Pakenham in the early 1900s
Serviced by the Gippsland Railway, Pakenham East developed into the District’s main centre, with most of the facilities and institutions of a small country town. In addition to the railway station and a few local businesses, the town had a post and telegraph office, police station (complete with a resident “mounted constable” who patrolled the district on horseback), several churches, state and Catholic schools, a mechanics’ institute and free library, a doctor’s surgery, pubs, public halls, a recreation reserve, cricket and football clubs, picnic racing club (which used one of the Bourke family’s paddocks for race meets); horticultural society and a Progress Association. In 1902, the Berwick Shire relocated its chambers to Pakenham. Although considerably smaller, Pakenham Upper, Pakenham South and Pakenham North (Toomuc Valley) each had its own school, post office and strong sense of local identity. By 1911, the first Commonwealth census reported a total of 858 residents living in the district (Commonwealth Statistician 1911 Volume III Part XIV, p. 2279).
Above: Pakenham Main Street c. 1911. Courtesy of State Library of Victoria (H82.96/138)