Yesterday Today: a look back with Alan McRae

LOCAL SUCCESS: Preen and Company in lower William Street in 1910 with one of its horse-drawn home delivery carts waiting patiently out the front.
LOCAL SUCCESS: Preen and Company in lower William Street in 1910 with one of its horse-drawn home delivery carts waiting patiently out the front.

Our historic image this week, taken in 1910, shows Preen and Company in lower William Street with one of its horse-drawn home delivery carts waiting patiently out the front.

Preen and Company had two other horse-drawn vehicles. 

One, which was much larger, collected freight and other goods from the Bathurst Railway Yards.

Preen and Company was in what was called the Kite Building, though they were more popularly known as the Britannia Buildings.

Fortunately, this historic building is still standing today. 

Next door can be seen the premises of Bathurst Motor Garage, located at 59-61 William Street. A couple of doors down the street on the other side of Preens was Mr T. Carroll, who operated a saddlery business.

The Preen and Company business boasted three large front display windows. Goods were presented on a ledge at the bottom of the windows and on shelving behind. Each window was laden with tempting stock: items such as galvanised metal watering cans, bread bins, dishes, wash-up pans, cooking pans and metal meat safes.

As seen by the large sign, the business sold Bushells Tea, the wholesalers having paid to have their brand of tea written on the end of the awning.

The business also had a wine and spirit licence and was an agent for McWilliam’s Wines.

In 1886, Preen and Smith took over the business previously operated by the late H.J. Kelk. As grocers, tea dealers and ironmongers, the partners were keen to get their name before the Bathurst residents. They always had “grand value in teas!”.

They were agents for Wilcox and Gibbs and the No. 7 sewing machine.

They had recently received a delivery of galvanised and hoop iron, and fencing wire at the lowest cash prices.

Another advertisement stated that Preen and Smith Company was an importer. Fresh deliveries of groceries, house furnishing and ironmongery (hardware) had recently arrived on the train.

Residents were invited to come in and look over the crockery and glassware department, novelties, paints, oils and paperhangings.

With plenty of fencing wire, netting and galvanised iron, customers could purchase at the lowest prices for the best quality at Preen and Smith’s.

On November 29, 1887, Preen and Smith was just one of many Bathurst stores in favour of a weekly half-day holiday. The business placed an advertisement in The Bathurst Daily Times stating that “the undersigned storekeepers in Bathurst had agreed to close their respective establishments on Wednesday afternoons in each week commencing in January 1888”.

Employees asked the general public and the ladies in particular to kindly assist them in their endeavours to uphold the principle of the half-holiday by not shopping after one o’clock on Wednesdays.

The notice also stated “that any person whose name may not be mentioned in the list were to kindly communicate with the Hon. Secretary George Haughton, with a view to its insertion”. 

Some of the 76 names included: J. Allen, Howick Street; D. Anderson, Milltown; J.G. Bray and Co, George Street; Beavis Bros, photographers, George Street; E. Curtis and Co, Howick Street; J. Dixon, Keppel Street; L. Edgley and Co, William Street; J. Hunter, William Street; C. Jones, William and Howick Streets; Jones Bros, William Street; F. Jenkinson, William Street; M.L. Kilbourne, Photographer, George Street and Mr. L. Peate, George Street.

The business advertised in 1901 in the Country Business Directory, indicating that the business name had changed to Preen and Company. The business is again listed in 1906, 1909 and 1913, however, there is no listing for Preen and Company in 1929.

Alan McRae is from the Bathurst District Historical Society