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National Museum of Australia

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Bread delivery cart

Object information


The vehicle was drawn by a single horse. It has two storage areas for bakery goods one accessed through a canvas flap near the driver's seat, the other through locked doors at the rear of the vehicle. The vehicle retains much of its original paintwork including signwriting and linework. By 1942 the Newcastle & Suburban's Bakery was the largest in Australia baking over 62,800 loaves of bread a week. This vehicle was part of a large fleet used to deliver this bread in the Newcastle region.

Physical description

A horse-drawn bakers cart with two long shafts at the front and two large wheels. The cart is made of wood and canvas. Text on both sides of the cart read 'N&S / CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY / L.T.D / BAKERY'. At the rear end of the cart is a storage compartment with a shelf and two doors. 'N&S / No. 16[8?]' is painted on the rear doors.The canvas is painted yellow and white and the paint is cracking. The timber is painted yellow and maroon with white text.

Statement of significance

The Newcastle & Suburban Co-operative Society Ltd Bakery Cart collection comprises bakery cart no. 168, one of a fleet of horse drawn vehicles that were operated by the Newcastle & Suburban Co-op in the Hunter Valley. The cart is in original condition with extant signage. Although likely to have been built in the late 1930s, the cart resembles designs from the turn of the century. It was pulled by one horse and driven by a carter who accessed bread through a canvas flap at the front and doors at the rear.

Bakery carts were one of the last horse drawn vehicles used commercially. The bakery run, which required frequent stops over short distances, remained well-suited to using horses long after they were replaced by motorised transport in other industries. Significantly, bakery cart no. 168 was part of the Newcastle & Suburban Co-operative Society's fleet that supplied a wide array of goods and services to locals in the Hunter Valley, including bread daily. Co-ops, like Newcastle & Suburban, relied on strong local support. The rise of the family car and the supermarket contributed to dissolving tight-knit communities and with it the Newcastle & Suburban Co-operative.

Object information

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