From the pages of the McIvor Times

December 2, 2023 BY

Staying connected: The original Heathcote post office was built in 1870 and remained in use until 2013 when services were moved to new purpose-built premises. Photo: STATE LIBRARY OF VICTORIA

SNAKES, alleged liquor licensing lawbreakers and the future of the Heathcote post office feature in this journey into the past.

Changes to licensing laws in 1871 had driven several former publicans into the sly grog trade and revenue inspectors were hot on their heels. Mercy Ann Clare was one of seven defendants brought before the local magistrate in November 1873.

In late 1923 the McIvor Times changed hands for the second time when Albert Johnson, who had bought the paper from the Robinsons, sold to Jack Bailey.

Jack and his son Colin were at the helm collectively for an impressive 57 years, until Colin passed the baton to Ray Robinson in 1980.

By 1973 a supposed threat to Heathcote’s Post Office was in the news, but the building remained open.


150 years ago

27 November 1863

Heathcote Police Court

Illegal sale of liquor

George Potter, revenue inspector, vs Mercy Ann Clare, storekeeper, who was summoned to show cause why a cask containing ale, one small cask or keg containing brandy, and 38 bottles of champagne-cider, ale and porter, seized on her premises on the 18th inst., should not be forfeited.

George Potter, sworn, said that he got out a warrant to search the defendant’s premises.

Constable Dwyer, on being sworn, stated that by virtue of a warrant he searched the defendant’s premises, and seized the goods as above enumerated.

Defendant said that she had been in Heathcote for a good many years and had never been brought up on a similar occasion. She had a blacksmith’s shop, amongst other things and had men working for her, to whom she gave beer twice a day. She always kept a little brandy in her place for her own use in case she was unwell. Champagne-cider, she was allowed to sell, being holder of a colonial wine license.

Defendant was let off.

Polygamist was touting for temporary wives in this 1873 McIvor Times advertisement. Photo: FILE


100 years ago

25 October 1923

Thursday last while Mr Jim Gilmore, of Tooborac was crossing the creek, his dog found something in some rushes. Mr Gilmore set fire to the rushes and out came a snake, which he soon dispatched.


Shearing has commenced in the district, and some fine fleeces have been produced. Several farmers report that the cold weather so soon after the shearing has caused much trouble, several of the sheep dying from cold.


29 November 1923

Having sold the McIvor Times to Mr Jack Bailey, I take this opportunity of thanking the residents of this district for their support during the past eight years and trust that the same liberal patronage will be extended to my successor.

It is requested that all amounts owing to this business be urgently paid, as it becomes essential that all outstanding accounts be placed in the hands of my solicitor for immediate recovery.

(signed) EA Johnson

Having taken over the business referred to, I desire to solicit a continuance of the patronage accorded the McIvor Times and Job Printing Business during its 61 years existence, and by prompt attention to details, combined with a policy of progression, hope to obtain the extended support of old and new customers.

(signed) Jack Bailey


The McIvor Times was under the watchful eye of Colin Bailey in 1973. Photo: FILE


50 years ago

30 October 1973

Heathcote post office could be reduced to unofficial office

Mr Bourchier, Federal Member for Bendigo, said he was most concerned at the announcement that post offices at Heathcote, Broadford, Elmore, Malden and Romsey could be reduced to unofficial status.

“Assurances had been given by the postmaster general, Mr Bowen, that the status of post offices in the Bendigo electorate would not change without full consideration,” Mr John Bourchier said.

Mr Bourchier said he was most concerned at Mr Bowen’s announcement that some official post offices would be reduced to unofficial offices and some unofficial offices might be closed.

“In talks with Mr Bowen, the postmaster general had told him that no action would be taken in any instance until suitable alternative arrangements were provided,” Mr Borchier said.

Mr Bowen had stated that offices under review were not economically viable but that in making a change comment some other method of providing an adequate service would be implemented.

Mr Bourchier stressed to Mr Bowen that it appeared inappropriate to reduce to unofficial status, post offices at Heathcote, Broadford, Elmore, Maldon and Romsey.

“These were viable operations, especially as considerable expense would be involved in providing alternative arrangements for letter delivery and other services,” he said.