This tour covers around 1.5 km of easy town walking, stepping back through 150 years of extraordinary history.
In the 1850s Moruya was buzzing – shortly after being gazetted in 1951, the town took off with the Gold Rush. People and money flowed into the region – and bushrangers too!
But Moruya is better known for a different rock – its granite, most famously used in the Harbour Bridge, but also as columns in some of Sydney’s most majestic buildings.
Granite mining set Moruya apart, raising its status in Sydney and bringing more people and investment. Moruya was the undisputed commercial centre of the region, and was declared the seat of the new Eurobodalla Shire in 1906.
By the 1920s tourism started to take off, fuelled by the new Federal Capital in Canberra, the post-war boom and the arrival of the automobile. Hotels were booked, movie theatres started up and commerce thrived.
Start your journey at the Moruya Museum. The year is 1875 – nearly 150 years ago, the telephone has just been invented. The Gold Rush is in full swing and Granite Mining is starting to kick off!
Find Out About Your Street
Have you ever wondered who might have lived in your street, or who built that lovely house on the corner?
Who‘s been living in my Moruya Street?
will answer all your questions and more!
Moruya Museum 85 Campbell St
① Emmott House
Built 1875, Yorkshire Terrace design with added verandahs. Residence of prominent Moruya store owner Abraham Emmott. No 85 houses the Moruya Museum . . . ➔ more
② Stonemason’s Lathe
Made 1881 in Aberdeen, displayed in Museum grounds. This rare machine was used to turn Moruya granite into beautiful polished columns for Sydney’s majestic buildings. . . . ➔ more
③ Vivian Cottage
60 Campbell St ~1875, for local blacksmith Peter Williams. Victorian Georgian weatherboard, originally a 3-bedroom cottage.
Williams arrived in NSW from Cornwell in 1859, moving to Moruya after a period in Bodalla. He named the cottage after his relatives the Vivian family.
His daughter Harriet Williams ran it as a boarding house in the 1930s, changing the name to Angel’s Rest. Today Vivian Cottage is a private home.
④ The Moruya Examiner
56-8 Campbell St 1913, by Robert Henry Harvison, owner of the Moruya Examiner. Federation Italianate style, granite construction rarely used in domestic building. The Examiner previously operated from Harvison’s auctioneer rooms on Page St, these new buildings illustrate the paper’s rising influence.
⑤ Lawyer’s Cottage
54 Campbell St Late 1920s, attractive interwar cottage. Early use as a dental surgery, then became a private home, now a lawyer’s office. Replaced a 2-story general store and residence run by the Kee Chong family.
Campbell Street was a mixed residential-business precinct, occupied by a rising middle class.
⑥ POST & Telegraph – A New Civic Precinct
52 Campbell St 1887, refined late-Victorian Filigree architecture reflects the importance of postal services in an era of growing prosperity. The telegraph office was added to southern side 1926.
The Post Office established a new civic precinct for Moruya. The building is now run as a boutique B&B.
⑦ Shire Chambers
73 Campbell St 1914, Federation Queen Anne, rendered brick with iron roof. Moruya was chosen as the seat of the Eurobodalla shire due to its central location, commercial importance and because there was a newspaper.
⑧ Masonic Hall
16 Page St 1891, southern annex was constructed in 1946. Victorian Gothic, rendered brick with corrugated iron roof. The only building of its type in the region and was an important place for social gatherings.
⑨ Page Street Residences
⑩ St Johns Church & Rectory
15 Page St 1891, designed by colonial architect Arthur Blacket. Brick & stone with slate roof, Victorian Gothic style. Replaced an original wooden church built in 1861. Stonework by Henry Ziegler, local stonemason and quarryman.
Neo-Georgian rectory built 1870-74, granite stone rendered on the outside. Hall built 1903, used for Sunday school and meetings.
