EVIDENCE of a historic fire was uncovered in the early stages of the Wonthaggi Goods Shed renovation, when pegboard was removed from one wall.
Members of the Bass Coast Artists Society, who are getting the place ready for a COVID-compliant opening, had no idea about it so they asked Nola Thorpe to do some research.
Nola, an active member of the Wonthaggi Historical Society, popped in recently to show the group some press clippings that explained the historic fire damage.
Nola read from the March 24, 1987 issue of the South Gippsland Sentinel-Times. Back in those days, the Apex Club held an annual paper drive and a fire started in a collection bin left outside so people could drop off unwanted paper at their convenience. The fire spread indoors and it took the fire brigade some time to get the blaze under control. The interior, including a pool table, suffered extensive water damage.
At the time, the building was the temporary ‘clubrooms’ for the Wonthaggi Apex Club and they were trying to gain permanent access to the building though it was feared that the site would be sold as part of the V/line sell-off.
Nola also produced a clipping from a 1912 edition of the Powlett Express that reported a fire in the building that attracted over 2000 onlookers. A load of furniture in the shed was damaged by the fire and some undamaged pieces were ‘looted’.
Now renovations are nearing completion, members are turning their attention to renewing the equipment and seating inside the Goods Shed and asking for suggestions for the name of the laneway in which the Goods Shed is located.
It has no official name which makes it difficult for emergency services to locate people in a timely manner.