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When the Baker Delivered Bread in a Horse and Cart

I remember before supermarkets and sliced bread in plastic bags, hot, fresh bread was delivered, unsliced of course, by the baker in his horse and cart.

It may be a trick of nature, but it doesn’t seem all that long ago that the baker’s horse, a large, gentle creature that needed no guidance and was loved by all the neighbourhood children, would slowly clip-clop up and down the street, following the baker on his daily round.

I may be remembering the scene through a child’s eyes but life seemed so much more innocent, simpler and slower back then.

Nanette Mazey shared a photo and a memory of growing up in Adelaide while bread delivery was still by horse and cart; "This was take in the early 70's in Alpha Road, Prospect. I can't remember how often they used to come around." Great photo Nanette, thank you!

Nanette Mazey shared a photo and a memory of growing up in Adelaide while bread delivery was still by horse and cart; “This was take in the early 70’s in Alpha Road, Prospect. I can’t remember how often they used to come around.” Great photo Nanette, thank you!

The baker’s cart was always brightly painted, with the name of the bakery painted on the side while the interior was lined with wooden shelving on which sat perhaps hundreds of loaves of crusty bread, all baked fresh that morning. The delivery man’s only tool of trade (aside from his knowledge of the round) was the large wicker basket, into which he would place the hot bread and cover with a clean white linen cloth. Each morning the aroma of fresh bread would fill the street along with the smell of the horse and occasionally the odour of a large steaming heap of horse dung, an extra bonus for dad’s vegie patch.

The horse seemed to know exactly when to stop so the baker could refill his basket as he ran from house to house, delivering a loaf or loaves into a bread tin, left on the front veranda. During school holidays all the kids in the neighbourhood would wait at the end of the street and a lucky one would be chosen to hold the reins of the old horse as he slowly meandered along the road. Sometimes too there would be a fresh yeast bun from the basket for the children waiting patiently for their turn.

Source ARW.  Bread delivery by horse and cart in the late 1940s

Source ARW. Bread delivery by horse and cart in the late 1940s

It’s sad to think that in this day and age the baker would probably be under suspicion for some crime for touching a child as he lifted him/her into the seat behind the horse, plus there would be the possibility of litigation should a child happen to fall or be in any way injured.

From memory the bread man came every day as bread back then had no preservatives and after just a day or so would be stale. That’s when mum would make her bread and butter pudding with raisins, served with hot custard….I can almost taste it now!

As far as I’m aware bread delivery by horse and cart continued on in some Adelaide suburbs until the 1970s. Gradually though the horses were replaced by bread vans which also eventually disappeared from our roads and now most people simply purchase their bread from a supermarket.

Do you remember the baker delivering bread in his horse and cart?



31 Responses to When the Baker Delivered Bread in a Horse and Cart

  1. Bev Eneberg September 17, 2014 at 10:02 am #

    My sister met her future husband when her motorbike broke down and the baker came by with his horse and cart and stopped to help her. The horse wanted to keep walking, it took a bit of persuasion to get the horse to stop.

  2. Jennefer Biggs September 17, 2014 at 11:24 am #

    I lived next to Jacksons Bakery in Hocking st Brompton 10 years of my life rememebers well horse drawn carts and the change over to vans in my photos i have a pic of me next to a horse drawn cart

    • Peter Dalagiorgos November 22, 2015 at 9:04 pm #

      Hi Jennifer

      I lived next door to Jacksons Bakery as well … between 1963 and 1970. I’m wondering when you lived there? My parent’s cottage was No. 35 Coglin Street and it went right through to Hocking Street where we usually hung out and played.

      I went for a walk through that area today and now I’m looking up some photos online.

      thanks, Peter

      • Roger Hall October 24, 2016 at 6:55 am #

        I remember going on the Jacksons Bread round with Alec Duthy who also worked in my Dads pub the Excelsior. That would have been late 50’s I lived 110 Coglin Street from birth until 1968. I now live in UK

      • Jen October 6, 2020 at 11:01 am #

        Hello Peter ,I lived in 10 Hocking St lived there till 1969 when we moved when Jackson bakery was sold to Tip top . Do you remember the corner shop on second Ave owned by the Pavlowichs

  3. Mark September 17, 2014 at 12:47 pm #

    Refer to comments made about horse & cart milk rounds

  4. Vivienne O'Neill September 17, 2014 at 11:57 pm #

    Parkers were still delivering bread from green horse-drawn vans into the 70s in South Plympton when I was in high school. Frank would let the kids pat Roany, his usual horse, but not the chestnut ex-trotter who was the occasional substitute – he didn’t think he was trustworthy enough. When Tip Top took over the bakery and switched to vans Frank didn’t stay much longer I think he really missed slower pace with time to talk to people, and missed the horses too.

