Wodonga houses by the numbers

Until the late 1940s, it was sufficient to address an envelope Mr Harry Smith, Wodonga. 

The population was small enough that the postman knew everyone by name and knew where they lived.

On November 8, 1946, the Wodonga and Towong Sentinel council report stated “Street Numbering – Recommendation first for all shops and premises abutting on footpath to use oval enamelled top black figures cost about 10d each. All private dwelling to use brass figures and brass screws to be affixed to gate posts, each figure, with screws, to cost 6d each.

“The contractor supplying and fixing numbers and collecting the cost from the householder.

“A plan for portion of the southern end of the town is now on the table.”

The February 7, 1947 edition tells us “STREET NUMBERING” – A plan for the major portion of the town is now complete and partially numbered. Population was 4237 then.

In May 1948, we read the council report stating:

“Regarding numbering of houses: Dissatisfaction was expressed (by the Wodonga and District Progress Association) at the manner in which numbering of houses is being prepared in which two sets of same numbers are to be used in the one street.

“The association requests that only one set of numbers be used in any one street, and that all numbers run north and south and from west to east commencing from Wodonga Creek and House Creek respectively.” 

The numbering being referred to applied to Lawrence Street.

In December 1948: “Steps are to be taken to complete scheme for numbering houses,” and March 1951 that “about three-quarters of the town is complete.”

NUMBERED: Public vaccinator Dr Embling stands in front of his premises. Street numbering didn't come to Wodonga until the late 1940s.

NUMBERED: Public vaccinator Dr Embling stands in front of his premises. Street numbering didn't come to Wodonga until the late 1940s.

Sections remaining were east of High Street and southward from Lawrence Street.

In August 1951: “Street numbers have now been fixed throughout the whole township and it is recommended that street numbers for new dwellings be issued with all building permits.”

An advertisement appeared in the Wodonga and Towong Sentinel in February 1952, urging people to have their private box number or street number inserted on their outward correspondence or billheads.

They were also instructed not to post their letter until it was addressed to the number either of the private box or number and street of addressee. 

Once upon a time everyone knew everyone in Wodonga, but not now.

For more details on the Wodonga Historical Society, visit www.historywodonga.org.au or search for the group’s page on Facebook.