Following the recent Boomer article in the Advertiser about bread deliveries by horse and cart (http://www.adelaiderememberwhen.com.au/when-the-baker-delivered-bread-in-a-horse-and-cart/), many readers wrote in with their own memories of other home deliveries by similar means.
We are possibly the last generation in Adelaide who will have such memories to share. By the time my own children arrived, the era of the horse and cart was well and truly over.
Former Channel 9 news reporter Bob Perry, wrote to us at Boomer with his own recollections of those days. We published the letter in last Monday’s newspaper, but for those who might have missed it, here it is again;
“During school holidays our baker used to let me help him on the bread cart. I would have to catch the bus down to the bakery and hide around the corner so no-one from the bakery could see me jump on the cart.
Then I would run my legs off all day, carrying a heavy wicker basket in and out of houses. I got as many buns as I could eat, a loaf of bread to take home, and a shilling. Talk about child slave labour – but I loved it!
It’s funny the things you remember….I vividly recall the smell of the horse peeing on a hot bitumen road.
I was made redundant when I steered the horse to close to a light post and ripped the mudguard off the cart.
The other horses that came down our street belonged to the rabbit man Mr Parr. He worked from a dray, with all the rabbits under wet wheat bags. He’d scream “RABBIT-OOHHH” and women would run out with their hair in curlers or dusters in their hands, to buy a rabbit or two. He would skin them and de-head them on a little chopping board. He was a firm favourite with the flies in summer.
He would wrap the rabbits in newspaper. I never heard of anyone dying of newspaper poisoning or from botulism from the non-refrigerated rabbits.
Then there was the “BOTTLE-OHHH” who had a cart full of wheat bags stuffed with beer bottles. They’d be collected along with the wine bottles (although there were never many of them), and sauce bottles.
We stacked them under the tank stand where the spiders lived. I think we got a penny a dozen – for the bottles, not the spiders.
But my favourite horse and cart came on Sundays. An Italian man used to sit up in a high little cart and sell the best ice cream you ever tasted. Shouting was beneath him, so he rang a bell. It was the highlight of a Sunday afternoon. How he kept the ice cream from melting with just ice packed around it, is beyond me.
I’m happy that is my finest memory and the last horse story from our street, because in some suburbs they had the “night cart man” who picked up the tubs of poo from the back of toilets and that’s not a story I’d like to tell”.