Our History: Tuena Store serving the town for 130 years

Gilbert Tom Galpin Parsons bought land from Mary Emma Simmons in 1886 and built the first shop between the Bank of NSW and the Post Office Hotel in Tuena.

The hotel was replaced by the present shop, opened up in 1954.

Gilbert had a shop in Trunkey Creek before moving to Tuena. Gilbert married Susanna Howard in 1864 at Forbes. They had nine children. Their third child, Arthur Gilbert Howard Parsons, was the next generation to take over the shop. Old Arthur died in 1954 when the new shop opened.

The old shop was constructed of timber and corrugated iron with living quarters at the rear. A cousin, James Parsons, ran a butcher shop in the front right hand corner, followed by Roland Burge from 1890 until 1920. Trolleys on tracks were used to convey goods from the store at the rear of the building up through a trapdoor into the shop.

Arthur Gilbert Howard Parsons took over the post office and telephone exchange in 1913-14 from Jack Rye, who ran it in a building near Diane Laing’s home further up the street from Parsons Store.

MEMORIES: Jenelle Parsons, one of the owners of the Tuena Store, in front of the old telephone exchange. Her husband's family has owned the store since 1886.

MEMORIES: Jenelle Parsons, one of the owners of the Tuena Store, in front of the old telephone exchange. Her husband's family has owned the store since 1886.

 In 1927 a petrol pump was installed selling Plume Motor Spirit. The old shop became run down so the new one was built next door on the site of the Post Office Hotel. It was completed the year old Arthur died in 1954.

The beautiful old cedar shelves and counters along with enamel signs were moved over to the new shop. Old Arthur’s son, Arthur Gilbert, had no doubt taken over the running of the shop before this time.

Charlie Cooper worked in both shops for the Parsons family spanning 36 years. Three sisters also worked for the Parsons at various stages: Gwen Collins in the old shop prior to World War 2, Janet as a telephonist from 1952-1956, followed by Betty until the early 60s.

Arthur Gilbert married Jessie Lang from Sydney, who was friends with the bush nurse, in 1943. They lived at The Wattles until their Tuena house was finished next door to the new shop in 1968.

Arthur and Jessie had five children - Donald,  Bryce, Kaye, Lynda and Stuart. Arthur ran the shop until he passed away in 1993 and the shop was left to Bryce and Linda. Lynda and Jenelle (Bryce’s wife) took over the running of the shop from that day. Jessie passed away in 1997.

The decline of the population has resulted in the closing of the school in 1998, followed by the closing of the hotel in 2012. This left an opportunity to obtain a packaged liquor licence for the shop which is going well and a good social telephone exchange went from manual to automated in 1984 to this made less work in the shop.

The gold rush festival began in 1964 and was held every Easter until the year 2000. The village had an influx of visitors and campers to the festival so business was always quite busy. There are still today quite a number of people camping, as the camping area has two toilet blocks, shower block, BBQ area and several power points.

There has been a resurgence of people gold prospecting in recent years as the price of gold has risen, and prospecting groups spend weekends searching for gold.

Bryce built a shed on the site of the old shop in 1974.

Turn back time: The Tuena General Store is the hub of the Tuena community, and has been for decades. File photo.

Turn back time: The Tuena General Store is the hub of the Tuena community, and has been for decades. File photo.

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