DROUIN celebrated its history last month with the Open House Drouin event, which drew large crowds curious about the town’s past.
Above: Meredith Krygger, Max Hine and Ila Hine outside their former home and workplace. Photo: William PJ Kulich.
First published in the 15 May 2015 edition of the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen.
A number of buildings were opened up for visitors over the first weekend in May, with information displays and local historians at hand to inform people what was what.
The croquet club, old butter factory and several churches were opened up, as well as the former State Savings Bank of Victoria building and other buildings.
The bank closed many years ago and the upstairs area was converted from a residential area for bank managers to commercial.
It was that change which struck Max Hine, the last bank manager to live in the building, when he returned to the building on the Open House weekend for the first time since leaving.
“It is [surreal] because I haven’t been up here since the whole place was redone as-is,” he told the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen.
“I couldn’t believe the way it has come from the way it was to [new shops moving in].
“Structure-wise the building is almost exactly the same.”
Mr Hine, his wife and two daughters lived in the building between 1977 and 1987, after which the policy of bank managers living on-premises was abolished.
While parts of the early-1900s building have remained unchanged, the same cannot be said for the town since the family moved out.
“The roundabout out the front had traffic lights, and I remember in the night quite often you would hear cars screeching to a halt,” Mr Hine said.
“I know they had quite a few prangs out there and I remember my wife and Terry Williamson, who’s next door, they met down below in their night attire.”
Mr Hine, who still lives in Drouin with his wife Ila, said living above the bank and raising a family “was good.”
“I consider it to be a reasonable way to live because, even through you’re at the call of your customers, you’re still away from them,” he said.
“It was in their (his daughters’) formative years and from working in the bank and moving around, I think they were able to converse with people more.”
Mr Hine also has a son, who once while visiting spotted a robbery, not of the bank but of the electronics shop next door.
“They were breaking in… and the roofs were about the same height and my son was looking out of the window and happened to see him.”
There is no longer a building with the same roof line on either side of the state bank building.
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