  5. neville September 18, 2014 at 12:57 am #

    I remember the bread man, I think it was Lovells bread. I remember one day while the baker was delivering the bread to a house, me & another kid hopped onto the cart, picked up the reins & said to the horse gidyup, the horse looked around at us as if to say…….get lost you kids, I move for no one but my handler, the baker.

  6. Patricia Teunissen September 18, 2014 at 1:22 am #

    I grew up in Norwood & we loved having fresh bread every day there were about 15 to 20 kids in and around our street & Vegemite or Fritz & sauce sandwiches were the Favourites, we also had Fresh Milk by the Billy Full & the Rabbit Man with The Bunnies Hanging over the sides of his cart ready to skin would also be regularly delivered ……… Those were the Days !!!!!! Still love Roast Rabbit.

    • Karen mohi December 25, 2022 at 2:30 pm #

      I grew up during this period and miss it so much

  7. Nanette Mazey September 19, 2014 at 11:17 pm #

    Bob – mum tells me the horse’s name was Sophie

  8. Patrick Simmons October 29, 2014 at 9:41 pm #

    My dad Rex Simmons used to deliver bread for Lovellls Bakery, he used to tell stories when the horse would take of back by it’s self to the stalls for s feed. The horses never got lost, eventually he moved to a Buttercup van. I spent days with him when I was s kid doing his runs.

    Good memories

  9. neville October 30, 2014 at 12:01 pm #

    Thanks Bob Byrne, for helping us to relive days gone by, as you said, it seems like yesterday these events took place. I even remember the bakers name, it was Kevin, if my memory serves me correctly Kevin ended up in management for, (I think Lovells). great memories as a kid growing up.

  10. nick hooper February 13, 2016 at 9:29 pm #

    the horse pulling the nailsworth bakers cart in the photo was called Smokey i bought him and another horse and a ute load of delivery harness from Mr drabsh about 1980 when he stopped using horses ,Smokey was old when i got him but we used him for some years before i retired him , he was a real character, we used him in the paddock pulling a light trolley picking up fire wood and for training young horses to harness and other jobs he loved routine, must have been from his bread deliveries days i wish i still had him

  11. henry March 26, 2017 at 2:51 pm #

    Saw a bread delievery cart on one of my families walks in a poor state, it is a Nanto cart.Does anyone have any info on it. It would be wonderful to restore for the local Adelaide community. Cheers, Henry.

  12. Geoff Nicholson June 18, 2017 at 7:35 pm #

    I remember when i was just a kid in the plympton park area,that the Lovells Bread van drawn by ,yup you guessed it the Horsee.I also remember that one of the neighbours would get one of her kids to follow the cart around for a couple of streets with a dustpan and bucket……to collect the horse shit for her garden,, gotta laugh….warm pipeloaf bread wrapped in tracing paper…Back in the Good Old Days…………

  13. Geoff Nicholson June 18, 2017 at 7:38 pm #

    Confession time….I was the kid who would open your milk bottles on your front verandah while you were asleep and i would LICK the cream off the foil lid…..And then put the lid back on…….OOOHHHhh back in the Good Old Days…….

  14. Karl June 25, 2017 at 10:06 pm #

    Is my memory play tricks on me?
    Maybe… However I seem to recall catching the first bus home from town one morning in the early 1980s , and in one of the side streets leading onto Payneham Road in the St Peter area, there was a horse drawn milk cart and milkie doing their round.
    Can anyone confirm or correct me on this?
    If I am correct, this surely would have been the very last horse drawn delivery service of any kind in the suburbs – apart from the brewery ( Coopers? ) that ran a horse drawn delivery service around the Adelaide CBD.

  15. bang bang lu lu June 18, 2018 at 4:47 pm #

    Yes,we had bread vans,fish mongers and butchers,all with a home delivery allemby gardens,coombe road,just around the corner from Hallett’s bricks mansion on grange road,that’s prince Alfred college Hallett brick company people,say hello Gary and terry,that’s a beautiful cigar Mr hallett,sitting in that bronze gold holden ht premier,in the back paddock,full of three corner jacks..where the hell is that beautiful Hallett mansion,lameys has gone as well in lockleys!

