History repeating itself - now 9 real estate agencies in Lords Place

Up until the Great Depression in the 1930’s Lords Place flooded regularly until council carried out work to widen nearby canals.

By Peter McCormack

19-09-2016 |
In a case of history repeating itself in Lords Place, the number of real estate agents locating in the block between Summer Street and Kite Street continues to grow, with six agencies to be part of the block by the end of the year.

Recently McCormack Barber relocated from north Orange to premises directly opposite the former Australia Cinema which was originally built as the Australia Hall, by the town’s Irish forebears to show loyalty to their new country.

From the late 1800’s the street has a history as the base for stock and real estate agents, blacksmiths, banks and law firms and was very much the hub of the business and rural community.
The many laneways still located in the area have their own story to tell as they were used to transport stock including horses, from the rear of the agencies into the street on sale days, which were traditionally held on Thursday’s, according to local historian Ross Maroney.

Individual agents had their own holding pens at the rear of their businesses, before the first saleyards was established on the land now occupied in Kite Street by the building which is now the offices of eye surgeons.

On stock sale days Lords Place was closed off so prospective horse buyers could take their intended purchase for a ‘test ride’ as they galloped up and down the street as stock were led down the laneways from behind the agent’s premises.

In the early days of the township blacksmiths were located on the eastern and western side of Lords Place and on the site now occupied by McCormack Barber.
Fascinatingly, the town’s racetrack from the late 1800’s started at the laneway which is currently providing access to Post Office Lane.

Horses would gallop around the block and weave along streets in east Orange (prior to the establishment of the railway line), and return to a cheering crowd in at the finishing line in Lords Place. In another return to yesteryear, the offices of the Central Western Daily, now badged as Fairfax Media and incorporating the recently transferred Land Newspaper, has located to new premises next to McCormack Barber on land that was formerly a butcher’s shop in the early days of the township.

Next door to that site was one of Orange’s two newspapers.
The notorious Forrester’s Hall separated the two newspapers of the time, The Western Advocate and The Leader, who later combined, and moved across the road to the western side of Lords Place.

Flooding in Lords Place was problematic for decades with businesses and even the dining room of the Clubhouse Hotel which was formerly on the site of the Hotel Canobolas) was regularly under water during heavy rain.

“After every flood, businesses would advertise ‘flood sales’ – it was a regular occurrence until the infrastructure was put in place during the depression to reduce flooding,” Mr Maroney said.

The streetscape of Lords Place continues to change as it always has, however in years gone by the town and city did not boast the number of eateries and coffee shops as it does today which is reflective of Orange’s growing coffee shop culture.

Photos: Courtesy historian Ross Maroney.