Radio Waves in Wagga Wagga

Radio didn’t exactly begin with a bang in Wagga. But it certainly made an impact once it was established! There were likely a few enthusiasts in the early 1920s who could build their own, and maybe a few families who purchased a ready-made set and could listen to stations broadcasting from the capital cities. But interest in the technology was steadily growing.

150 years ago: from civilisation to fisticuffs

1870 was momentous year for Wagga Wagga, with its declaration as a Borough, three floods in three months, and the first town council election. The night after the election, the Mechanics' Institute held a genteel Entertainment for the citizens of Wagga, but the combination of politics and a particularly witty performance proved too much for one audience member...

For the love of Myrtle

"Who on earth is Myrtle?" I hear you ask. If you were a Wagga Wagga Teachers' College student, you probably know exactly who I'm referring to. But for those who do not know, Myrtle was a central figure of the College in the 1950s and '60s who played a significant role in the, some would... Continue Reading →

‘Camp Life’ to ‘Happy Home’

The Wagga Wagga Service Women's Hostel was founded in 1943 to accommodate service women who had been training in the areas around Wagga Wagga during the course of the Second World War. Situated at 38 Morrow Street, the building had originally been built by Dr Burgess on the site of Wagga's Temperance Hall. By 1942... Continue Reading →


It is now 100 years since our district was hit by the dreaded pneumonic influenza (or "Spanish Flu" as it became known). While less than fifty people died in Wagga, there were millions of deaths world wide, making it one of the deadliest pandemics in human history. The first cases in the world were reported... Continue Reading →

Trailblazing Women on Wagga Council

In almost 150 years of local government in Wagga Wagga, there have been nearly 250 citizens who have served as aldermen or councillors. Of that number, just 17 have been women.It took a long time from the formation of the first Wagga Wagga Municipal Council in 1870 for a woman to even stand for council. But... Continue Reading →

“The Great Fact of Peace”

Back in 2014, we took a peek at the news the people of Wagga had received of the coming war and the declaration thereof in August 1914 (see Universal Calamity Impending). Now that it is 2018 and one hundred years since the signing of the Armistice, it is worth looking again. With no internet, television,... Continue Reading →

The Sesquicentenary of The Advertiser

This week, The Daily Advertiser celebrated its 150th anniversary. Way back in 1868, on 10 October, the first issue of The Wagga Wagga Advertiser and Riverine Reporter was published. This paper was co-founded by two wealthy local pastoralists, Auber George Jones and Thomas Darlow, whilst the first editor was Frank Hutchison, an Oxford graduate. These... Continue Reading →

James Gormly – A man of many talents

James Gormly was a pastoralist, politician, poet, local historian, jockey, mail contractor, coach driver, Mayor, horse judge and Parliamentarian, but not necessarily in that order. Gormly was born on 24 July 1836 in Elphin, County Roscommon, Ireland, and arrived with his family in Sydney as a bounty immigrant on board the Crusader in February 1840.... Continue Reading →

A Revolution in Illumination

With the advent of urban development, the services that are taken for granted today such as lighting, water and sewerage, created many concerns for residents and very long debates for aldermen on local councils across the country. By the 1870s, it was becoming a necessity for the streets of Wagga Wagga to be illuminated for... Continue Reading →

Batter Up!

Baseball, as we know it today, really took off in the United States in the mid-1800s, though early versions of the game had been played in England for a century before that. By the 1930s, the “national sport of the United States” was becoming popular with sportsmen in Australia and the people of Wagga Wagga... Continue Reading →

The Gaol Cure

At the Albury Quarter Sessions on 6 July 1914, Otto Fietz was charged with having, at Moorwatha on 23 April, broken into the house of William George Doubleday and stolen a watch, two brushes, a pea rifle, two strops, a razor and a razor strop. He pleaded guilty to the charge but asked to be... Continue Reading →

“A Man of Moods”

Jacob Bachler was charged with having at Wagga on 11 March 1916 feloniously and maliciously murdered Nathaniel Griffiths. On Friday, 10 March, a construction train brought about 150 navvies and labourers to Wagga from Borambola to work on the Wagga-Tumbarumba railway. They set up their camp of about 70-80 tents at the railway construction depot... Continue Reading →

“An Undesirable”

This is Alice Clarke. Alice was brought before the Wagga Wagga Police Court on 8 April 1912 to face two charges - one for drunkenness; the other for having insufficent lawful means of support. The Police Magistrate described her as "an undesirable character... and a disgrace to her sex". "Wagga Police Court Monday, April 8,... Continue Reading →

‘Concealment of Birth’

“Cruel Murder Of An Infant. A Shocking Tragedy. Carter Finds A Strangled Babe. Wrapped in Brown Paper. One Little Hand Protrudes. Everything Points To Murder. Early yesterday morning a man named George Sharp, employed as a brick carter in Albury, saw a parcel under a culvert at the intersection of Hovell and Kiewa-streets. He some... Continue Reading →

A Savage Brute?

Don’t forget…  Captured: Portraits of Crime 1870-1930 opens at CSU Regional Archives on Tuesday, 15 May 2018. This is William Fanning. He was charged with the robbery and assault of Lillian Duffy at Wagga on 8 February 1902. He pleaded not guilty. The Judge, in his sentencing, described him as "a savage brute" but was there... Continue Reading →

A Drunken Orgie and the Result

In just over a fortnight's time, Captured: Portraits of Crime 1870-1930 will be here in Wagga Wagga. This exhibition from State Archives NSW will be exploring the stories of men, women and children incarcerated in NSW gaols. To do this, State Archives has utilised the portraits of prisoners from their collection of Gaol Photographic Description... Continue Reading →

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