This blog provides information, stories, links and events relating to and promoting the history of the Wimmera district.
Any additional information, via Comments, is welcomed.

Monday, 18 July 2016

The Church, the Hotel, the Society

This week's curly question was: where did the name for the Blue Ribbon Road originate from?

It is the road runs north for over 50kms, from Horsham to its terminus at Fryatts Rd, near Willenabrina.
It passes through the Greenland Dam, Kalkee, Garup, Sailors Home, Murra Warra, Wallup, Cannum, Aubrey, and Crymelon localities.
Some maps call it the Horsham-Kalkee Rd, for the section to the Borung Highway at the Blue Ribbon Corner.

But why 'Blue Ribbon'? This is the question that no-one - long-time residents or historical societies - seem to have the answer for.
The best guess so far is from Marj, who believes it relates to the Temperance Movement.

The Temperance Movement was a social movement upholding the ideals of an alcohol-free lifestyle, through moderation or banning the consumption of alcoholic beverages. The Movement became more radical, advocating the legal prohibition of alcohol – teetotalism. It was particularly important and developed in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It saw temperance halls and coffee palaces as an alternative to hotels, they ran lectures and films upholding family values and discouraging drunkenness, successfully implementing early hotel closing times (6 o’clock swill) which didn’t lead to a curbing of consumption. The Movement’s role began being wound back in the 1950s and 1960s in more relaxed liberal times.
Members of the Temperance Society would take the Pledge to either become a teetotaller – a soldier of the Blue Ribbon Army, or the White Ribbon – for women of the Women's Christian Temperance Union.
The Society promoted alternatives to alcoholic drinks like ginger beer, creamy sodas, and sarsparilla, served in Temperance bars and coffee palaces. 
It also gave rise to the popularity of aerated waters and cordials, and led to the establishment of a number of localised cordial factories and manufacturers (whose old bottles are now rare collectors' items).
Callawadda's old cordial factory
In October 1883 the people of Cannum East met in the Wallup Free Church to establish a branch of the Blue Ribbon Army. Other branches sprang up in Clear Lake, Jung, Horsham, Rupanyup, Nurrabiel, Pimpinio, Kalkee, Warracknabeal, and other areas.
There was a close link between the Society and the local churches, often meetings were held in the church buildings. Both the Kalkee Wesleyan Church (built in 1885) and Wallup Presbyterian Church, faced the Blue Ribbon Road. The Wallup Presbyterian Church was first held in the Wallup State School, till a church was built across the Wallup Church Road in 1910. Anglican services were also held in the church in the 1930s and 40s. 
Wallup Presbyterian site 1910-1973 with the school site behind
Both the Cannum East (1875-1955) at the corner of Matheson & Antwerp Rds, and the South Cannum Presbyterian churches at the corner of Boundary & Cannum Church Rds were further east.

The Women's Christian Temperance Union water drinking fountain erected in 1911 in Warracknabeal. It was inscribed with the Union's motto: "For God, home and humanity". The fountain was given to the Borung Shire and originally located at the Town Hall. In 1939 it was transferred to Anzac Park (Photo I. Phillips).
So if people were against drinking, where were the hotels they were campaigning against?  
One would be the Blue Ribbon Hotel on the Blue Ribbon Corner. It was originally known as Patterson’s Wine Shanty, but by 1889 it was called the Blue Ribbon Hotel. 3 acres Allotment 68A in Wallup Parish was sold to Alexander Patterson on 5th January 1882. (The Pattersons owned a number of surrounding allotments). 

By 1884 the intersection was called 'Patterson's Corner'.

 The hotel was also a 'Post Office' from 1899 (a mail bag was dropped off there).
It was 'Patterson's Blue Ribbon Hotel' when it was destroyed by fire in April 1903. A new 5-room Blue Ribbon Hotel was erected, but it had its licence surrendered by December 1925, and then, on 12th January 1926, it again burnt to the ground, not to be resurrected again. 

"The HorshamTimes"  Friday 15th January 1926, page 6.

The site of the Blue Ribbon Hotel
It would be interesting to know how many participants at the 'Blue Ribbon Raceway' were aware of this conjecture?
We would be interested in hearing from anyone who could confirm or refute this hypothesis.

No comments:

Post a Comment