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DW The butchers shop with an upstairs residence was built about 1882 for James Smith Adams who, like many others, had his own slaughteryard outside the township. He was also a councillor on the Mornington Shire Council.
We spoke to local historian Val Wilson about the building’s interesting history.
VW The Mornington Band played to entertain the townsfolk from the vantage point of the verandah. That would have been particularly spectacular!
Anyhow, there were a number of butchers in Mornington as people ate meat for breakfast, lunch and dinner in those times. In the First World War, many of those who joined up gave their occupation as butcher.
In 1908 newspaper reports tell us that on the same day that Mr. F.C. Doherty took over the Livery Stable business further up the street, a Mr. J.W. Doherty took over this butchers which his family held until about 1920 when the Male family took over.
An article in The Mornington Standard reported: KW A sensational bolt occurred on Monday last. Mr. Doherty a local butcher left his horse and cart standing outside Fosters store on Main Street. The horse was startled by something and it gaily careered down the road getting on the footpath near the baths. The horse then swerved into the ti tree finally coming to grief near the barometer on the jetty road. Fortunately no damage was done to the horse or turnout.
VW The Males family ran the business for nearly 50 years. They carted their stock in by road and later by rail to their paddocks and slaughter yard in Moorooduc. There were stables at the rear of the shop used for their delivery horses pulling decorated butchers carts and then later, for their red Dodge utility.
If you walked through the flywire doors, you would have seen a typical butchers of the time. Carcasses of beef, pig and sheep hung from rails along the walls. A large wooden chopping block stood in the centre of the shop. The floor was covered in sawdust to make cleaning easier. The large cash register stood on the wooden counter together with weighing scales and piles of wrapping paper. The shop had a plate glass window surrounded by tiles on which the name ‘Male’ was moulded.
DW and what were the stables used for after the Dodge arrived?
VW The stables at the rear were used by the scouts before the building was pulled down. Tom Male built the two shops next door, on the left, Number 41 and Number 43 in 1934. One was for his friend Alf Sexton who set up his barbers shop after moving up from a couple of doors down. The story is that Alf Sexton used to return to England every six months, so to persuade him to stay permanently, Mr. Male built him the shop! This hairdressers is still the longest-running continuous retail business in Mornington.
If you poke your head into the shop Number 41 on the other side of the brick wall of the butchers, you can still see the sign ‘butcher’ on the bricks.
DW When the current pizza business started, a major refit and refurbishment was done. The owner was able to expose some of the original brick work. Once again, you can see the red colour of the bricks with which most of the buildings in Main Street were built. The next plaque is just along, near the street light.