Pickering Brook Post Office & Store

Research by Gordon Freegard

The Pickering Brook store was built in the beginning of the 1900s (circa 1903) to provide for the needs of the local timber workers. The store was originally built by the Thomas Humphreys family and an early post Office record shows that an “Allowance Office” was also established there in 1904.
An extract from the “West Australian Newspaper” of Monday 13th December 1909, details the funeral of Mr. Thomas Humphreys.

The funeral of the late Mr. Thomas Humphreys, late storekeeper of Pickering Brook, and of Bayswater, took place on Saturday afternoon and was largely attended. The cortege moved from his late residence, Lawrence Street, Bayswater, and proceeded per road to the Anglican Cemetery, Karrakatta, where the remains were interred, the Rev. Mr. Brown, of East Perth, conducting the burial service at the graveside. The pall-bearers were Messrs. P. Pyke, T. Walsh, G. Sinclair, G. Searle, and F. Weyman, and J. Saunders, of Pickering Brook. The chief mourners were Mr. F. Humphreys (Son), Mrs. F. Lindley (Daughter), Messrs. George and Fred Lindley, Misses Lucy, Florrie, and Ruby Lindley, Miss Lindley, Miss Lucy Humphreys, and Mr. and Mrs. Alf. Sexton (Grandchildren). A large number of wreaths, floral tributes, letters and telegrams of sympathy were received. The funeral arrangements were carried out by Messrs. Bowra and O’Dea.

The Lindley family were the second family to purchase and run the store and Post Office. When Fred Lindley, who was Thomas Humphrey’s grandson, went to the Great War in 1915, Mrs. H Hewison, from Barton’s Mill, was asked to manage the business. Unfortunately Fred Lindley was killed in the war, and Mrs. Hewison then purchased the store and Post Office and remained the proprietor of the business until 1943. Her daughter Alice Beard (nee Hewison) and son-in-law Bert Beard then took over the business and operated it until 1959. Bert Beard and son Malcolm (Mac) ran a delivery run throughout Pickering Brook three times a week. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays they delivered fresh bread from Portwine’s Bakery of Kalamunda along with any other requisites their customers may require. Portwine’s Bakery was situated where “Barberry Square Shopping Centre is today along with the paddocks for their horses. They originally brought the Pickering Brook bread out in an Austin Seven but later, as the district grew, they used a Ford Customline Stationwagon and rookrack fully loaded.

The details of this familiar run are shown below.

Repatriation Road

  1. Mrs Marchetti
  2. Tenardi D.
  3. Giumelli A.
  4. Vacaro A.
  5. Foti C.
  6. Fernie A.


Forrest Road

  1. Polesi J.
  2. Della-Franca C.
  3. Furfaro D.
  4. Urbinatti P.
  5. Russell A.
  6. Balatto A.
  7. Road K.

Patterson Road

  1. Travicich M.
  2. Waters M.
  3. Bechelli P.
  4. Scolaro B.
  5. Penisi C.
  6. Howe C.
  7. Davey C.
  8. Cunnold F.
  9. Cunnold H.

Bracken Road

  1. Marchetti C.
  2. Marchetti P.
  3. Giumelli J.
  4. Giumelli M.
  5. Mazzardis V.
  6. Altinier A.
  7. Fasolo P.

Pickering Brook Road

  1. Della Matt
  2. Weston G.
  3. Weston N.
  4. Holroyd G.

Kingsmill Road

  1. Smailes E.
  2. Padgett E.

Pickering Brook Road

  1. Vincenti F.
  2. Ellery W.G.
  3. Ellery R.
  4. Dunn N.
  5. Neave C.H.
  6. Neave G.M.
  7. Armanasco B.
  8. Brooke H.

Sala Road

  1. Sala-Tenna P.

Pickering Brook Road

  1. Ryan C.
  2. Neave L.
  3. Neave V.
  4. Scolaro G.
  5. Scolaro P.
  6. Giddings F.
  7. Della Franca V. Snr
  8. Davey T.
  9. McCorkill W.
  10. Natta J.

Merrivale Road

  1. Della Franca J.
  2. Depiazzi A.
  3. Forsythe A.

East Road

  1. Conti M.
  2. Alosi D.

Merrivale Road

  1. Doherty B.
  2. Depiazzi D.
  3. Niven A.
  4. Radice L.
  5. Gordon W.
  6. Tomei M.
  7. Godbold H.
  8. Dorph-Peterson
  9. Wendt G.

Pickering Brook Road

  1. Marchesano M.
  2. Hawkins H.
  3. Gillespie A.
  4. Coe D.B.
  5. Vinci L.
  6. Giglia J.

Beard’s Pickering Brook Store delivery round 1946 – 1947


The Bendall family took over the store and Post Office and ran the business until it was sold to George Spriggs. A fire destroyed the shop in 1970. George Spriggs then moved the business, across the road to the current site. A plaque showing the locality of the original Store and Post Office can be seen on Pickering Brook Rd opposite the turn-off into Hewison Rd.

The original store was of timber frame, weatherboard construction with some of the additions to the dwelling, situated at the rear of the shop, being made of face cuts from the mill.

