History of the Building
Records show that in 1874 the land the building was built on was registered to John Pitches and his brother Samuel Pitches. In 1863 the brothers established a store and hotel in one building. John Pitches and his wife raised their family here. In 1862 fire destroyed the wooden building. In 1883 the new building was built with schist. By now Samuel was no longer part of the business. We think he may have died.
The business was run as a General Store and a butchery was added to the far end of the building, (we believe in the 1890’s). In-between the two businesses there was family accommodation. There were also two lean-to extensions built at the rear of the building, maybe shop storage and certainly family accommodation.
John Pitches's wife died in 1907 and after a few years he returned to Melbourne where he established a property called "Ophir". He died in 1920 in Melbourne Australia where he had originally come from in 1862. The building was left to his heirs, William and Andrew his sons, and James and Eliza Pitches. William and Andrew lived in Ophir and James and Eliza, his nephew and niece in Australia. Eliza was named as spinster of Australia!
During the 1920s it stopped operating as a General Store and was used as accommodation.
In 1924 the property was passed to Andrew Pitches alone. In 1930 it was then passed onto Martha or Lizzie, Sinnamon, spinster of Poolburn, scandalously, we have heard rumoured were in fact a couple!
There was a fire, started in the coal range in the kitchen in November 1930 and burnt out the extension and the roof of the main building. A smaller gabled roof replaced the former hip roof which kept the building watertight
It was then passed onto George Sinnamon in 1955 and to Allan Sinnamon in 1956. . The Sinnamon men were all farmers in Poolburn over the hill from Ophir.
In 1958 Russell Craig bought it. He was a bus proprietor and we presume it was he who made the changes to the front and side of the building to accommodate his bus!
In 1962 Russell Hayes bought the building and used it as a garage with petrol pumps. He also had a leather tanning business and a canvas making business.
In 1969 Russell Hayes sold it to Sydney George Attfield who then sold it to Donald Brookes entrepreneur of Omakau in 1991. There was a woodworking business and an engineering business in the building sometime during those years.
In 2000 Cheryl and Murray Hall purchased the building then sold to Kevin and Andrea Krsinic in 2002. During these years it was used mainly for storage
In 2006 we purchased it with a dream of bringing the old girl back to life!