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History of the Tuck Inn & Surrounding Area

The Building history

The Masonic LodgeThe Tuck Inn was created in its current carnation in 2003 having closed at that time as the local Masonic Lodge.

The Land was originally owned by a Mr J. Higgins, who in 1917 sold a portion of the block (Symons Street end) to the newly forming Lodge for £100, with the lower portion (Nicholson Street block) purchased by a Mrs Munro (a shop and cottage erected).

The front part of the building was erected in 1918 by W.J. Sebire, of weatherboards in 3 ply lining and filled with sawdust. There was also a stable at the rear for those members who had horse transport. The Lodge was ‘consecrated’ on the 10th of April 1919 by the foundation Master William John Sebire, formerly of the Orient Lodge, Lilydale.

Foundation Members:
Bollingbroke; E. Privett; W.A.Cherry; A. Walker; S.J.Lowe; J.Stock; A. Asher; C.E.Lee; F. Barker; W.L.Warren; W.J.Houghton; J.T.Noble.

In 1931-32 the supper room at the rear of the hall was erected by members from materials donated by Kestle Bros. of Healesville. The building was later sold in 2003 after Masonic meetings discontinued.
[Condensed from notes by the late Mr King Jarvis of Healesville.]

Healesville History

The site of present day Healesville was surveyed in 1864, and the first land sales were held in June 1865.

A settlement at nearby Chum Creek had existed for two or three years, and had become a thriving base for men en route to the goldfields at Woods Point and Jericho. Stores were brought from Melbourne along the Yarra Track, unloaded at New Chum and transferred to pack horses to continue their hazardous journey to the diggings.

As thousands made their way to the goldfields it became obvious that a ‘proper’ road was necessary. The route chosen avoided the flood-prone flats of the Watts Valley and kept to the higher ground to the south of the river where a new town was planned.

The creation of a railway to the more distant Gippsland and Yarra Valley goldfields in the 1860s resulted in a settlement forming on the Watts River and its survey as a town in 1864. It was named after Richard Heales, the Premier of Victoria from 1860–1861. The post office opened on 1 May 1865.[2] The town became a setting off point for the Woods Point Goldfield with the construction of the Yarra Track in the 1870s.

By 1866 over thirty business premises were operating in Nicholson Street, including six hotels, a post office, a saddleery, and a blacksmith.

Schools in Healesville include the 125 year-old Healesville Primary School, St Brigid’s Catholic primary school, the Healesville High School and Worawa College, an Aboriginal school whose former students include noted Australian Rules Footballer David Wirrpanda. Much of what is now Healesville lies on the ancestral land of the Wurundjeri people. The Coranderrk mission station, set up in 1863, is located just south of the main township.

From the late 1890s elaborate country retreat residences were built alongside hotels and guest houses.
A Tourist and Progress Association was created before 1914. In the 1920s the association published “Healesville, The World-famed Tourist Resort”, listing over 40 beauty spots and 20 hotels and guest houses. The construction of the Maroondah Dam in 1927, replacing the weir, brought several hundred workmen to Healesville. Their departure and the onset of the 1930s depression exposed Healesville’s restricted range of industries. Timber and tourism were not stable enough for sustained growth. Notwithstanding the depression, the 1930s saw increased motor tourism (partly bypassing Healesville) and decreased railway patronage. Only 10% came by rail at Easter 1934. Tourism was still active but a local newspaper commented that Healesville would be “heaps better off calling itself the good-time town instead of the world-famed-tourist-resort—that’s got whiskers on it”.

Industries in and around Healesville include sawmilling, horticulture, tourism and, more recently, viticulture.

Thanks to the Healesville Historic Society for their help in providing this information.