  16. Mark December 4, 2018 at 2:46 pm #

    I lived in Milner St, Prospect until ’73. I was talking with a Customer who remembered horse and cart delivery and I said I did too. I then randomly searched for it and found this page! My memories of the exact year are not specific but I do remember that horse and cart and as Alpha St was only 6 Streets over there is a good chance it is one and the same.

    Appreciate the post!

  17. Gloria Krommenhoek nee Varley December 22, 2018 at 2:07 am #

    I lived in Abbotsford & Northcote in Victoria and remember the Bakers horse & cart, from memory it may have been painted in green & gold with lovely script. Also in those days the milkman. ice cart man, fruit man & night man also used horse & carts of some style.Not sure about the ‘night man’ as I never sighted them.

    We also sometimes opened the cardboard like tops from the milk to get some of the cream from the top. Going to the shop with a billy for milk we also swung it around in a circle- sometimes having to explain how some milk managed to spill out.
    on holidays at Xmas we camped along a river. The farmer who milked the cows over the river would row over early in the morning & fill your billy then hang it from hooks on the big shade tree, You left your money in the empty billy the night before. Never heard of any money being stolen over night.

  18. BOB January 25, 2019 at 3:32 pm #

    I was a milky with a horse and cart in springvale vic and had number of different horses but my last one was absolutely brilliant eventually. Bbutch was bred bymelbourne metro dairies and was at first a bolter .how ever having been brought with and uncle who was a farrier i learnt how to handle situations and butch enabled me to do my round 900 pints in around 2 hours and 20 mins.The money i earned doing 2 jobs allowed me to go into my own business.All the milkys i new had 2 jobs .I look back and it was a great part of my life I was super fit and working with a great horse who did all my bidding was fantastic I have many many stories of things that happened during the early hours while delivering the milk

  19. Andrew September 10, 2019 at 5:45 am #

    I can remember a horse drawn milko in Austral TCE Morphettville into the 70,s

  20. Caron Harrison December 19, 2019 at 10:26 am #

    I remember the horse and cart baker coming to our place at Donald Avenue West Croydon, I loved seeing the finger buns and the big wicker basket filled with different breads. I wish it was still happening today, such a shame.

  21. Judy Hill October 21, 2020 at 4:48 am #

    I lived in Beulah Park from 1953 to 1963 when we moved to firle. When I ever stayed home from school the bread man from tip top was a high light as I got a fresh crunchy horse shoe roll then got to put lots of butter and vegemite on it ,so good. I loved to pat his horse i was horse crazy and still am.. We had the milky, horse drawn ,and the rabbito in his little panel van, who scared me a little with all the dead rabbits swaying in the back. I remember the ice man coming in right through the house with the heavy block of ice. I went to Norwood school and loved the little bottle of milk ,cream on top, we were given every day. Good times.

  22. Barbara williams November 28, 2020 at 3:15 pm #

    My dad worked for Prices bakery in Croydon and every school holiday I would go with him and help deliver the bread. I loved it at Christmas when we got invited into people’s houses, he would have a sherry and I would get some sort of sweet. It was w wonder he was’nt drunk in charge of a horse. Oh happy days.

  23. dennis baker November 30, 2020 at 6:56 pm #

    i worked for mitchelmores bakery on port rd,back in the 60s driving a horse drawn bread cart,my horses name was tiny,i drove horses on the job for three and half years,before motor vehicles took over,i was a great job.

    • Karen August 14, 2023 at 8:11 pm #

      Hi Dennis my Dad worked for Michelmore’s in the days of horse n cart then the bread van.

  24. Col Rawlings August 23, 2021 at 10:33 am #

    My Dad shared a bread delivery business with 2 of his mates. They were Dick Watson, Peter Rolla and my dad Ray Rawlings. They bought out Balfours horse and carts and started Henley and Grange bread delivery. They built it up to 5 horses and carts and 3 vans I think. This was in the 50s. It was eventually bought out by Tip Top. I remember feeding these giant horses on the weekend when I was just a kid.
    I loved the warm bread and bung fritz for lunch whilst on school holidays helping Dad.
    I’ll never forget.

  25. Pete Chamings December 27, 2022 at 4:49 am #

    I remember we had our bread delivered by horse and cart at Magill back in the fifties..I used to love those loaves of bread that you could break in half..mum would always cut me a thick slice of the still hot bread and smother it with butter and either vegemite or tomato sauce..I can’t remember if milk was delivered by horse and cart back then as I was pretty young and the milkman came early..I used to love scooping out the cream on top of the milk which was in glass bottles..those were good days back then as kids..great memories..I still remember my favorite aussie movies..Smiley..and Smiley Gets a Gun.


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