Bellair's Commercial Hotel (Romano's) on the corner of Fitzmaurice and Little Gurwood Streets, c.1900.

A Theatrical Life

Thomas Smith Bellair has long been known to us as the publican of Wagga’s Commercial Hotel (which is now Romano’s). Little did we dream that Thomas had lived a long, and hectic, theatrical life before he set foot in Wagga in 1885. Supposedly born in Wellington, Shropshire in 1825, Thomas was performing at the Sunderland Theatre…

Free Punt (RW110)

The Musical Butcher

The Wagga Wagga Express of 20 August 1859 recounts an amusing incident which occurred at the launch of a punt to be used to cross the Murrumbidgee River. The punt was financed by Thomas Fox, the well-known early publican of Wagga, however Fox died shortly before the launch. His widow sold the punt to a…

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Blake Cup Mystery

Recently, whilst searching through the Archives, I encountered an interesting old trophy. It was engraved “Wagga Rugby League – Junior Competition” and “Presented by Students and Officers of the Wagga Experiment Farm Season 1912”. The first recipients were Wagga (II) in 1912. No further winners were listed until 1928, when Magpies won the cup, with…

Page 1 of Wagga Wagga Police Charge Book, 1898 (SA1519/1).

“A Capitalistic War”

Making statements likely to prejudice recruiting, training, discipline and administration of his Majesty’s Forces to wit the following words, “This war is a capitalistic war. The King ought to be shot, the Queen ought to have her throat cut.” This was the charge laid against James Lalor at his arrest by the Wagga Wagga Police…

The exterior of the Wagga Civic Theatre, circa 1960s.

Stage Lights – a request…

Wagga has a long tradition of community theatre, providing drama, comedy and music to local audiences. For many years, the city’s various theatre groups performed in church halls, school auditoriums and shared times and space with dances and movies in other local halls. So the arrival of the Wagga Wagga Civic Theatre in 1963 was a…

Rawson House 1963 (RW2706.48)

Rawson House

For many years Rawson House (or Rawson Private Hospital as it was also known) was a prominent feature of the Wagga Base Hospital precinct. Originally built in 1910 as the Nurses Home, and extended in 1925, it wasn’t until 1937 that the building was remodelled for use as the Private and Intermediate Wards of the…

Children playing on the Newtown Park See Saw, Wagga Wagga, c.1910 [from the Pym Collection, CSURA RW2735/5].

Larrikinism in the Park

To children today, parks and playgrounds go hand in hand – to have the first without the second is a rarity. But this wasn’t always the case. Newtown Park (which we know as Collins Park) was once Wagga’s premier park. It had an animal enclosure, a large pond, huge shady trees, tended flower gardens, swept…

Team Photograph of Wagga City Hockey Team.

A Decade of International Hockey

In the 1950s, Riverina Hockey was thriving with international players and matches as well as games against some of the best Australian hockey players of the time. In 1952 the Wagga Hockey Association made a bid for a match against the Pakistan team that was travelling though N.S.W. on a tour sponsored by the Pakistani…

A builder is putting the final touches on the foundation stone.

The 2WG Old People’s Home

It is due to the efforts of 16,000 Riverina women that Wagga was able to build the 2WG Old People’s Home, now known as The Haven, located in Bourke Street, Mt Austin. In response to a petition, a public meeting was held in Wagga Wagga in February 1946. Opinion at the meeting was unanimous in…

The exterior of the Ladysmith Memorial Hall.

Ladysmith Memorial Hall

In memory of those who served In the early 1920s, residents in the Ladysmith district, under the leadership of Mr Stan Wild, started a building fund to raise money for a “War Memorial Hall” to be built in the village. Over the three years of 1923-1925, £580 was raised by the Hall Committee through donations,…

Phineas Hann House - Toyland Oct1956 RW1574-268 1

Meet Mr Wagga

“In the old days Phineas was Wagga”. So declared the obituary of Phineas Hann following his death in 1919. Hann was an influential and extremely well respected member of Wagga’s fledgling community during the late 19th Century. Born in Tintinhull, Somerset in 1839 Phineas had taken up residence in Wagga by the early 1860’s. He…

A page from the Register of Admissions, Discharges, &c. at the Wagga Wagga Hospital, 1881-1882

Cured, Relieved, Died

Continuing the hospital theme, a certain large-sized volume in our collection was brought to our attention last week by a researcher which has been a source of endless fascination to us: a Register of Admissions, Discharges, &c. from the Wagga Wagga Hospital, 1881-1882. The information recorded for each admission in the register is as follows: Name Date…

A view of the Wagga Base Hospital from above, looking south.

Wagga Base – a view from above

With all the changes happening at the Wagga Base Hospital lately, we thought a look at the site from above would be interesting for a Friday afternoon. We don’t know when this photograph was taken but it has to be after the 1950s, because the multi-storey block was opened in 1963.  It also has to be…

The Sportsmen's Club Hotel's verandahs coming down

Pubs We Have Known

The 1960s and 70s was a time of demolition in Wagga.  “Get rid of the old to make way for the new” seems to have been the motto at the time and quite a few of the huge hotels lining the main streets of Wagga simply could not escape their fate.     There were exceptions.  The Union Club…

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Daily Advertiser on microfilm

CSU Regional Archives holds an extensive collection of local and national newspapers on microfilm. We have in excess of 60 different newspapers, including the Daily Advertiser, Wagga Wagga Express, Albury Border Post, Coolamon-Ganmain Farmers’ Review, Junee Southern Cross, Riverine Grazier and the Tumut and Adelong Times. You can view a full list of newspapers on the…

John Peter, 1812-1878

John Peter – ‘The Prince of Squatters’

John Peter emigrated from Scotland in 1832, and by 1839 he had already acquired the runs that were to later become known as ‘Toganmain’, ‘Borambola’ and ‘Pulletop’. When he married the widow Mary Bourke in 1837, the ‘Gumly Gumly’ run was also attained under his name. In 1853, Peter first acquired part of his ‘Tubbo’…

Article from The Daily Advertiser, "Charles Sturt Uni formally launched"

CSU Foundation Day

Charles Sturt University is celebrating its Foundation Day tomorrow. Now, the actual anniversary day was on Sunday (19 July) but it was decided we should do our celebrating on the Wednesday following. So what exactly happened on 19 July 1989? “… the strengths of their communities combined can create a university much more powerful in knowledge…

Members of the Hillston Pastoral and Agricultural Association Committee, 1931

The Hillston Jubilee Show

I recently stumbled across this photograph in the archive collection which, I must confess, I had no idea we even had.  It depicts the members of the Hillston Pastoral and Agricultural Association in 1931. On it’s own, it’s probably not the most exciting photograph in our collection. However, wonder of wonders, some kind soul has…