MERCHANTS OF DEVONPORT - PART 1
Did you know that once upon a time shops in Devonport traded only half a day on Wednesdays? The Shop Closing Act of 1911 enabled local councils to determine which day of the week was best for trading. For Stanley, Burnie and Latrobe, this meant Thursdays and for Devonport, Wynyard, Sheffield, Smithton, Ulverstone and Penguin Wednesday.
Over the next 10 years there was much debate in Devonport on whether to transfer the half holiday from Wednesdays to Saturdays.
A Devonport correspondent wrote in 1918:
“There seems to be a disposition to magnify in some quarters an expression of opinion held by very few that the weekly half holiday for the shops should be transferred from Wednesday to Saturday. The proposal finding publicity through the local press, prompt action was taken to ascertain the feeling of the shopkeepers on the matter, when the overwhelming majority were in favour of retaining Wednesday, as they appreciated the break in the middle of the week. The produce market at Devonport is Thursday as contrasted with Wednesday at Burnie, the Sydney steamers being always a day later in calling at Devonport than Burnie. To place the position in a nutshell, Devonport is not going to change its weekly half holiday unless the surrounding towns do likewise, and as far as is known there has been no concerted action to endeavour to bring this about.”
In 1921, it was finally agreed that shops in Devonport should remain open all day on Wednesdays, but closed every Saturday at 1:00 pm. The late night shopping on Fridays continued to be observed with shops closing at 9:00 pm.
Following are some of the images published in the Weekly Courier in 1919. The rest will follow in Part 2 next week. All photos were taken by A W Marshall.
Local branch of the Tasmanian Woolgrowers Agency Co. Ltd, Buyers and Exporters of Produce, auctioneers, merchants and shipping agents
Webb and Co Limited, grain and produce merchants. Office of the Melbourne Steamship Co Limited
Edwards and Strettle, representatives of the Coastal Farmers Cooperative Society, Sydney
Field and Co, seed specialists
F Richards, merchant
Whitfield's "The Block"
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