In the Archives | Fire rips through Saddlery store

By Benalla Ensign


A fire in a Nunn St residence last Wednesday was brought quickly under control by four fire crews, but not before it spread through the roof of a neighbouring saddlery store, causing extensive stock damage.

The owner of Neightac Saddlery, Kellie Johnson, said she received a call informing her of the fire about 11.10 pm last Wednesday.

“The firies did a really good job,” Ms Johnson said.

“They took care and didn’t race through spraying everything.

“It was only minutes from spreading to the front.”

The fire caused extensive damage to the rear of the property, burning an expensive saddle, stored items and office equipment, while store items suffered smoke damage.

Ms Johnson said she was happy the fire did not spread to the more historic part of the shop, although it could not have happened at a worse time of year,

“We are fully insured, but have lost all the Christmas trade,” she said.

“We’re intending to have a fire sale soon.”

Also in The Ensign this week in 2009:

● Councillor Brad Hill was elected unopposed for another term as mayor.

● An accident between a ute and a motorcycle left two men with serious injuries.

● Angela Townsend joined the Benalla Ensign in the role of editor. 

In the archives | State Ballooning championships marred by wild weather


A floored home loan scheme established by the ALP Government in the 1980s is forcing Benalla residents out of their homes, financial counsellor, Bernie Stratton, has warned.

The Home Opportunity Loan Scheme (HOLS) introduced in 1988 was a Labor Government initiative to help low-income earners, who couldn’t qualify for a bank loan, buy their own house.

But according to Benalla and Shepparton financial counsellor, Mr Stratton, the scheme relied on consistent inflation, income rises and property value increase, which just did not happen.

He said many borrowers have found, despite meeting the repayments set by the scheme, they have not been able to keep up with the high fixed-interest charges and their debt had accumulated to the extent that they were being forced out of their homes.

Two Benalla families last week received seven-day notices to leave their homes.

It is believed 16 000 people signed up for the HOLS, and already 3000 are experiencing financial difficulties because of the structurally floored scheme.

Also in The Ensign this week in 1994:

● Winton Motor Raceway was named one of the most popular attractions in regional Victoria.

● The Benalla National Bank, Water Supply Depot and the Broken River Railway Bridge were all added to the Historic Building Council.

● Talented runner David Firth was September's Benalla Ensign sports star of the month. 

In the Archives | Benalla teen gets AFL lifeline


Frederick Cook, the outstanding sportsman in his class of 57 young officers who marched out from the Officer Training Unit, Scheyville, NSW, last week was presented with the sporting prize by the Reviewing Officer, Major Pearson, as well as the graduation certificate which entitles him to the rank of second lieutenant.

Frederick, the son of Mr and Mrs FA Cook, of Bridge St, Benalla, left Benalla last Sunday for his posting to a Regular Army unit at Woodside, South Australia, after spending a couple of weeks’ Christmas leave with his parents.

Also in The Ensign this week in 1969:

● Roy Symes’ dog Mockridge qualified for the State dog-show final.

● The Rowley family said farewell to Benalla as they moved to Eaglehawk.

● The All-Blacks finished runners-up in the BDFL.

● The Carlton Cricket Club first XI traveled to Benalla to play a series of matches.