The Old Bundy Tavern was originally built as the Custom House Hotel in 1872 (seen here circa 1902) but was destroyed by fire in 1917. Owner Elizabeth Ryan rebuilt the pub with the new name of Hotel Bundaberg.
The Old Bundy Tavern was originally built as the Custom House Hotel in 1872 (seen here circa 1902) but was destroyed by fire in 1917. Owner Elizabeth Ryan rebuilt the pub with the new name of Hotel Bundaberg. Courtesy of Picture Bundaberg

How the first businesses started laying Bundy's foundations

IN 1872, Bundaberg was a sleepy township, with the signs of development just beginning to unfurl.

It was the year that a Bank of New South Wales branch set up shop, and it was a time when the main business centre was transitioning from being centred on Quay St to the as yet unpaved Bourbong St.

Bourbong St was still lined with gum trees which served as hitching posts for locals' horses.

In 1871, Walter Adams moved to town.

He was quite the pioneer of early infrastructure, laying the first telegraph line at Burnett Heads and building the first government bridge on Walla St.

He also set up a hotel in West Bundaberg and built the original Metro Hotel on the corner of Bourbong and Barolin Sts.

Another businessman at the time, Richard Ruddell established a soap-making site south of Woongarra St, between Targo and Barolin Sts.

The bubbly enterprise soon became the biggest soap making facility outside of Brisbane.

He would go on to become the first mayor of Bundaberg.

From 1874, business expansion in the city started to boom.

General stores started popping up, such as John Lamb's Albion Store in Bourbong St and Pringle's on Targo St.

In the metal trades, Thomas Child's business in Targo St had expanded virtually to foundry status and John Batstone established a tinsmith's business, while Fred Smith opened blacksmiths' shops over north and on Bourbong St.

Additional ventures in North Bundaberg focused on food, Farragher and Brewer opening a bakery and Gladwell's butchery doing well.

According to the 1874 Maryborough Almanac, hotels were the most profitable part of the local economy.

Bygone industries like blacksmithing and coach building grew synonymously with the increasing population.

The region's first school was started by WE Curtis, himself one of the earliest residents of the region.

Mr Curtis went on to become and auctioneer and agent.

Railway communications also made a major contribution to the region and it was the era when the Bundaberg Distillery set up beside the Millaquin Refinery.

It was in the middle of the 1880s that the opening of the Bundaberg Gasworks came courtesy of Robert Fleming.
Heading into the 1900s, Quay St had become a hub for wholesale wine and spirit merchants.

Closing to modern history, the city's expansion was steady between the world wars, with an upsurge in commercial development after World War II.

It was said the move away from the little shops on Bourbong St started with the introduction of large chain stores in the '60s, when the city got its first Woolworths.

The era also saw Rockmans and Coles, among other modern shops.



Albanese slams lack of federal climate policy

premium_icon Albanese slams lack of federal climate policy

WHILE in Bundaberg this week, Labor leader Anthony Albanese hit out at the Prime...

Generosity shines during rental nightmare after son’s death

premium_icon Generosity shines during rental nightmare after son’s death

THE generosity of a few Bundaberg locals has been a ray of sunshine on the toughest...

Message for Bundy shoppers: Call for holiday miracle

premium_icon Message for Bundy shoppers: Call for holiday miracle

The Bundaberg Chamber of Commerce are calling for a Christmas miracle in the wake...