Typo Station was recently named one of the Rural City of Wangaratta’s Fifty Heritage Icons – read more about our newly acquired Icon status here.
History of Typo Station
In the mid-1920s, Leslie Clarke, a Station owner from outer Melbourne purchased the cattle grazing property, Typo Station. At that time, the main mud-brick dwelling was very basic (and purported to be used by passing bush rangers!) and a long way from the beautiful homestead that Leslie crafted before giving the property to his son, Russell, as a wedding gift in 1928 to him and his new wife, Marjorie.
Before handing it over to the young couple, Leslie added gas lighting, Wilton carpets, stained glass light shades and walnut paneling, and added a maid’s room and laundry to the back of the original buildings. The Clarkes raised a young family on the property, which was run as a mixed farm – crops, sheep and small-scale dairying. Russell Clarke served on the Oxley Shire council at that time and engaged a live-in teacher for his children.
Friday the 13th of January in 1939 saw a significant bushfire besiege the property. The children including a number of cousins visiting for Christmas were packed off to stay in Wangaratta while Marjorie returned to the property with the fire truck. Only the homestead, the garage and the milking shed were saved – many of the animals and the farm equipment were lost. These great losses made the property unviable and so after a few years, the Clarke family left the property.
Typo Station left to a good cause
Since that time, Typo Station has seen many changes in its use and in 1993, the property was bequeathed to the Appin Park Rotary Club with instruction to evaluate donation options. Founder of the Typo Station Youth Program, Matt Pfahlert was successful in persuading the Club to help him develop the property as a haven for young men having difficulties in their home, school or community environments. Matt and the Appin Park Rotary members received enormous support from the King Valley community and with the labour and imagination of all three, developed the Station to what it is today.
Bushfire has threatened the property several times and in 2002 and 2006 buildings were lost. As one of many examples of how Typo has been the focus of the community and a place to bring them together, new buildings were constructed by locals to replace those burnt in the area. This community spirit has been ignited again and again at Typo Station, with up to 1,000 people visiting each year for the annual Bush Fair and locals keenly helping out with property maintenance and program operations – just try and stop those Inner Wheel ladies packing lunches for our hike kids!
Typo Station today
To date, over 500 disadvantaged and at-risk youth have experienced Typo Station as a catalyst for positive change in their lives – somewhere that the space and quiet allows them to reflect, a skill that many young people don’t get a chance to do in this age of constant technology, demands and information. The almost palpable history in the grounds and the buildings helps these teenagers connect with the idea that they are part of something bigger, something with its own, ongoing narrative – Typo Station.