⑪ Mechanics Institute
13 Page St 1881, Neo-Gothic style, brick with iron roof. Designed by Reginald Heber Barlow, local teacher and architect. Centre of local life in late 1800s, now used as a community centre with regular art exhibitions.
⑫ RSL Memorial Hall
11 Page St 1953-55, Post-War institutional style. Weatherboard and corrugated iron with red brick facade. Very large hall has been a venue for many and varied functions over the decades.
⑬ Power House
10 Page St 1925, a corrugated iron shed with a stepped timber-framed parapet at the Page Street frontage. Housed the town’s first electricity power generating unit from 1931-1941, and later as the office of the Southern Star newspaper.
⑭ Auction Rooms and Newspaper
8 Page St 1865, Victorian weatherboard Georgian building, office of the “Moruya Examiner”, after it was purchased by editor and auctioneer R. H. Harvison.
⑮ Uniting Church
7 Page St 1864, Victorian Gothic designed by Sydney architect Thomas Rowe. Moruya’s first granite building, stonework by Henry Ziegler, local stonemason and quarryman.
The beautiful glass windows, Gothic door and wonderful acoustics add to the appeal of this classic church building.
⑯ Police Residence
3 Page St 1879, Victorian style, designed by Colonial Architect’s Office. Initially used as temporary Court House and Police Station, then became the Police Sergeant’s quarters when the new Court House on Vulcan St was completed.
With the expansion of gold diggings came bushrangers, and a need to improve security. The NSW Government responded by allocating £1536 for new police buildings and court house. Now a private residence, the building is still owned by the NSW Police Force.
⑰ Sacred Heart Catholic Church
36 Queen St Built 1887-88, Victorian Gothic, granite and sandstone construction designed by Sydney architects Sheerin & Hennessy. Stonework by Henry Ziegler, local stonemason and quarryman.
Extensive grounds house the St Mary’s Catholic School and until 1996 the Convent of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour. The convent building is now used for parish and school administration.
Queen Street was the original commercial centre of Moruya. It boasted 2 pubs, 3 general stores and 2 tea-rooms. Queen St was the place to be!
⑱ Carpenter’s Cottage
39 Queen St 1880 by Thomas Edward Walter, a carpenter and the town’s undertaker.
⑲ Club House Hotel
43 Queen St 1915, Victorian Tudor style. Distinctive white silica bricks thought to have come from the Botany Brick Company in Sydney. Replaced Kilkenny’s “The Club House” Hotel.
⑳ Keating Residence
51 Queen St 1922, an “up-to-date” residence for publican Martin Keating on the site of the Kildare Hotel, which Keating had previously leased. Keating also ran a hotel at the site now occupied by the Air Raid Tavern.
㉑ Mylott’s Bakery
57-9 Queen St 1932, by local baker Paddy Mylott. The building has been modified but some fine 1930s detailing remains – leadlight windows, period tiling and unpainted brickwork. A residence was located above the bakery and a resident’s doorway and several windows open onto the Vulcan Street facade.
Paddy Mylott was one of eight children – his sister Eva Mylott became a world famous singer, her grandson is actor Mel Gibson.
The building was used by the Mylott family as a bakery outlet for over seventy years, until 2006. Now refurbished as the Commonwealth Bank.
Vulcan Street – the NEW Commercial Heart
Vulcan St had been the domain of many pubs in the Gold Rush, but Emmott’s Beehive Store ushered a new era, making Vulcan St the commercial heart.
Vulcan Street was named after the premises of the blacksmith’s
James Gee – located near the river behind the boatshed.
㉒ Court House & Police Precinct
65 Vulcan St 1879-80. Victorian Italianate, designed by James Barnet of the Colonial Architects Office. Painted and rendered brickwork with timber balustrades and columns.
A prominent building, it reflects the Colonial Architect’s grand concepts for major regional centre public buildings. The Police Station is adjacent, and the lock-up keeper’s residence is at the rear read more . . .
