Terang – Our beginnings…and progress.
The land surrounding Terang was originally settled by large landholders. John Thomson held Keilembete, Niel Black held Glenormiston & Daniel Mackinnon held Marida Yallock.
Glenormiston was taken up originally by Frederick Taylor on behalf of Messrs McKillop and Smith in 1839. Niel Black & Co. acquired the property in January 1840. Donald McNicol, an employee of Niel Black had built a hut on the east bank of Lake Terang in 1840 when the lake was a beautiful sheet of fresh water teeming with fish and birdlife. Aboriginal mia mias were to be seen on the banks of the lake with trees, ti-tree and ferns surrounding it.
Surveyor Ainsworth surveyed the site of the Terang township in 1855 and the first sale of township allotments took place later that year. It is said there were only four houses in Terang in 1857. Slowly but surely the town grew with the first Church – the Bible Christian Church being built in 1863 and the Terang National School opening with Peter Carmichael as teacher in October 1859. He was to remain as teacher till 1884.
The Railway came to Terang in April 1887 and the “Terang Express” commenced to report on the towns happenings in October 1888.
In 1889 the Glenormiston subdivisional sale was held which began the unlocking of the land for smaller farmers. Keilembete and Mt. Noorat followed, thus the district became a prominent dairying area. Butter factories were set up, with Glenormiston Butter and Cheese Factory Co. Ltd established in 1895 and Trufood Australia in 1911. Both these businesses played a large role in the district, employing many people in the processing of the milk from local farms.
Terang was for many years part of the Shire of Hampden until the amalgamation of shires formed Corangamite Shire.
The town boasts many lovely buildings and avenues of trees, thanks to the foresight of our early townsmen. The foundation stone for the Temperance Hall (Mechanics Institute) was laid in December 1885 by Mr. John Thomson and the building completed by Easter 1886. It was enlarged in 1901 and has had various changes over the years to become our “Civic Hall”, in High Street.
The current Post Office building was erected in 1902 with the clock installed in 1904. Terang is the first town in Australia to purchase its own town clock.
The Norah Cosgrove Community hospital was opened in January 1936. Previously, the people of Terang and district had been served by four private hospitals run by nurses, in conjunction with the local doctors of the time.
Among the notable buildings are those of our churches. The Presbyterian Church, on the corner of High Street and Warrnambool Road, is a land mark with its huge spire which is visible from all points of the compass. Erected by Mrs. John Thomson in memory of her husband, it is built of Barrabool Hills stone, on a bluestone foundation, with a roof of green slates.
The original Bible Christian Church still stands and forms part of the former Masonic Lodge building in Tobin Street. The All Saints Anglican Church was erected in 1898 and moved to its current site in Thomson Street in 1905.
St. Thomas’ Catholic church was originally on the western end of High Street but when this became too small for the growing congregation a new church was built on a commanding site on the south side of the lake. This was constructed in 1900 of bluestone and still stands, though now privately owned. A newer church was built opposite the Presbyterian Church on the property that was previously a doctor’s residence and surgery. The Methodists have also had a place in Terang since the 1860’s and the Salvation Army had a presence here for many years.
In 1920 Messrs. W.K. Mackinnon, J.C. Mackinnon and S.G. Black proposed to the Hampden Shire that they be allowed to build a memorial to honour those men and women who had served Terang and district in the First World War. This War Memorial is one of the most prominent structures in Terang, at the east end of the Avenue (High Street). It was opened in April 1923. Names of those soldiers who died in others war have been added in later years.
A Band Rotunda was also erected in memory of members of the Terang Brass Band who had died in both the First and Second wars.
There have been many notable businesses over the years. The Terang Co-op, located on the corner of High and Estcourt Streets, began as John Paton’s slab hut and general store in 1858. Mr. R.W. Napthine and Mr. M. Lang were also owners prior to Coy Bros. purchasing the business in 1886. They made many alterations and additons and 1902 a two-storey building was erected. They sold to the Terang Co-op in 1908. In 1944 the whole of the premises was destroyed by fire but the current building was erected shortly after.The business known as Montgomery and Bradshaw’s was situated on the south side of High Street where the Josie Black Community Centre now stands. This large department store served the needs of the community for many years. In 1951 they sold out to Peters’ Stores, and in 1958, K.S.P. Chandler took over to operate there. Bright and Hitchcock’s who had conducted a store in Terang since 1904 took over the buildings in 1960 and remained there until they closed down on September 30, 1967. The building was then demolished and the site became home to the Day Centre and the Community Health Centre.
Sport has played a large part in our town but of particular note is the racing industry. We are fortunate to have a Racing Club that dates back to the early years of Terang. We also have the Dalvui Raceway where the trotting club operates. Football, cricket, squash, croquet, bowls, tennis, rifle shooting, swimming and cycling have all been enjoyed in Terang for many years and we are fortunate to have a very picturesque golf course on the bed of Lake Terang.