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Open All Hours


This exhibition highlighted how changing lifestyles and patterns of consumption have affected how, when and where we shop, as well as what we buy. 

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The Essentials

How To Keep Your Cool

Improved food storage and refrigeration technologies during the 19th and 20th centuries affected how often consumers had to shop for fresh provisions such as milk and meat. Ice chests, Coolgardie safes, and meat safes were all used in the first part of the 20th century to keep food cool. Although we don't recommend using a Coolgardie safe to keep your ice-cream cold in the middle of an Australian Summer!


From Bon Ami to Detonators

What wasn't in stock could be ordered in

From food items in cans or in jars, dry goods such as flour and sugar, biscuits, cereals, and food additives, potatoes and onions, newspapers, stationery, charity tickets, hardware, building and farming items, medicinal and personal hygiene items, cigarettes, needles, buttons, films and flash bulbs - the General Store sold, well - generally everything!

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The Essentials Part 2

What Every General Storekeeper Needs

Potato Scales with weights were in daily usage for weighing a variety of vegetables and fruit to be then bagged up and sold/weight.The Protectograph was used in the 1920s in the Wells General Store, Mundaring, to make it difficult for cheque forgers to change the amount on a cheque.


Long before Uber Eats 

Delivery to your door has come full circle

Integral to shopping 100 years ago was the home delivery of fresh food and grocery essentials. General Stores delivered orders, as did butchers, bakers, and dairies. The self-service shops that developed in the Perth retail landscape from the 1950s were less popular in some Hill's areas because delivery was not provided. 

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The General Carrier

Groceries to your door

Long before Deliveroo and Uber Eats, most of the precincts in the Shire of Mundaring had a General Carrier who would deliver your order to your door, including grocery items as well as agricultural supplies. The door in the picture at right is from the truck owned by Arthur Schoch who was a general carrier in Stoneville. 


Wells General Store, Mundaring

All the essentials in one shop!

The first general store was built in Jacoby Street soon after the completion of the Mundaring Railway Station in 1898. In 1911 it was purchased by James Wells, and became the Wells General Store. The illustration at right was a chalk drawing depicting life at the store in the 1950s. 

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Past Exhibitions

Click on exhibition image for more information

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