Top Menu

More Memories of Deliveries by Horse and Cart.

Following the recent Boomer article in the Advertiser about bread deliveries by 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.

Bread delivery by horse and cart. We are the last generation to witness horse and cart deliveries

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.

The rabbito and the bottle-o all came in a horse and cart. Our photo here shows Kerosene deliveries

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”.

, , ,

9 Responses to More Memories of Deliveries by Horse and Cart.

  1. Norm orr October 29, 2014 at 7:33 pm #

    I remember doing both bread and bottle oh when I was a kid of about 10 I used to get a finger bun and two schillings a day in the bread cart. While doing bottle collection I got 5schillings all of which I spent on Xmas presents. The Good Old Days.

  2. Chris Dodsworth October 30, 2014 at 8:30 pm #

    As well as all those mentioned above I think we had a greengrocer bring the veggies, a man with delicious fish, and of course the ice-man. He always ran in and out as the big block of ice melted and dripped water down the path and over the back verandah and into the top of the ice-chest. I saw one of these in Tmbertown museum in NSW recently. They were the days!!

  3. greg snider November 2, 2014 at 7:30 am #

    my auncle delivered milk from horse and cart that stop years ago to theberton dairey my grand father started it then uncle and son who was the last he is now in his seventys and thats all gone

  4. paul s July 21, 2015 at 11:14 pm #

    I was to young for horse and cart days but i remember my dad used to deliver bread in salisbury north in a holden panel van when he was running down the road to the houses dropping off the loaves my brother and me would drive the panal van down the road we were only 10 and 12 but nobody new so we got away with it ,imagine doing that today ….
    Dad used to let us do this and we all laughed about it .

  5. Joy August 19, 2016 at 2:23 pm #

    I remember we had milk delivered by horse and cart. I lived in Mansfield Park and the milky was Mr Waller and the horse Dan (I’m sure). My dad drove it when he was on holiday from work so Mr Waller could have a holiday. Dad had to be fast running the milk from house to house, because when Dans route time was finished he walked off home regardless of where you were up to!

  6. Terry L September 23, 2016 at 4:31 pm #

    Well, I may have written about this before but my parents ran a general store/tuck shop on the Port Road (High Street) Queenstown from 1947-56. We had the bread delivered from Oldfields by horse and van in that time and many was the time Mum would run out, dustpan in hand, to gather the droppings from the horse for her precious 2 or 3 roses. Who remembers the rabbitoh on horse and cart, rabbits hanging from the outside of the cart and the call which sent me running outside with 2/- for a fresh rabbit – Sunday lunch! Despite the apparent lack of hygiene, we survived. And yes, we had an icebox too; as a little kid I was fascinated by those huge icetongs! The icebox caused another memory to pop up because it was in the kitchen where I had a tooth extracted on the kitchen table by the local GP. The gauze mask, the dripping of ether, the sweet smell, oblivion, toothache gone!

  7. Colin Foster December 27, 2016 at 2:05 pm #

    I was employed by a firm of carriers H Graves and Co of Gouger St and Pt Adelaide in 1948. My job was to pickup parcels from Kodak in Rundle st John Martins and Miller Andersens in Hindley St and lots of other stores and take them down to Mile End to go to all the country area’s by Goods Train. I use to drive a single horse trolley and remember well the uniformed Adelaide City Coundil employees in Rundle St with their very large dustpans on small wheels picking up the horse droppings in the busy city streets, in those days there were many horse and trollies doing this sort of work.
    I progressed to a 2 horse team later and had the misfortune to have them leave me behind at a store in Bryce St behind the Fire Brigade Headquarters and they collided with numerous stationary vehicles in Angas St and Gouger St on their way back to the stables. Fortunately no one was hurt
    I was 16 years old at the time and also took part in Johnny’s Pagent as they used to use all the horses from H Graves and Co for their floats. A piece of my working life I look back on with pleaure.

  8. Shirley Beaumont February 26, 2018 at 5:25 pm #

    I love reading these old iconic memories. A shame I didn’t find an imagine of the Bottle O Man with his horse and Cart going around the streets of Melbourne.. My sister and I with our Mum walked through the Carlton and Fitzroy Gardens after dark collecting the empty Beer and wine o bottles.
    and stacked them in the dunny shed for the Bottle O man to come and collect them. It gave our Mum a few extra shillings to help feed us kids. If anyone has a picture of one could they please please let me know. I would dearly love a copy for my memories book.

    • Cheryl August 24, 2019 at 9:03 pm #

      My Dad was a bottle o man in the 50-60s we used the go on the horse and cart every school holidays.
      Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of my Dad on the cart but I believe channel two did a documentary on it many years ago.

Leave a Reply