Southern Cross Town Trail

8 Antares Street, Southern Cross
Length: 0.44km(s)
Difficulty: Easy

Points of Interest

Lot 9

Lot 9 Now Lot 9 Then

Lot 9 has a rich and varied history. Initially, it held a grocery store and shop where items for sale would hang from the bush rafters, be stacked on wooden trestles, or laid out on the floor. The rear of the store was home to a boarding house.

The lot came into the possession of the Montgomery brothers in the 1890’s, who retained ownership for the next 80 years. The discovery of gold deposits at Mount Palmer and Mount Edwards in the early 1930s spurred the brothers to build three shops in a row, which housed a variety of businesses over the years including a drapery, betting shop, and a restaurant.

After a long and storied history, the Montgomery family sold Lot 9 to Gloria Strachan in 1978.

Lot 10

Lot 10 Now Lot 10 then

This historic lot is home to the oldest shop on Antares Street and features a building protected by the National Trust due to its heritage. Built for businessman Tommy King in 1897, extensive restoration work was carried out on the structure in 1898. Today, the building takes pride of place as one of the best-preserved heritage buildings of the Shire of Yilgarn’s commercial past.

The other structure on this lot was home to a local newspaper from 1901 to 1921. The S.X. Times was owned and published by A.M. “Bull Ant” McIntyre, a local character who did not shy away from controversial topics and was known in the community for his vitriolic tongue. He and the newspaper were taken to court for libel many times. Legend has it that Bull Ant McIntyre lined his office walls with legal writs, pinning each with pride for all to witness.

After the S.X. Times moved to a new space in 1921, another local newspaper, the Yilgarn Merredin Times, took occupancy from 1922 until 1935. No records exist of this paper’s publisher repurposing legal writs as office wallpaper.

Lot 11

Lot 11 Now Lot 11 then

Lot 11 was comprised of four shops and a residence from the early 1890’s, with all structures demolished later in the 20th century to make room for the current structure.  

The Styles family are the lot’s most famous occupants, having run their successful drapery and menswear business for decades. Styles Drapery and Menswear were a local favourite, supplying textiles to household owners for use in the home and outfitting the town’s men in sharp, tailored attire for weekend church, banking appointments, and business travel to Perth.  

Lot 11 was later redeveloped by the Beaton family in 1966 and housed a hair salon, bakery, and coffee lounge, providing a valuable meeting point for townsfolk.

Lot 12

Lot 12 Now Lot 12 Then

There are unreliable records of the occupiers of Lot 12 until the original, primitive structures were demolished in 1900. The lot is divided into four parts and the shop occupying part three is over 100 years old.

From 1930, the outside walls of this structure made for the perfect backdrop for silent movies to be projected on to entertain the locals during the early years of the Great Depression. In 1935, three small shops were built on parts one and two but were demolished in 1954 to make way for the present main shop. The town’s first Ford car showroom was housed here in 1971.

The Metzke family became the owners of Lot 12 in 1928 and have been its custodians up until Peter and Nicole Carlson bought the business in 2015 . The shop on Lot 12 is Southern Cross’s most established supply store, providing locals with an array of products and services since 1928.

Lot 13

Lot 13 Now Lot 13 then

Lot 13’s first recorded use dates back to 1901 when it was divided into three parts. The first part was used as a squash shop, while the second part served as a residence. The third part was home to a pie shop.

As the 20th century progressed, the usage of parts one and two changed, and they were occupied by various businesses such as a confectionary shop, a greengrocer, a red boot shop, and a butcher. Over time, other businesses such as a baker, a drapery, a hairdresser, and an opportunity shop took up residence in the buildings on the lot.

The structures on the lot were built using the walls of adjacent lots as common walls. Unfortunately, two parts of the original structures, including the residence at the rear, have since been demolished. However, part three of the lot still stands today and is currently being used as a garden and giftware shop.

