When the Great Southern Railway was built from Sydney to Albury, only one town was newly built on a greenfields site; the town was Junee.
When the railway reached the site of Junee on 6th July, 1878, an informal settlement had already formed. In that year the NSW Government seized a 40 acre site on the eastern side of the rail line on which to form an official town.
Governments move slowly and it was not until June 1883 that the new town, named Loftus after the Governor of the day, was proclaimed.
The site was then surveyed and put up for auction. The residents disliked the name and petitioned for it to be changed to Junee, which it was in 1885.
From 1876 on, people had selected land adjacent to the new town site. Chief of these was Christopher Crawley, who selected 320 acres on the east and 520 acres on the west. It was on this western selection that the earliest settlement began.
However, as Crawley was very reluctant to sell land, preferring to lease, two others leapt into the breach, George Dobbyns opened his development on the southeast of the new town in 1881 and Thomas Hammond opened his on the opposite side of the line in 1883.
They were only too happy to sell and here the early town grew fastest.
The division by the rail line into ‘east side’ and ‘west side’ had already begun and is perpetuated today, with even development on each side of the tracks.
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