THE residents of Purnim suspected their town was due for an anniversary, but a little bit of research uncovered a bizarre fact – Purnim has never been officially gazetted as a town.
Resident Geoff Rollinson said locals made the discovery while trying to ascertain if Purnim was due to celebrate its sesquicentenary.
“I spoke to the Office of Geographic Names and they confirmed Purnim has been gazetted as a locality and a parish, but never gazetted as a town,” Mr Rollinson said.
“There would be other townships that haven’t been gazetted but it’s unusual.”
Research by resident Ron Best found the first mention of a place called Purnim was in reference to Bryan O’Lynn station at Purnim in 1842.
Land sales took place in the area in 1849, a farmer’s common was gazetted in 1862, and the post office opened in 1868, but Purnim continued to travel under the radar – in fact in 1870, a local reverend described Purnim as a ‘straggling township of little value’.
Despite this view, township blocks were laid out in 1871 and the population grew, but Purnim remained ungazetted as a town.
This is something Mr Rollinson said he hoped to rectify through a ceremony to coincide with Purnim’s “150-ish” celebrations, which could happen next year. Talks with Moyne Shire about gazetting the town are already underway.
“We want to stir up some civic pride,” Mr Rollinson said.
“We’re keen to develop that sense of community. Purnim is a great lifestyle opportunity for young families.”
Despite both schools, the pub and the shop having closed in the past 30 years, new houses are being built and blocks are being sold.
“Any satellite town within 20 or 25 kilometres of Warrnambool is experiencing quite a bit of growth.”
Resident Paige Beck, who has lived in Purnim for 20 years, said it was a great place to raise a family.
“My parents live out here and I’ve got a lot of friends around here,” she said.
“It’s quiet (and) it’s a lot cheaper to get a better block of land.”