Tent Town Project
The book Powlett Tent Town is the story of Wonthaggi’s birthplace under canvas near the first coal shafts. It has been written by Terri Allen (whose grandfather Cliff Gitsham arrived in Tent Town in late 1909) in conjunction with a project managed by the Friends of Wonthaggi Heathland and Coastal Reserve Inc.
The project was to revegetate the 9 hectare Tent Town site and provide parking, fencing and an information shelter outlining the history for our centenary year. Bass Coast Shire Council funded the project, as offset for the desalination site road works. Parks Vic (as land manager) and five local community groups actively supported the project. For more information about the project, please click here
The book outlines the living conditions experienced by miners and their families under canvas at the swampy site abutting today’s West Area Road. Included are reminiscences and eye witness accounts by reporters from the Argus newspaper.
Tent Town grew from an initial 12 miners in October 1909 to a population of 2,000 in May 1910. The first sale of blocks of land in Wonthaggi (then a State township) was in March 1910. By July 1910 Tent Town had vacated with the population moving to Wonthaggi following the Mines Department building houses starting June 1910.
The book is an ideal Christmas gift for all those interested in Wonthaggi’s history. You can obtain a copy from:
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President: Geoff Glare