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By Jordan Thomas

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As well as shoeing horses, blacksmiths custom-made all manner of metal objects for farms, factories and homes The craft of stonemason (right) was highly regarded and required great skill in shaping construction materials for buildings large and small. The most glaring difference between the workplace today and that at the time of Federation was the complete lack of laboursaving devices. Almost everything was done manually at some stage. For heavy lifting there were steam cranes but most movement of goods required sheer physical strength.

By the time of Federation there was a growing movement to restrict shop opening hours. This was to improve the conditions for staff who were expected to work the whole time the shops were open. Local stores in the suburbs were usually butchers, grocers or fruit and vegetable suppliers. There was no such thing as supermarkets. Most food and other grocery items came from a corner store. Corner stores were generally family owned businesses that supplied groceries to order. Housewives would leave a list of their requirements and the store would Ready to serve customers with all their grocery needs, Daniel Corcoran’s grocery store in Hobart Some basic staples, primarily milk and bread, were delivered to the home six days a week.

Home sewing, deliver it to the home later in the day. Because there was no refrigeration housewives did not buy ingredients for meals more than 24 hours in advance. Merchandise was kept behind a counter. Customers asked the shop’s staff for whatever items they required. Foodstuffs such as flour did not come in ready-made packets. The amount you wanted was measured out from bulk containers. Even the humblest corner store often had a staff of six or more people, almost always males. A young teenager would do small deliveries by bicycle.

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