02 April 2020
VIRTUAL FUN WITH HISTORY - WEEK 1by PORT FAIRY & REGION VISITOR INFORMATION CENTRE
Welcome to our virtual Fun with History Tour! We kick things off this week with ‘EMOH’ The original house of William Rutledge, the merchant known as the ‘King of Port Fairy’.
EMOH was a common name for houses in earlier times. It is HOME backwards!
In 1843, Mr. William Rutledge, land investor and developer associated with James Atkinson, arrived in Port Fairy, acquiring the 5120 acre "Farnham Special Survey" and being appointed as Atkinson's agent for the newly developing town. In ca. late 1843-early 1844, Rutledge also purchased the assets and goodwill of the only retail store in the township - belonging to Mr. John Cox - and began to develop a substantial mercantile business.
Rutledge & Co. developed into a substantial multi-facetted mercantile business supplying virtually all the needs of the growing township of Port Fairy and the surrounding agricultural and pastoral district. The company served as shipowners, importers and exporters, gold-buyers, stock and station agents, general merchants, warehouse and bulk store operators, insurance and commission agents, wine and spirit merchants, wool and produce buyers, mail contractors and merchant bankers.
Rutledge & Co. quickly expanded to one of the greatest commercial concerns in the colony of Victoria, essentially holding a monopoly over local and regional trade and contributing significantly to the growth and development of Port Fairy.
William Rutledge was also highly active in almost all town affairs in the 1840s-1850s, variously serving not only as magistrate, mayor and alderman. It has been stated that Rutledge was "inextricable entwined with the early history and prosperity of Port Fairy for he instigated many of its activities.
Following the crash of Rutledge & Co in 1862. It is now home to the Port Fairy YHA
Join us next Thursday as we explore more historic buildings, while detailing the stories that shaped the history in Port Fairy.
Photo: YHA Port Fairy