Hall, now the Community Centre, and a Baw Baw Shire asset.
Tetoora Road is a small locality in Baw Baw Shire about 15km south of Warragul on the Korumburra Warragul Road (C425) and near the Lardners Track corner. Tetoora Road is in the foothills of the Strzelecki Ranges and is hilly farming country, previously dairying country, but now farms are mainly sheep and cattle with some lifestyle properties.
Tetoora Estate was the name used when the area was subdivided into smaller farms and sold in 1896 after the death of the owner Mrs Jemima Vans Robertson, an absentee landholder with several allotments who lived in the Western District. The farms were mostly uncleared, and the early settlers cleared the land by cutting the huge trees and the thick scrub and burning it.
Early settlers had great difficulty with transport as there were few roads, so they lobbied the Shire and, eventually, a new road was built which went from roughly where the Warragul Leongatha Road meets the C425 to McDonald’s Track in Seaview, about 4 miles. This road, called Tetoora Road, was formally opened in 1915. The school also opened in 1915 as did the Post Office. The Post office closed in 1944, and the school closed in 1981.
Mail was collected at the Tetoora Road Receiving Office so people began to use Tetoora Road as their address. This stuck, and the area became known generally as Tetoora Road, its name today. The Tetoora Road Public Hall, near the school and on land bought from the Education Department, was finished in 1922.
The TRCC started the process of recording the Oral Histories before the grant was awarded and were lucky to have Christine Webb, an experienced filmmaker from Mountain View, to interview and film former and current Tetoora Road residents. Many of the people being interviewed brought old photos of their lives at Tetoora Road, and Christine was able to incorporate these into the videos.
Altogether 20 people/groups were interviewed. They ranged from former and current farmers and their wives to our local earthmoving contractor and former schoolboys. The videos include some that the TRCC felt “fleshed out” the project, such as the last 10 years of the Hall, the area’s history and an interview with the filmmaker. As part of the grant, we also created an e-book containing the text of all the interviews.
COVID meant many delays along the way, and the project was finally finished and launched at the Hall’s centenary celebrations in October 2022. Copies of the completed project will be placed in various libraries, local organisations and at the Tetoora Road Public Hall so we can all relive the lives of some of the people of Tetoora Road and learn something of their hard work, their close community and events in the small and socially active area of Tetoora Road, with the School and the Hall as its hub. The Hall still plays an integral part in the Tetoora Road community 100 years after it was built.
Myli Library will have the DVD boxed set videos available for loan, and you can reserve a copy through the library catalogue.
The Tetoora Road Community Centre Asset Committee gratefully acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government and Public Record Office Victoria for making this project possible.