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History of Terang

Local indigenous tribes were the first to discover Terang’s natural wealth. They set up camps beside Lake Terang which was home to an abundance of fish, bird and animal life and provided them with food and water.

The first dwelling was a slab hut, erected in 1840 on the eastern bank of the lake by Donald McNicol, and employee of Niel Black of Glenormiston.

Terang was surveyed in 1858 and land sales followed. The town slowly grew – houses and businesses were built and public facilities were funded through fundraising bazaars and donations.

Horse and coach services operated by Sumpter and Co. and Cobb and Co. provided daily transport to Geelong in the 1870s. The journey took almost 13 hours. The railway line from Melbourne reached Terang in 1887 and construction of the link to Warrnambool was completed 2 years later.

The township of Terang grew with the region. As the district swung from squatters’ sheep to dairy cattle, businesses were established to serve the needs of townsfolk and rural property owners.

Terang was the first town in the Commonwealth to provide its own post office tower and clock through public subscription in 1904.

A man named Paton opened the first store in Terang – a grocery and produce business. After a series of owners and renovations, a two-storey building was constructed on the site.

In 1908, the store was sold to a number of local families who had formed the Terang and District Co-Operative Society. A disastrous fire in 1944 totally destroyed the shop and its stock. The co-operative was forced to trade from its nearby Noorat branch store and from the Terang Band Hall until a new building was completed.

Today, the co-operative is still operating from its prominent site in Terang’s High Street opposite the post office and granite war memorial. Its 3000 shareholders include descendants of the local pioneering families who first established the co-operative over 110 years ago.

Terang is home to many other small businesses and manufacturers which were established on a solid rural base.