Dardanup Shops

By Jenny Trigwell
Updated 17 March 2022

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Dardanup Store

Mr George Harris, son of Thomas and Bridget Harris, opened a produce store in a weatherboard building next to the post office in Dardanup in 1897.

George was fatally injured at Dardanup Park on the 2 November 1899, when an iron winch handle hit his head.  He was working as a driller on the installation of a bore for the Government on the Hon H W Venn’s property. George’s wife Catherine was left with a small son Gregory George, to support. 

In 1903, to provide for herself and her son, Catherine (Kate) started a small shop in the front room of her house which was situated, along with Morrissey’s Butcher’s Shop, between the current General Store and Dardanup Hotel.

Kate married William Henry (Harry) Prout, of Wellington Mills, in 1908.  They married in the Catholic Church and celebrated with cake and wine afterwards.  Harry was employed at Millars Timber Trading Company.

Together Kate and Harry produced sons, William (Bill), Ernest (Ernie), Ronald (Ron) and Arnold (Dick).   Sadly, Ernie was accidentally run over by a dray at the railway station yard on 6 September 1915, when he was five years old.  He sustained a fatal fracture of the skull.

Original Dardanup Store run by Catherine (Kate) Prout

Kate was busy with a young family and around 1911 her business was taken over by her nephew Joseph Gregory Slattery.  He purchased her stock for about £50 and ran the business from the premises she owned. 

By March 1916 Joseph Slattery was in the Bankruptcy Court with debts of £150.

George Fee recorded in his diary on August 29 1915: “Harry Prout is ill”.  Once again tragedy stuck, when Harry Prout died on the 9 April 1916 at the sanatorium in Wooroloo.

The Southern Times, 9 May 1916 reported that “Mrs C Prout has taken over the business lately carried on by Mr J G Slattery as a general storekeeper at Dardanup”. 

Joseph Slattery enlisted on the 4 October 1916, and went to the war with another local, Lewis Poad.

Catherine’s son Gregory George Harris eventually took over the business and built the current Dardanup General Store in 1934. Renovations and additions have been made since.  The business grew to include groceries, hardware and tobacco, along with a wide range of household requisites.  He also had a large list of agencies including Victoria Insurance, International Harvesters, Southern Cross Windmills and Engine Co, and Yates Seeds.

Harris’ store in Dardanup, c. 1950.
Dardanup’s original store on Charlotte St, before demolition. It had reverted to being a home.

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The Produce Store

In March 1954, the weatherboard Produce Store situated between the Post Office and the General Store, caught fire, burning to the ground in around 6 minutes.  Local children watched in awe from their convent classroom.  Young Terry Brett was fascinated by the exploding cans of baked beans.  The only casualty was an employee Mr Kevin Richards, who received some superficial burns to the face and neck.  The estimated value of the loss was £2,000, which was partly covered by insurance. Prompt action by volunteer firefighters stopped the fire from spreading to the Post Office building next door, and damage was limited to some cracked windows. Mr Harris did manage to retrieve his car. 

I just made it,” Mr. Harris said later. “When I backed the car out the metalwork was sizzling hot.”

West Australian, Wednesday 17 March 1954
The charred remains of the Produce Store at Dardanup after it burnt down in 1954. Dardanup Store is at the right.

A larger iron shed was built to replace the lost produce shed. It still had the name “Geo Harris” on it until it was replaced by the Dardanup Rural Supplies building, built by the property owners Les and Suzie Bekker.

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Butcher’s Shop – Charlotte St

No 6 Charlotte Street was the location of a butchers shop, situated between the Dardanup Hotel and Catherine Prout’s House/shop.

The shop was built in 1908 for Morrissey Bros, a well-known butchering business owned by the three Morrissey brothers – George Henry, John Patrick, and Richard.

Initially the brothers had a slaughterhouse at Picton and owned the Morrissey Bros Butchers Shop in the Walldrodt Buildings, Wellington Street, Bunbury. In 1908, Mr W Walldrot, an expert is small goods production, commenced work with Morrissey Bros.  Early in 1909 the Bunbury butcher’s shop was sold to Messrs Chas Brockman and W Walldrodt.

The Morrissey brothers went looking for land and in 1909 they settled on a Dowdells Line property, to expand operations, processing cattle, sheep and pigs.  The slaughterhouse was situated in what is now (2022) Damiani’s paddock on the left side of Dowdells Line at the corner of Ferguson Road. 

