This was a decade of significant change for both Heathcote and Australia as a whole.
A crumbling economy meant the need to save money on municipal works, while at the same time the remit and expenses of the council increased considerably.
Meetings became marathons as councillors debated a range of issues, including nude bathing.
Attracting the tourist dollar
As the Australian economy slowed in the early 1970s, Heathcote began to look outward to improve local cash flows.
This push to join a regional tourism council was centred around activity on Lake Eppalock.
The modern Heathcote wine industry had not yet emerged as a player on the scene.
Published 9 February 1971
Tourism – will it save Heathcote? (edited extract)
According to some of the sceptics Heathcote is on the verge of becoming another “ghost town” from the old mining days – this is a possibility as many old gold mining towns similar to Heathcote are gradually disappearing and being taken over by bigger centres.
If you travel through the long street of Heathcote there is not a great deal of progress taking place. No one can be blamed for this, because we are not doing a great deal to help ourselves. It is not entirely up to the Council to make a change overnight, but something must be done by one and all to “sell” the old town.
The only way this can be done is by more publicity and the biggest hope we have got is TOURISM.
The Derrinal Recreation Area Management Committee is doing its best to promote tourism, and is planning to improve the Moorabbee area and other access spots to Lake Eppalock for the benefit of the tourist trade.
The McIvor Council received notification from the Loddon Regional Committee that two meetings have been held to discuss the suggested tourism council, but up to date not a great deal has been achieved.
“It is desired that every municipality have a representative on the committee.”
Cr Kevin McCarthy, who is taking a great deal of interest in tourism, said that the shire should be represented.
“If we are not represented Heathcote could easily be passed over. Bendigo is after everything they can get in the way of publicity for Eppalock and will take a large ‘bite of the cherry’ if money is made available by the minister of tourism, Heathcote is a lot closer to Eppalock and should receive the publicity as the town nearest this popular waterway,” he said.
This proposal underpins the current appearance of the High Street.
In more recent years the addition of bollards and a bicycle lane have slowed traffic flows further.
The median strips are also largely asphalted with intermittent tree plantings.
Published 12 January 1971
Medians Will Allow for a Better Flow of Traffic Through Heathcote (edited extract)
The shire engineer (Mr Tom Rowe), presented a plan to the December meeting of the McIvor Shire Council of the proposed median which he claims will make the main street of Heathcote much more attractive.
Mr Rowe recommended that the highway be divided with a median 20 feet wide sown in lawn with shrubs and or trees between Mitchell Street and Last Street. The two carriage ways so provided would allow for two lanes of through traffic in each Direction, with angle parking provided on the building line side of each carriageway.
Mr Rowe said that the council should approach the CRB with regard to the improvement of the highway in the township. This will allow for a better traffic flow and parking in the town will become much safer and more orderly, and also the main street of town would become much more attractive.
The activities of the McIvor Shire Council continued to feature prominently in the pages of the McIvor Times.
The following edited extracts were all front-page news with the item about new chairs suggesting that personal discomfort might have played a significant part in fraying civic tempers.
Published 16 March 1971
McIvor Council Holds Grudge Session (edited extract)
Economy measures on the way
The economy of the shire came up often during last Thursday’s monthly meeting of McIvor Council and during debate many suggestions were put forward to cut down on costs to prevent going into debt.
The meeting also developed into one of many grudges by individual counsellors who must have been affected by the humid weather. A long list of complaints reached alarming proportions as nothing seemed to be right with the workings of the shire.
Published 14 June 1978
Not a Good Performance by Our “Civic Fathers” (edited extract)
Last Thursday’s meeting of the Shire of McIvor could not be described as a good performance by the 12 men who control our destiny!
It left a lot to be desired! It certainly took up a lot of time – 9am to 8pm.
During the course of the meeting councillors spent a great deal of time discussing trivial matters, arguing and wrangling, good heartedly at times, sometimes in serious debate.
It would appear on the surface that we have a very divided council – men heading in 12 different directions. It is a sad state of affairs for the shire when 12 intelligent men carry on as they did last Thursday!
Deepest sympathy goes to the shire president (Cr Jack Ross) who valiantly attempted to bring some law and order, and rules of debate, to the meeting and also some sane thinking
At the end of the sitting he became so frustrated that he let councillors have their heads, unfortunately they took advantage of this and rambled on at will!
Hope the July meeting is better!
All in all, it wasn’t the best performance of our “Civic Fathers”!
Some remarks heard:
“If I ran my farm the way council is being run I would go broke.” This caused a ripple around the table.
“It is only a type of club (referring to council) which we all belong to and enjoy meeting each other once a month.” This comment also raised the hackles of some councillors!
Published 28th February 1979
New Chairs in Council Chamber to Cost $3710 (edited extract)
The comfort of the McIvor Shire Council chamber chairs has come under discussion on numerous occasions over the years by our “Civic Fathers.”
Most councillors have expressed an opinion at some time that after sitting in one place for about eight hours discussing the welfare of the ratepayers they become “numb in the bum,” due to the uncomfortable chairs they sit in. Councillors claim that they are entitled to a little more comfort – at the same rate of pay!
Cr J Ross said it was absolutely uneconomical that council should ever suggest wasting $3710 on replacing the chairs which have serviced the council for many many years.
“If any councillor objects to sitting in these chairs then he should pull out at the next council election,” he said.
” I personally think it is an insult to the ratepayers to spend so much money on such an insignificant thing,” Cr Ross said.
Cr N Newton said the present chairs have been in use since the building was burnt down and that was a long time ago.
“The springs have had it,” he said, warming up to the debate. “Many councillors have complained about the comfort of the chairs.”
The recommendation of the Properties Committee to purchase the chairs was carried.
In the late 70s the Victorian Government received a number of requests from organisations and individuals for areas to be set aside specifically for nude bathing. The government decided it could not take any action on these requests until it obtained the views of all municipal councils across the state.
Published Wednesday 4 April 1979
Nude Bathing not Favoured in the Shire of McIvor (edited extract)
One of the most controversial issues put to local government is – nude bathing. The issue has been debated at great length by many councils in the State with mixed reception.
McIvor Shire Councillors were very subdued in their discussion on nude bathing.
The Shire of McIvor, along with other municipalities, received correspondence regarding nude bathing from the Minister of Youth, Sport and Recreation (Mr Brian Dixon).
The following motion was moved: “That council does not pay the nude bathing in public areas.”
Cr. B Pangrazio said ” I am of the opinion that local residents do not wish to have ‘this sort of thing’ taking place in and around Heathcote.”
Cr J Harris said that no areas should be set aside for nude bathing.
Cr J Anderson said he agreed with Cr Harris. ” I don’t think this council should set aside areas for nude bathing. Some people maintain that nude bathing is inoffensive. If people wish to bathe nude, they should do so on private property, but not on public property,” he said.