Lodge Tweed United No. 136 History
Part 3 – Eastaughffe Shop
The Eastaughffe Shop of Main Street – 1888
Alexander Albert Eastaughffe who owned the shop in Main Street Murwillumbah was situated somewhere near where Fosseys are today and was born at Dalby Qld. He was the son of Charles Eastaughffe who came from Scotland and Margaret O’Brien who came from Ireland.
In 1878 at Dalby. Alexander married Annie Healy the daughter of the Healy’s who had arrived from Ireland in 1855. They had 17 children during their marriage and Herbert, Cyril, Florence, Leslie, Clement, Frederick, Margaret and Lydia were born at Murwillumbah.
According to the Sesquincentenery Supplement of the Daily News 1973 there were only 23 buildings in Murwillumbah in 1888 so there were plenty of vacant allotments in the Main Street. The Commercial bank and the Australian Joint Stock Bank had just opened branches.
Besides Alexander Eastaughffe’s Saddlery there was Soloman’s Store, William Wardrops Store, Thomas Moore and Gus Gregory’s Smithy, P. Christensen’s Bakery, Mat Smiths Australian Hotel, W. Kelly’s Cosmopolitan Hotel, Mrs Dougherty’s Store and James Cleary’s clothing Store.
There was also the Post Office, the Roads Office, School of Arts and Court House. Just out of town was W. Carew’s Condong Hotel and Pat Smiths Slaughter Yards.
1888 was the year the first newspaper was published. It was called The Tweed and Brunswick Advocate and South Queensland Record and Alexander Eastaughffe made full use of it for advertising his wares. The paper consisted of four pages and was printed weekly.
On the southern side of Main Street were the cane fields of the C.S.R. Company. The land had previously belonged to James Black. Land values were on the climb and Alexander set himself up as a Commission Agent and Auctioneer.
The earliest minutes of the Tweed River Agricultural Society in 1880 show that when Joshua Bray was chairman A. Eastaughffe was among those present but a date could not be agreed on the hold a show, it was left to a committee but they also could not agree on a date.
For some reason no minutes of another meeting are recorded until 1897 when a membership fee was fixed at 10/6. Mr Bray was again elected President, R.C. Ewing secretary and A. Eastaughffe was elected treasurer. Ten acres of partly cleared land was made available from the government and Alexander Eastaughffe was treasurer of the first show in Nov. 1898.
There were not many cattle on the Tweed at the time, so the Show Society ordered a holstein bull from Sydney. When it arrived, Alexander met the train and walked the bull to the Showground. Farmers had to contact the Eastaughffe Shop when they brought a cow in to be served.
During most of the Eastaughffe’s time in Murwillumbah the only way to cross the river was the hand operated ferry that operated from where the Art Gallery is today. But in 1901 the Eastaughffe clan were among the 600 people out of a district population of 1,100 who cheered the opening of a bridge over the Tweed River joining north and south Murwillumbah.
Although there were boats plying between Tweed Heads and Murwillumbah it was not until 1888 that Skinners started a regular service between the two centres.
The time when Alexander Eastaughtfe operated his two shops was a period of great development on the Tweed, beside seeing the bridge built it was the time when the first steam engine puffed into the railway station on Christmas Eve 1894; but Alexander was too busy serving customers to witness its arrival. It was the time when dairy farms were beginning to make their presence felt and the first butter factory was built in Commercial Road in 1897. So it was an opportunity for Alexander to stock the requirements of a dairy farmer.
Alexander Eastaughffe was a member of the Masonic Lodge. The Honour Board of the Lodge in Banner Street reads A. Eastaughffe Worshipful Master of Lodge Tweed at Murwillumbah 1892/93/94 and 1897/98.
In 1903 the Eastaughffe’s left Murwillumbah and settled at “Beleah Farm” where he also carried on his business as a saddler. Alexander Albert died on 15th January 1931 and is buried at Maryborough Queensland.
A nephew Frederick Clarence Eastaughffe was still in Murwillumbahin 1909 and his occupation was a billiard maker.
Tweed Valley Times