They couldn’t buy enough cattle locally, so would buy a train load from the northwest each month. Driving the wild northwest station cattle from the railway yards to a spelling paddock on Recreation Road and the Dowdell’s Line slaughterhouse, was quite a feat. Children were kept inside away from the danger.

Brian Wells remembers the cattle being driven down the road to the Dowdells Line slaughterhouse. The Wells family lived for a time in a little old cottage on the corner of Waterloo and Ferguson Roads, also the property of Morrisseys. This is now part of Brett’s farm (2022).  Brian recalls that when they lived there, things were very primitive.  They used to have to hitch their old cow to a trailer and go and gather water from the nearby Ferguson River, in buckets and tanks for household use.

When the Government realised that abattoirs should be regulated for health reasons, George applied for a licence –

SLAUGHTER-HOUSE LICENSE.

I, G H. MORRISSEY, hereby give notice that it is my intention to

APPLY to the Central Board Health for a Slaughter-house License

for my premises situated at Dardanup, in pursuance of the provisions

of “The Health Act, 1898” and live Acts amending same.

G. H. MORRISSEY.

Dardanup, 5th December 1910

 Southern Times , Tue 6 Dec 1910

The brothers carted the meat to Bunbury in a horse and cart each day. They supplied their butchers’ shops in Dardanup and Stephen Street, Bunbury.

A shop was opened in Greenbushes in 1906.  Richard Morrissey ran the Greenbushes butchers shop, using a local slaughterhouse.  The partnership with his brothers was dissolved in 1908 and Richard continued to run the shop until his death in 1926.                  

In 1910, John Patrick and George Henry dissolved the remaining partnership, with John taking the Bunbury shop and George the Dardanup shop.  In 1922 John was also running a butchers shop at Picton.  On 16 October 1950 John’s Stephen Street Butchers Shop was purchased by Dardanup Butchering Co.

George Henry Morrissey extended the Dardanup butchers shop.  He continued to run the business for over 20 years, before leasing his shop and lands to Messrs Hough and Taylor in 1930.

George was involved in the formation of the Dardanup Hunt Club, and was also a strong supporter of horse racing, taking an active role in the Dardanup Race Club.  He raced quite a few horses over the years. He died on 29 June 1945.

, c. 1950 – Charlotte St view showing Harris’ Store, the original store next door, then the Butcher’s shop and the Dardanup Hotel

By 1940 Mr J L (Lee) Gardiner had acquired the shop from Hough & Taylor. He had a slaughterhouse just behind his house “The Willows,” near Crooked Brook.

Brian and Gwen Wells remember vividly, Lee Gardiner in the shop with the big log chopping block.  Ice was delivered from Perth ice works each week and Brian recalls Lee wheeling the hessian bags across to the shop from the train.

Lee didn’t drive much, and his daughter Pauline did the rounds to the farmers households delivering meat.  Gwen said “Lee used to give us a sausage to eat!”

The butchers shop was subsequently closed down and a series of families, including a Shaw Family, lived in the residential part of the building. 

The butcher’s shop became a Saveway grocery store and in 1952 it was operated by Ron C Blythe and his wife Enid.  The store was eventually demolished to make way for the hotel extensions.

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Butcher’s Shop – Picton-Boyanup Road

The Venn’s business was known as “Wellington Butchers.”  Livestock were processed in a slaughterhouse situated roughly in the middle of the Dardanup Park farm – a small building of wood and corrugated iron.  The meat was hung, cut up and sold from a wooden, fly-wired building behind Frank Venn Jnr’s fibro and weatherboard house.  A slaughterman/shopman was employed, and at one time a 14-year-old girl, whose job was to wash all the maggots off the carcasses before they were cut up.  Much of the meat was delivered, as was the custom in those days.

The existing butchers shop was subsequently built, directly adjacent to the Picton-Boyanup Road, on what was originally part of the farm.

In the 1950’s Frank Venn Jnr, and his partner/brother-in-law Jack Money, sold the business and the building to the Kessell family.

The Kessells sold it to Des Gardiner in 1974.  Des had built a modern abattoir on his farmland, The Willows, at Crooked Brook, and ran a substantial meat wholesaling business.  He traded as JL Gardiner & Son.

In 1986 the building and business was again sold, to John Drinkwater, who owned the Rose Hotel and a farm along Waterloo Road at the time.

Ted Pelusey served his apprenticeship at the butcher’s shop and remained there for 52 years. After which he continued to work part time in semi-retirement.