Lot 14

Lot 14 Now Lot 14 then

A general store was situated here until 1894 per the lot’s first known record, and has since been occupied by a stationer, jeweller, solicitor, chemist, barber, and butcher. A part of the lot featured tea rooms from 1952 to 1996, where locals would gather for high tea as a welcome respite from the day’s work.

Next door to Lot 14 is a notable feature of the adjoining shop on Lot 13 hinting at its storied past: a sign reading Medical Hall. This site was home to the local general practitioner of the times in the early 19th century. The last remnants of Lot 14’s original structures were demolished in the 1970s, but the Medical Hall sign prevails still.

Lot 15

Lot 15 Now Lot 15 then

This lot features some of the best examples of heritage architecture in Southern Cross. Originally home to a bakery and shop in the 1890s, the buildings on this lot were upgraded with local stone quarried from nearby Fraser’s Gold Mine in 1928. A brick-lined well in the back of the lot supplied water for use by the bakery.

After a fire tore through the structures in the late 1940s, the building was completely rebuilt and restored. The well survived the fire and is still standing strong today.

A second structure on this lot was built in 1897 and became home to The Criterion, a restaurant and boarding house for road-weary travellers passing through the region, and a jeweller’s shop. This structure stood for just 13 years until 1910 when the present building was constructed, used as a drapery then expanding to sell footwear in the late 1960s. This structure is now well over 110 years of age.

Lot 16

Lot 16 Lot 16 Then

The original buildings on Lot 16 featured two frontages facing Antares and Achernar Streets, taking advantage of the main road entry to Southern Cross passing along Achernar Street and beckoning tired travellers with refreshing cordials and horses for hire.

A larger structure was built around the turn of the century consisting of four shops and a residence at the rear. These shops were occupied by butchers, hairdressers, bootmakers, green grocers, a restaurant and was the headquarters of the S.X. Times newspaper (and its notorious publisher!) from 1936 to 1941.

In 1966, these shops were demolished, and owner Ben Panizza built the current structure with local stone on the corner section of the building. A beautiful large piece of white quartz sits at the top of this feature stone wall. White quartz is called “Yilgarn” in our region’s Indigenous language; the Kaalamaya language of the Kaprun people. It is from this that the shire derives its name.

Lot 34

Lot 34 Now Lot 34 Then

Lot 34 was where Southern Cross townsfolk of the early 20th century would go to buy work boots or hire a builder. From 1912 to 1942 the Union Bank owned the section of Lot 34 adjacent to Lot 33, although a bank never operated on the premises. The lot became popular with many in the region where locals could get a taste of a new luxury sold by E. Williams: homemade ice cream. The frozen dessert became a hot commodity in the Wheatbelt, enjoyed by farmers, miners, families, and local youth alike.

After World War II, a café occupied the premises before a local businessman installed a Caltex fuel bowser on the footpath. In 1955, W. P Forrester established the Yilgarn Machinery Co on two sections of the lot, providing local farms with financial and mechanical support. It became an agricultural agency in 1978.

Lot 35

Lot 35 now Lot 35 then

The earliest recorded usage of this lot was as a shop operated by J. Taylor in 1893. In its early days, townsfolk enjoyed sampling fine vintage wines brought in by wagon train from Perth when it operated as a wine saloon. It was also used as an auctioneer’s office to document sales, and provided prospectors and miners with admin support as a mining agency. Marion Imray’s tea rooms and the Crystal Café was also located on a section of this lot.

The Nevoria School was once situated in the rear section of the lot and featured walls made from local stone. This was the only school in the region at the time and was attended every day by children from surrounding districts, some of whom would travel for hours each day.

In 1939, Dixon motors operated from the premises and the Bell brothers owned their garage here from 1951 to 1973. Lot 35 would also be the location of the first-ever coin operated laundromat in the shire.

The façade of the original structure was made of rudimentary mud bricks and stood for nearly 80 years until it was demolished in the late 1970s.

