|Hattam's store, 33 Sackville St, Port Fairy, as depicted |
on an advertising poster in an 1892 Almanac
My parents made their ‘sea-change’ to Port Fairy. Mum always knew she had links to this little seaside village – her great grandparents were one of the first couples to be married in the original St John’s Church in 1850.
Dad subsequently found his own family links to the town through Hattam & Hattam stores. His great great grandmother was Nanny HATTAM (1836-1915) who came to Australia with her husband James GRENFELL (1833-1896).
Almost all of Nanny’s siblings came to Australia from Cornwall in the 1850s and 1860s, and a number of cousins came too, including John HATTAM (c1824-1892).
From what I have discovered so far, John Hattam started Hattam stores and expanded his network with each of his sons moving to another town to start a store.
|Store as it is today, showing the 2 small upstairs rooms|
where the cash went via the overhead pulleys.
These are hidden by a false ceiling now.
His eldest son John HATTAM (c1853-1932) started a store in Sale (Gippsland, Victoria) in 1879.
William Thomas HATTAM (c1868-1929) moved to Port Fairy around 1890.
His father died in May 1892 in Daylesford, and his mother was living with William and his growing family when she died in Nov 1892.
Hattam’s stores had a special feature – a cash railway system. This was a system of wires and pulleys that transported money around a shop. They were developed sometime in the 1880s and usually consisted of lidded pots or cups that were moved around by gravity or spring-loaded wire pulleys.
You can see more about this system on this website.
|Hattam's store as it is today - a sports store and real estate|
There is still a room above the Hattam’s building in Port Fairy where apparently the system still ‘resides’. Dad is keen to get up and have a look – with his camera of course.
I believe there are still a couple of Hattam stores left in the Melbourne suburbs of Oakleigh and Elsternwick. One of them at least run by a descendant of John Hattam of Sale. I must try to visit next time I am in Melbourne.