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Email Link   The Necessities

 - Copyright Tweed Shire Council

Foster's Store, Tyalgum c1908. Tyalgum was established to service the needs of newly arrived settlers. Stores like this supported further development.

Tweed Regional Museum Collection. No: TH22-19

After 1900 there was an increase in the number of settlers in the Tweed Valley, encouraged by talk of the opportunities and benefits of life on the land, particularly on the north coast, which was promoted as a perfect location. However, in the early decades of the 20th century the roads in the area were poor and communications unreliable and sporadic. Farmers had to transport their crops long distances to markets across challenging terrain, including the difficult to navigate river systems, and making a living from the land was a struggle.

There were many challenges for their families as well. In the 1920s and 30s people relied heavily on mail orders from department stores in the capital cities. Enormous catalogues containing a huge selection of goods, including clothing and accessories of all descriptions, arrived in the post, along with order forms and swatches or samples of the fabric so people could see the colour, quality and texture of the goods they were ordering.

 - Copyright Tweed Shire Council

Loder's Store Uki, c1935.

Tweed Regional Museum Collection. No: U003-31

There were also stores established in the local townships. Dot Lange clearly recalls Loders store in Uki in the 1930s as “the largest country store between Newcastle and Brisbane and reputed to carry the largest and most diverse amount of goods as well, catering for the farmer and his entire family’s needs…” These stores were vitally important to the isolated farming families in the region. Goods arrived in bulk and were packaged and sold in the quantities required by the customers. Sugar was delivered in 75lb bags, flour in 50lb bags, jam in 5lb tins and golden syrup in 7lb tins. Households would also often have food delivered in bulk so they were prepared for those times when they would be cut off by the river flooding.

C. T. Grant's Story

“All the talk was of land in those days. ‘Go on the land young man’ was the popular cry. The north coast was the promised land, the land of the future. Sir John See, Member for the Clarence who had been Premier of NSW said he would rather have 40 acres of north coast land than 40,000 in the west. Joey Carruthers the Premier of NSW, who was made Sir Joseph later on, put it to the country that his objective was a million farms and so the land fever mounted with everyone wanting to go on the land. Get a block of land, especially on the north coast, and you were made, or so everyone thought.”

C. T. Grant., p. 11, Connery, ML (ed.), The Way It Was, Uki and South Arm Historical Society, 1987

Dot's Story

 - Copyright Tweed Shire Council

Sugar bag, 70lb.

Tweed Regional Museum Collection. No: MUS1986.66.6

“Dates came neatly packed in small wooden boxes and dispensed as needed. Dried fruit, apricots, apples, prunes etc, etc all arrived in store in bulk and transferred into brown paper bags in the weights requested. Lollies in large amounts, and picked out on request of the youngsters, very time consuming, and sometimes the case at the Uki Post office today. Almost everything came in bulk to the store and packed, very labour intensive work. Youngsters could buy broken biscuits for 6 pence per little brown paper bag, a big treat in those difficult times, the depression took quite a toll on everyone.”

Recalled by Dot Lange, 2005

Did you know?

 - Copyright Tweed Shire Council

Horse drawn wagon with tent pitched on top used by travelling salesman during the 1920s calling on farm houses pedalling their wares.

Tweed Regional Museum Collection. No: TH155-21

  • Farmers and their families also relied on travelling salesmen. These were representatives of retail businesses selling things like tea and medicines.
  • Men known as Hawkers would travel through the area as well selling everything from sewing supplies to sweets.
  • Sewing was a vitally important skill for a woman to have at a time when it was difficult and expensive to buy clothing and other goods.
  • Golden syrup was given the knickname 'Cocky’s Joy'. Cocky was a colloquial name for a farmer.

Last Updated: 18 September 2015