Home - Chermside & District History

Butcher to Spare Parts

The Small Butcher's Shop 1909

There were many butcher's shops in early Downfall Creek-Chermside and they were in easy walking reach of the homes. These were the times when 'shank's pony' was the common form of transport and a shopping basket was part of the household. Before refrigeration meat had to be bought every few days and kept in the gauze safe or the ice chest.

The housewives, or the children, made regular visits to the local butcher's shop, on foot, to keep fresh meat on hand. There were methods of preserving meat such as curing or smoking but they were expensive.

Supplies of freshly killed meat would probably be delivered each day from the slaughter yards on the edge of the village. The shop would be fly-proof and there would be a cool room of sorts probably using ice as there was no electricity.

Conradi's butcher shop and house
Conradi's butcher shop, 1909, stood near the South West corner of Sparkes Street and Gympie Road. Conradi's house is beside the shop and further on is James and Charlotte Hamilton's house, Bulling's shop and Murr's blacksmith forge. The high curved gable on Bulling's shop looks very like George Conradi's Polsloe Store which he built in the 19th Century. Gympie Road is still more of a track than a road. Poorly drained as seen by the water lying on the side and grass growing in the middle implies that there is little traffic.

The New Butcher's Shop 1960


At some time George Lemke bought the shop and eventually brought his son into the business. The butcher shops were still small but times were changing. People still walked to the shop but many were driving cars or riding the trams and there were not so many small butcher shops. People could go further to shop for most goods. They also had refrigeration at home, or at least an ice chest, so they only needed to make a weekly visit to the butcher.

The butcher shop had a large refrigerated cool room and supplies of meat would come less frequently. Electricity made preservation of meat much simpler.

1960 George Lemke & Son Butcher Shop on SW corner of Gympie Road and Sparkes Street
By the 1960s the shop looked much the same but the house beside it was a new one and still belonged to the butcher. Gympie Road was paved with tram lines down the middle and bordered with rose bushes.

The Automobile Age Triumphs


The trams are gone to make more room for the automobile which needs all sorts of accessories as well as spare parts. More and more room is taken up by firms such as Supercheap which supply the increasing variety of items for the rapidly growing number of car owners. They tend to spread out horizontally as one floor shops surrounded by parking space for the passing trade to stop and shop.

Supercheap Auto supplies all sorts of items for the automobile owner. They are geared to the person who will travel, sometimes long distances, to buy the desired item.