The building was subsequently sold to T & T Shambrook, who ran the butchering business for a while until it proved uneconomic.

The building was sold again and has been converted for use as a catering business. (Current 2022)

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Dardanup Butchering Company

Another butchering business intimately connected to Dardanup’s heritage is Dardanup Butchering Company.

Half-brothers Frank Panizza and Andrew Garbelini commenced their butchering business together in 1938. There were some nearby families with very large numbers of children, and they first started sharing meat between them as it did not stay fresh for long without refrigeration.   Initially, slaughtering of the animals took place under a big gum tree.  Demand grew and a rudimentary slaughterhouse was built on their farm along Panizza Road south of Dardanup.

Andrew and Frank began pushing a cutting cart laden with the fresh meat products door-to-door, and through the Ferguson Valley with a horse.  They travelled down Richards Road at Ferguson, to the last house and then took a short cut to Wellington.  This short cut became locally known as Butchers Road, not to be confused with the Butcher Road off Ironstone Road.

Later they acquired a utility for their deliveries, using a large cool box with thick walls to keep the meat cool.

The brothers also grew pumpkins and potatoes for the Army, which they delivered to Perth in a small truck. Part of the arrangement was that the Army supplied tyres and fuel for the delivery truck.  Of course, some of the Army-supplied tyres ended up on the meat delivery vehicle!

The deliveries ceased when they took over John Morrissey’s butcher shop near the Prince of Wales Hotel in Stephen St, Bunbury and an abattoir was built at Picton in 1950.

Today the business is still in the family, with a modern abattoir at Picton and a very well-known marketing brand.  Further shops were opened over the years, although many have now closed, and the focus is more toward wholesaling and selling direct from the shop on site at Picton.

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The Saveway Store

In 1951 the Saveway store opened in what had once been the Butcher’s Shop in Charlotte St. It was operated by Ron C Blythe and his wife Esma. They lived in the house attached to the back of the shop.

Ron hailed from Balingup where he was a very active member of the Junior Farmers organisation. He was President of the Balingup Junior Farmers Club, and in 1948 he was elected to the position of State President.  He worked for Wesfarmers, and in 1948 secured a transfer to Perth.  He met Claremont girl Esma Gregory and they married in 1950.  The desire to move back to the south-west was strong.

Both Ron and Esma became popular members of the Dardanup community. Esma joined the CWA and both were talented and enthusiastic members of the Dardanup Repertory Club.  Ron still held much enthusiasm for the Junior Farmers and was an adult advisor for many years. Ron and Esma welcomed two little adopted children during their time at Dardanup.

Sadly, Ron suffered significant injury while watching a speedway event. A tyre came off a vehicle and flew into the crowd, hitting Ron in the head.

The Blythes still held a firearm dealers licence for their Dardanup business in 1960.

Unfortunately, the profitability of the business declined in the sixties, and the family moved to the Perth region. Ron died in 1969 and Esma in 2019.

Both the General Store and the Saveway Store passed into the ownership of Laurence Barber. Unfortunately, the debts mounted up, and the old Saveway Store/ Butcher’s Shop property was sold to the owners of the Dardanup Hotel. The building was demolished, and the Hotel garden and restaurant extension was built on the site.

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Dardanup Bakery

The first bakery in Dardanup was situated near the corner of Doolan Street and Little Street on the right side, heading east. According to Mr Bill Prout, it was built by Mr Chuck Roberts about 1930.

Early in1936 Mr and Mrs A G Rickson and family moved from Wickepin to Dardanup, taking over the Dardanup bakery business and leasing the premises.   Mr Rickson’s renowned bakery products were cheerfully delivered to all parts of the district.  “The Man Who Bakes The Better Bread.”

The Ricksons were active members of the community, with Mrs Rickson joining the CWA and their daughter Jennie becoming an committed member of the Dardanup Younger Set. Despite the arduous bakers hours, Mr Rickson was active in the Dardanup branches of the Red Cross and the wartime Australian Comforts Fund.  Their daughter Jennie Rickson married Arnold Cleve Gibbs (son of Mr M E Gibbs) in St Marys Church on the 20th January 1940.

By January 1946 Koorda’s gain was Dardanup’s loss as Mr Rickson sold his Dardanup Bakery to Mr Harry E Leviston.  Harry had run a bakery business in Mount Magnet until 1941, when he sold up and joined the Army Service Corp as a baker.