Lot 36

Lot 36 now Lot 36 then

The initial occupier of lot 36 was the Southern Cross branch of the Commercial Bank, whose first manager was given an armed escort from Perth to open the bank. A rogue willy willy (small tornado) ripped the roof off soon after the bank opened, scattering the building’s contents in all directions.

Later, another manager of the bank had a baby girl in the residence attached to the premises. The baby, named Jessie, went on to become the first woman to fly from England to Australia. The Commercial Bank closed in 1905 then re-opened from 1910 to 1912.

This lot, like many in the historic centre of Southern Cross, was home to a variety of businesses including drapery, hardware, groceries, fuel, and machinery agencies. The bank on Lot 36 is also the location of the agency where prospector Arthur Bayley deposited his historic gold find in 1892 and triggered one of the biggest gold rushes in history.

Lot 37

Lot 37 now Lot 37 Then

During a period in the 20th century, stepping onto Lot 37 would have meant encountering an imposing brass set of scales, used for weighing gold. Since 1984, the lot has served as a bank premises, though the commercial tenants have not always operated under the same name. The West Australian Bank was established in Southern Cross in 1894 and later amalgamated with the Bank of New South Wales in 1928. The bank continued to operate under its original name until 1983 when it was renamed Westpac.

The first bank on this lot was housed in a rudimentary structure that later became banking chambers. After the merger, the chambers were redeveloped, while the living quarters at the rear, which were built with the original bank, remained relatively untouched until their demolition in 1975. A new building was then erected, and staff members were relocated to new accommodations on Gruis Street and Altair Street.

Lot 38

Lot 38 Now Lot 38 then

Hannah King had the two-storey building constructed on one section of lot 38 in the early 1900s and operated a boarding house there. This structure, like the one opposite, was owned by her husband Tommy King and is classified by the National Trust as being worthy of preservation.

Over the years, Lot 38 has been used as a hairdresser, news agency, confectioner, tea rooms and a butcher’s shop. It was a restaurant in the 1930s and then in the 1940s it became a solicitor’s office with boarding rooms on the upper level.

A selection of agencies occupied the premises, and the upper level of the two-storey structure was converted into flats in 1960. A deli then occupied the site, followed by an accountant’s office.

Lot 39

Lot 39 now Lot 39 Then

This lot came to life with a store and workshop in the late 1890s, divided into 2 sections and occupied by Mr. Darley and C. A. Inkpen. It housed a hair salon in the early 20th century. The attached residence was occupied by the first-ever bank manager in Southern Cross who helped build the famous local transport agency, Cobb and Co, who operated services to Coolgardie.

In 1915, the lot was purchased and renamed Goodin’s Hall. It became the focal point for the town’s social scene and was used as a venue for a variety of events and as a meeting place. Markets, live music, movies, and dances were all held here for years, and it was also the location of a lively youth club in the 1970s.

Lot 40

Lot 40 now Lot 40 then

Originally built in 1888 by a syndicate of businessmen, the Club Hotel in Southern Cross, known for its association with Cobb & Co. coaches and the Southern Cross Racing Club, has transformed into a family-friendly destination. Over the years, the hotel underwent several renovations and upgrades to keep up with the bustling times. In 1910, a two-story brick hotel was constructed, equipped with modern amenities like a billiard table, sample room, and hot and cold plunge baths. The hotel remained a prominent establishment in the area, accommodating the needs of both locals and visitors.

In 1924, Alice Maud Kennedy acquired the hotel and made extensive improvements, including the addition of bathrooms, W.C.'s, and a septic system. She was highly regarded in the community for her astute business skills and support of prospectors. The hotel continued to evolve, and in the 1930s, further expansions were made to accommodate the mining boom in the Yilgarn region. Today, as the sole licensed hotel in Southern Cross, it has become a popular destination for travelers, day-trippers, locals, and visitors from around the world.

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