Settlement History
Railway Township 1888-1905

In 1888 the opening of the new railway led to two changes in the Clyde district. Because of the distance of the station from Clyde (North) that town ceased to progress as it had previously and instead the rail town started to grow.

The first change, on land owned by Alexander Cameron, a town was planned and put up for sale on June 12, 1889. Many claims were made for the area, including 'a permanent and prosperous township of the early future' and 'in the heart of what must become an important centre'. On the newly purchased land 5-6 houses were soon erected by the Stick Brothers of Ballarto Road. W Barge’s survey, 1893, created 49 blocks and three new streets, Railway Road, Valetta Street and Oroya Grove

Thank you to the Clive Pitman family for this map

The second change made dairying a more viable proposition, as produce could be quickly transported to city areas. For the next few years farms in the area were steadily improved (Wadeys 1893) and more fencing (mostly post and rail) was carried out.

With the opening of the railway came the opening of the Clyde Railway Station Post Office (1889) and a new mail service was commenced between the station and the 'Kardinia Creek' via the Clyde (North) School and Post Office.
Along Ballarto Road a store was commenced about the year 1892 to serve the people of the district. Tom and Sarah Williams established the business which seemed to concern itself with mostly household supplies. Not long after the Williams’ began, Tom Williams, also working as a jockey, was killed (April,1892) at a race meeting held at the then popular Eumemmering Track near Dandenong.
With assistance and support of the local people, Mrs. Williams was able to further improve the building and the business so that she would be able to support herself and young son, Tom.

In September 1893, Tom "Corrie" Ridgway (son of Anthony) married widow Sarah Williams and carried on the business until 1904. Tom and Sarah Ridgway raised a family of six children. Tom Ridgway had been married previously to Emma Cadd who had died in 1886, aged 25, leaving one son, Tom Ridgway (Jnr).

One of Tom Ridgway's (Snr.) brothers, George Ridgway, married Ethel Pruden and lived on the family property at Clyde until his untimely death, at the age of 39 in 1904 leaving a family of five children.

To aid his sister-in-law and her family, the general store was transferred to Ethel Ridgway (nee Pruden) by Tom Ridgway (Snr.)

The four room building (from the family property west of the rail town) was placed on skids and dragged by two bullock teams and placed at the site of the present store in 1905

Soon after the re-establishment of the business, widow Ethel Ridgway (nee Pruden) married Maurice Forrest who conducted the business until 1926. Throughout these years Ethel Forrest kept a small dairy on land south-east of the store (on the railway reserve) where she milked several cows, using excess milk to make ice-cream for sale in the shop.

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Ridgway Family Story
Clyde Store Keepers


Sources
1. A Clyde History
2. Map from Pitman family. Thank you Val Duncan