㉓ Bank of NSW
59 Vulcan St 1883, bank with manager’s residence. Federation Italianate style, designed by Benjamin Backhouse. Granite construction with rendered architraves and slate roof. Granite from Louttit’s quarry on the south side of the Moruya River.
㉔ Commonwealth Bank
51 Vulcan St 1928, Inter-War Simplified Free Classical, brick with iron roof. Significant role in consolidating commercial centre and expanding local Banking services.
㉕ Moruya Bridge & Boatshed
The current bridge was built in 1966 and is the fourth on this site. The first was built in 1876. The second opened in 1900 and but was destroyed in the 1945 floods. A “temporary” replacement was built, finally replaced by the current bridge over 20 years later!
The River was the lifeblood of Moruya’s economy, providing the main transport route for produce, timber, gold and granite. The journey through the Moruya Heads was treacherous and many lost their lives.
㉖ Adelaide Hotel
36-8 Vulcan St 1910, Federation style. Roughest rendered and painted brickwork. Replaced the previous Adelaide Hotel built in 1865, making it the oldest hotel still operating in Moruya. Built on the banks of the Moruya River, “The Addie” remains a popular meeting place.
42 Vulcan St 1880-89, Victorian era. Remains as the only substantial timber commercial building in Moruya from the late 1880s period of commercial expansion. Originally a general store selling hardware, drapery and groceries with a residence above.
㉘ Hotel Monarch
54 Vulcan St. 1939 Art Deco. An iconic landmark in Moruya, noted for Art Deco parapet above the street awning. Terracotta Marseilles pattern tiles decorate the roof. The Monarch is named after a navy battleship, built in the site of the previous Commercial Hotel.
㉙ Commercial Bank
60 Vulcan St 1890 Victorian Italianate. Built by John Emmott, rendered brick external walls, cement friezes to top of parapet. Leased and then sold in 1928 to the Commercial Banking Company who continued until 1950 at this address.
㉚ Beehive store – now Harris Scarfe
64 Vulcan St In 1862, Abraham Emmott founded the Beehive Store on this site. The Beehive was the centre of the town’s commercial activity.
Emmott sold the Beehive in 1927, but the buyer continued to trade under the Emmott name until the 1970’s. It has been several stores since, now trading as Harris Scarfe. Current building dates from 1959.
㉛ Chewying Shops
68 – 72 Vulcan St 1920-9, Inter-War Art Deco, brick with stucco parapet. Marks the start of the developer-led expansion of post-war retailing in the main commercial street.
㉜ Amusu Theatre
78 Vulcan St 1921 by A H Preddy for use as a cinema, Inter-War Moderne style. Moruya’s first Cabaret Ball was held there in 1946. Now trading as Silly Willy’s discount store.
㉝ Air Raid Tavern
73 Vulcan St 1953, Post-War Neo-Federation. The building follows the footprint of former Keating’s Hotel which burnt down in 1943. After the fire, the bar re-opened in the stables – blackout rules were in place due to Japanese submarine activity off the coast – hence it became known as the Air Raid Shelter.
㉞ Sundial Clock
78 Vulcan St. This sundial was crafted by master stonemason and quarryman Henry Ziegler and donated to the public in 1867. Originally installed at the Courthouse, the clock moved to Council chambers on Campbell St, and then to the current Council Chambers on Vulcan St.
㉟ pINK gATES
The Pink Gates were originally at one of the two entrances to the showground. These replica gates now mark a walk through the golf course to the showground.
The present showground dates from 1914, having moved from its riverside location near the current bowling club site. The first show in 1879 was held on land at the corner of Murray and Evans Street.
This walk draws on the work of many to document Moruya’s extensive and fascinating heritage buildings. All sites are listed on the Eurobodalla Shire Council’s heritage register, with the exception of Emmott’s Beehive Store which was re-built in 1959. Year is when construction commenced.
All images from MDHS collection.