Who was Edward?
Edward ‘Ted’ was born in September 1883 in Tanjil South and attended the Tanjil South Primary School. After his marriage to Nina ‘Nin’ Turnbull from Willow Grove, they ran his family’s dairying property for around five years. He and his family shifted to a house in Anzac Street – located where Woolworths currently stands – in Moe. They did return to the family farm “before the big flood, in 1934” for around four years and then came back to Anzac Street where he lived until he died, in 1942, at the age of 59.
Edward Hunter grew up during a time when small places like Moe, Yarragon, and Trafalgar had established around the development of the railway system. The town became a significant transport route in the rail link between Sale and Melbourne and between the settlers in the hills of Narracan and Thorpdale and that railway. It underwent growth as a consequence of gold-mining in places like Walhalla and the opening up of Yallourn’s brown coal fields from 1921. The beginnings of Moe would still have been fresh in living history. A large railway station was just established, and it was a main town on the Princes Highway to Sale. As a centre for milk processing and the manufacture of butter, and the nearby gold and coal mines starting to boom, the need for infrastructure support for waterworks, a hospital, cemetery and community groups were all needed. During the early 1900s, Moe underwent a great deal of change. It was known as the Narracan Shire, then (it was proclaimed a City of Moe in 1963), and Edward, like his father before him, became a shire councillor. He represented the North Riding. He was incredibly active in his community by today’s standards and he played an exceptional role.
Tireless community participation
Edward’s public service included 27 years directorship of the Moe Cooperative Dairying Company and being a representative councillor for 22 years during which he was known for the “tremendous amount of relief work he did following the disastrous bush fires that swept the district” in 1939. He was also a Justice of the Peace, vice-president of the Moe Bush Nursing Hospital Committee (the old hospital building which still stands in today’s Moore Street) and the Central Gippsland Stockowners Association, president of the Moe Welcome and Farewell Home Committee, president of the Central Gippsland RACV and the Rifle Clubs’ Union. He was a member of the Moe Recreational Committee and Golf Club, the president of the Rifle Club and, it is believed, even secretary of the Moe Country Women’s Association for a period of time. He also had interests in Angling, Horse Racing and Football Clubs as well as the Fire Brigade and horticulture. This man was very well-regarded, with a funeral procession of unprecedented size and representation from all areas of life in the shire when he died in August 1942. He was described in his obituary as someone “who had always endeavoured to be fair and reasonable and help when opportunity offered” and “the fact that the shire has lost a conscientious and trustful representative” was deplored.
Notably, Edward Hunter was also chairman and government representative on the Moe Waterworks Trust. The Trust managed the Moe Railway Reservoir, established in 1878, which provided water for the steam locomotives passing through Moe, up until 1946, and for the houses in the township. The reservoir became the Edward Hunter Swimming Pool and Reserve, and later, the Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve in 1975.
Heritage of community dedication
This spirit of contributing to something worthwhile, inspired by Councillor Edward Hunter, has been a long-running thread in the history of the Reserve and its heritage as a part of a developing Moe. This heritage of contributing to the community has inspired the conserving, maintaining and enhancing of some of the last remnant vegetation in Gippsland, a wonderful asset for Moe and for succeeding generations of people. The Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve has been managed through the activities of volunteers, commencing with the efforts of people such as George Toye, SECV surveyor /photographer and local conscientious conservationist, who developed the main tracks in the Reserve in the ‘50s and ‘60s. A committee of management by volunteers was established in the 1970s, members of which still contribute to the Reserve today. Many working parties, studies and special grants from local, State and Federal bodies as well as contributions from local businesses and voluntary groups have resulted in the Reserve’s present high standard. The Reserve reflects well the dedication of Edward Hunter, who was such an inspiration in the development of Moe.
Anon (c1980s) History of the Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve: Moe Historical Society
Guiver, G.N. , State Transport Authority of Victoria (1983) Letter to City of Moe and District Historical Society Moe re former railway reservoir site, 20/7/1983: Moe Historical Society
Keamy, R. (1986) Report on Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve and its suitability for a statement of significance, 27/6/1986: Moe Historical Society
Latrobe Valley Express (1987) Bushland sanctuary is unique Moe asset, The Express, 17/11/1987: Moe Historical Society
Ringin, A. (1982) Old swimming hole, The Express, 21/9/1982: Moe Historical Society
The Advocate (1942) Obituary Councillor E. Hunter, The Narracan Shire Advocate, 14/8/1942: Moe Historical Society
The people of the Moe and District Historical Society were of great help in providing the resources for the information about Edward Hunter and the development of Moe. They are gearing up for Moe’s 50th year celebrations.