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T'Othersiders Shop, 1899

Description

This is a black-and-white photograph of a bakery in Broad Arrow, Western Australia. It was taken by Thomas Pick in 1899. The shop sign reads 'T'OTHERSIDERS SHOP HOPBEER. BREAD.', which indicates what is sold and who runs it. Three camels loaded with packs are lying outside the shop - one has a rider on the back of a double saddle. The camel to the right is carrying water containers. Several men and women, in colonial dress, are standing outside the shop. The building is a solid structure, possibly corrugated iron, with glass windows, although the frame is wooden and the veranda has a brushwood cover. The photograph measures 15 cm x 20 cm.

Educational value

  • This asset introduces the term 't'othersiders' - this was the name given to people who went from the eastern states of Australia to Western Australia at the time of the gold rush; many t'othersiders were prospectors who had been unsuccessful in their attempt to find gold in the east and had arrived in the west hoping to make fortunes; some were not necessarily successful at this and moved into other businesses, which were ultimately more profitable for them.
  • It shows that the shop sells hop beer, which is a strong alcoholic beer made from hops, molasses, yeast and water - as water was very expensive to buy on the gold fields, many prospectors and others drank the locally brewed beer, which could be, depending on the relative availability of both water and beer, cheaper than the water.
  • It was taken in one of the small settlements that grew up around gold finds - the Broad Arrow rush took place in 1894; it is said that Broad Arrow was so named because a prospector marked the route to where he had found gold with a series of broad arrows.
  • It depicts a shop in a once thriving and successful gold-mining town - Broad Arrow was gazetted in 1896 and at its peak had eight hotels (some little more than shanties), a cordial factory, two breweries, a hospital and its own stock exchange; it suffered a fate typical of many gold fields towns, due to the 'boom or bust' nature of gold; today, it is billed as a typical gold fields ghost town visited by tourists for its historic tin-shed tavern.
  • It features a bakery, which was often one of the first businesses to open at outlying settlements - prospectors appreciated a change from the 'damper' they made in their camps; bakeries were one business affected by the cost and lack of water on the Western Australian fields; the owner of one bakery in Kalgoorlie complained in letters to his family back in South Australia about how these problems stopped production.
  • It is taken at one of the places visited by Premier John Forrest in November 1895 - Forrest undertook a 1,600-km tour, by horseback or in a horse-drawn vehicle, of WA's eastern gold fields 'to see the field and learn of its wants'; during this tour he started to talk about bringing water to the gold fields from the coastal region of Perth, having become fully aware that a reliable fresh-water supply was needed.