The Westside story is a tale of two very different men and two fortunes.
In 1876 Christopher Crawley selected land on both sides of the new railway line, the western part directly in front of the new Railway Station. In 1878 he opened his Railway Hotel and rapidly made a small fortune. As the settlement grew, many wished to buy land, but he was reluctant to part with any, selling only a few blocks at hugely inflated prices.
He then sold his hotel and with the proceeds, plus the sale of land, was able to retire, build his grand ‘Monte Cristo’ homestead and lead the life of a gentleman farmer.
His refusal to sell land led the town to develop in a most illogical way.
George Dobbyns was a different type of person, energetic and civic minded. He started a store in 1876 on Crawley’s land, which was an immediate success. He quickly added a bakery, post office and bank. However in 1880 he saw a chance to purchase land for development and bought 40 acres to the south of the official village.
By 1881 he had it surveyed and put up for sale. The same year he sold his store and concentrated his business interest on the eastern side. Unlike Crawley, he was heavily involved in civic matters and was Mayor of the town on several occasions.
Begin your walk at the Visitor Information Booth in Dobbyns Park. Opposite you will see the Hotel Junee, with a former general store alongside. This was the site of Crawley’s Railway Hotel and Dobbyns’ General Store, the very beginning of settlement in Junee.
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