Munro and Gillies Timber Merchants

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The Munro Bros Timber Merchants Northcote was established in 1892 before quickly receiving its first of many name changes over its lifespan to become Munro Timber Merchants in 1897.

Known as Munro & Gillies Timber Merchants Northcote during the brief period of 1911- 1914, it was during this time that the timber merchants location changed from Beaconsfield parade, Northcote to its permanent location on High Street, which by the 1930’s would become 530 High Street. Mr. Gillies name was eventually removed from the title of the company in 1914 which would from then on conduct operations under the name Munro & Sons until its eventual cessation of business in the late 1950’s.

The timber utilized during the merchants operations was obtained from the Kinglake saw mills, trucked via tramlines to Whittlesea train station and then transported via logging truck to the Timber Merchants in Northcote. The owners of the saw mill went into liquidation in October 1912. Due to a depletion of resources in the Kinglake area, production of timber mills were severely decreased in the early 1920’s.

Thomas Munro was prominent in the community, featuring numerous times in newspapers across his tenure at timber merchants, varying from positive news such as his donations to the Red Cross in 1916 and well-versed letters to the editor including one advising on health care remedies in 1904. However, he is also notable for his infractions involving negligent driving, including a vehicular manslaughter charge against a Tram driver’s death in 1930.

In 1929 Munro entered a consortium with timber firms across Melbourne, known as Timber Buyers Pty. Ltd. The aim of the company was to stabilise the timber trade, and was proclaimed to provide an opportunity for all timber merchants to acquire shares in the company.

Thomas Munro retired in 1934, retaining a directorship in Munro & Sons Timber Merchants until his death in 1943.

Munro & Sons Timber Merchants Northcote ceased operations at 530 High Street between 1955 and 1960. The structures which once stood on the land no longer exist and today, due to district border alterations 530 High Street is now located in Thornbury.

In recent years the site has been home to the Welcome to Thornbury eatery.

A simple remedy (1904, 5 October). The Age (Melbourne, Vic.: 1854-1954), p.11 Between tram and car (1930, 21 June). Argus (Melbourne, Vic.: 1848-1957), p.25 New Registrations (1934, 22 February). Argus (Melbourne, Vic.: 1848-1957), p6 Notice of death (1944, 11 February). Argus (Melbourne, Vic.: 1848-1957), p.11 Sands and McDougall’s Melbourne and Suburban Directory 1864- 1974. [Microfiche]. (1974). Melbourne, Australia: Sands & McDougall. The Northcote Red Cross workers (1916, 4 November). Northcote Leader (Vic.: 1914-1918), p.2 Timber men unite (1929, 27 June). Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic.: 1869-1954), p.7