Make way for Traralgon plaza

Traralgon resident Max Cumming remembers his grandfather Bill Cumming as an athletic and active member of the community.

“He was a good bowler and a lifetime member of the bowling club in Traralgon,” 73 year-old Max said.

Bill and his wife, who owned and ran a butter factory during the 19th century, also built the Traralgon Croquet Club.

As president of the Shire of Traralgon in 1923, 1932, 1941, and 1945, it was easy to conclude that Bill was a popular town leader.

Max admitted he did not remember his grandfather well because he was 13 years old when Bill died.

However, it was a street named after the Cumming patriarch that reminded Max of his grandfather’s status in the community.

Cumming Street once stood with Mclean and Mitchell streets in the area where the Stockland Plaza now stands.

Formerly called Traralgon Centre Plaza, the shopping centre was believed to have opened in 1985 after the three streets were demolished.

Stockland later purchased the business.

Despite his grandfather’s popularity, Max never bragged about him to his friends, although he went to school at Grey Street just across the road where Cumming Street was.

Traralgon and District Historical Society president Barbara Johnson said Mclean and Mitchell streets were named after J Mclean, who was shire president in 1892, and Thomas Mitchell, an early liquor licensee at a Traralgon hotel.

Ms Johnson said Cumming, Mitchell, and Mclean streets were purchased and demolished to make way for the plaza.

However, the area was flood prone and the shopping centre’s underground parking would become inundated with water whenever it rained hard.

“I remember one of our society’s members said they were renting a house down there when it flooded in 1952 in Mitchell Street,” she said.

Ms Johnson said it was unfortunate Cumming, Mclean, and Mitchell streets were never renamed in another part of town following their removal.

“That’s a real shame, they should have been replaced, especially when there’s so much building going on and development in the town they’re always looking for new names,” she said.