Harry and his wife Nell soon merged into the Dardanup Community, with son Henry and daughter Audrey attending the Convent School.  Gwen Wells has fond memories of Mrs Leviston making ‘American Spiders’ for Henry, Audrey and their friends after school.  The drink was of course flavoured American soda (CocaCola, Fanta etc) and icecream, – then a big novelty in the rural Dardanup hamlet, but which has persisted globally over the years with various levels of popularity. Harry was a keen supporter of cycle racing and harness racing.  He had some success, owning and training his own trotting horses, and driving them in the races.  

Mr Leviston then purchased the Boyanup Bakery in 1949 and sold his Dardanup business to Mr E L Kernutt.

Two years later Mr Kernutt sold the Dardanup Bakery to Mr & Mrs Jack R Scrivener. (There were several Scriveners operating bakeries in Perth during the previous decades.)

 Mr and Mrs Frank Bunt were moving to Bunbury from a house in Charlotte St, and the Scriveners purchased the property, setting up a new bakery in a building near the house.  The bread was sold from a room that was part of the house.  The Scriveners had made many friends and they threw a BBQ to celebrate the opening of the new bakery on Saturday night 28th June 1952.

In June 1954 Mr A Ligman a baker in Rockingham, was advertising for a country bakery to purchase. By November 1954, Jack Scrivener had sold his business to the Ligman family, who relocated from their home in Seventh Road, Armadale.

 BBQs were becoming popular in Dardanup and a community BBQ evening was organised to farewell the Scriveners and welcome Mr Alfred and Mrs Mary Ligman and their sons, twins Jim and Ronny, and Paddy. Over 80 people attended from throughout the district, and the Scriveners were presented with a gift of a blue picnic case.

The Ligman family ran the bakery business for several years before moving on.

The business then passed to Mr Ennio (Eddy) and Mrs Licia Crisman. Eddy and Licia had emigrated from Italy and were naturalized on the 14th October 1959. They lived in the old weatherboard house at 13 Charlotte Street and baked the bread in the bakery building set up by Jack Scrivener.

In 1976 the Crismans built a new brick house with a small bakery shop at the front of the house, with a door through to the kitchen. The bakehouse continued operation with Eddy Crisman baking the bread in the very old wood fired scotch oven that was forged in East Perth.  It is likely that this oven was moved from the original bakery in Doolan Street.

On the sudden death of Mr Crisman on 10th August 1992 at the age of 60, the bakery business ceased. Mrs Crisman continued to live in the house. She remarried and spent half her time in Italy and half in Dardanup.  She died at Bethanie Fields nursing home in Eaton on 26th June 2012.

The days of freshly baked Dardanup bread came to an abrupt end in 1992.  Bread baked in Bunbury and later, Brunswick was, and still is, available at the Dardanup General Store.

After the death of Licia Crisman, the house and old bakery building were sold in 2013 to John and Laine Obermeier.  They set about creating a new bakery business.   As the business became established, they renovated the old bakery building and now tempt locals and travellers with a range of quality bread and bakery items.

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Dardanup Garage

CH (Bert) Prince and Wheatley Foster built an up-to-date garage on the corner of Doolan and Charlotte Street and commenced business in 1939.  The garage had a lubritorium equipped with the latest type of hydraulic hoist and pneumatic high-pressure grease guns.  They also announced plans to add a blacksmiths shop to their building.  Four fuel pumps were installed.

1949 – A view of Charlotte St showing the Garage at the right, The South Western Times Illustrated Annual

Early in 1941 the partnership was dissolved, with Mr Foster continuing the business.  He also took on agencies for Malloch’s and HMV radios.

The garage business was conducted by Mr Harry Wallace in the 1970s.

The garage survives today, but sadly is currently (2022) just used for a self-serve fuel outlet.

Newpapers:

  • Death Notice – Prout, West Australian, Friday 6 October 1916, page 1
  • Spectacular Fire Guts Store at Dardanup, West Australian, Wednesday 17 March 1954, page 8
  • News and Notes, Southern Times (Bunbury, WA : 1888 – 1916), Tuesday 9 May 1916, page 2
  • The 1949 South Western Times Illustrated Annual
  • Notice – Slaughter-House License – Southern Times (Bunbury, WA : 1888 – 1916),  Tue 6 Dec 1910, Page 2

Image sources:

  • Images of ovens: Jenny Trigwell
  • Image of DBC cart: Janice Calcei
  • Image of Dardanup Garage from The 1949 South Western Times Illustrated Annual
  • Other photos from Gwen Wells