The store was stocked with a wide range of foodstuffs displayed on shelves around the walls and carried on a table in the centre of the room. There were also tools and hardware and some articles of clothing, mainly men’s working clothes and boots. The goods were sold over the counter which was on 3 sides of the store room and in the original store there was an adjoining room under the same roof which served as a butcher’s shop



The story which follows was written by Mr. Ray Owen, former Shire President and M.L.A. and the only Freeman of the Shire of Kalamunda. “The Kalamunda News” published this in September 1977. Mr. Owen was sure other residents would have more detailed memories of parts of the history of the store, and if so, they should make those known in order that the history of the area can be more accurately recorded.

Fred Lindley C1914 - 1915

His story follows……….
“The recent dismantling and destruction of the old Pickering Brook Store has removed one of the oldest landmarks in the district. The original establishment of this structure is unknown to me and is veiled in the dim mists of the early development of Pickering Brook as a timber and railway centre.

It was probably built by the Canning Jarrah Timber Company or a succeeding timber concern to serve the needs of timber, railway and bush workers in the early years of this century. (Actually a Mr. Thomas Humphreys built it about 1903.)

My early recollections of the Store go back to about 1909 when some of our family used to drive up to the railway station or store in a spring cart to get to and from the rail and to buy household goods, the mail and daily paper. In 1913, as a schoolboy I would go with my brother Les, to take drums of milk from my grandfather’s dairy to the railway station for despatch to Perth on the 7a.m. train. I used to deliver milk, per medium of the milk bucket and half pint dipper, to the shop residence and the other four houses situated along the Pickering Brook Road adjacent to the Store.

At that time the Store was run by Mr. Fred Lindley, but previously Mr. Humphreys carried on the business. Fred Lindley was assisted by his two sisters Florrie and Ruby. Another sister, Lucy married Harry Weston and lived about half a mile along the road to Canning Mills. Ruby Lindley later married H. J. (Bunt) McCullagh of Kalamunda and helped in the running of the then Post Office near the Kalamunda Railway Station, this was before the first “official” Post Office in Kalamunda was built further up Railway Road, past the Hotel in the 1920’s.

FRED LINDLEY c1914 - 1915 #3
Helen & William Hewison taken at Rear of Pickering Brook Store

The Pickering Brook Store, with dwelling at the rear, was of timber frame weatherboard construction with some of the additions to the dwelling being made of “face cuts” from the mill. These face cuts were usually wide boards which had not been gauged for width or thickness and were often used for construction of rough buildings. They were attached by nails to a wooden frame in a vertical in a vertical position and the cracks and spaces between them were covered by another face cut to make a snug and weatherproof wall. The roof was of galvanised corrugated iron. Several 1000gallon tanks collected the rain from the roof and stored it for the dry summer months for household purposes.

The Store itself stocked a wide range of foodstuffs displayed on shelves around the walls and carried on a table in the centre of the room. There were also tools and hardware and some articles of apparel , mainly men’s working clothes and boots. The goods were sold over wide counters which were on three sides of the store room; an adjoining room under the same roof served as a butcher”s shop. Bread was brought up daily by train from Midland Junction in large wicker baskets or hampers.

Pickering Brook Store and Truck C1930

Nearby, on the eastern side of the store was the “barn” where supplies of chaff and grain were kept for the many horses used in the timber and firewood industry and for riding and cart horses. There were also stables and horse yards on the edge of the bush at the rear. The main shop and part of the dwelling was equipped with large gas lamps supplied through metal pipes from a central acetylene generator outside near the eastern wall behind the butchers shop.

Mr. Fred Lindley enlisted for military service in the Great War and arranged for Mrs. H. D. Hewison of Barton’s Mill to carry on the business while he was overseas with the army. Fred was killed in action in France and then Mrs. Hewison purchased the Store and business including the post office and newspaper agency.

Rare Early 1942 Hewison's Store Docket

Shortly afterwards the P.M.G. Department installed a telephone service connected to Perth with the telephone wires attached to the railway telephone lines. The Telephone booth was placed outside the wall of the store building with no internal connections so that it was necessary to go outside to the booth to make or answer calls. This was later remedied and the telephone was extended and placed inside in the “Post Office” corner of the building. Another private line connected the Store to Barton’s Mill and any messages through the P.M.G. system had to be relayed personally by courtesy of the management to the mill line. Prior to the telephone service to Perth the only telephone connection in the area was the Station Master’s Office at the Railway Station. At that time we had a full time Station Master, Mr. William Fox, who had a small orchard adjacent to my father’s property about one and a half miles from Pickering Brook. The railway time table provided for three mixed passenger-goods trains per day during the week with four trains on Saturday plus the midnight horror or “drunks” train which arrived shortly after one o’clock on the Sunday Morning. There was also a Sunday passenger train which arrived about 10.30 in the morning and departed for Perth late in the afternoon. All these trains, of course served all stations along the line by way of Kalamunda and Midland Junction.

Shortly after Mrs. Hewison purchased the Store, Harry Weston removed the “barn” and the cottages along the road and transported the materials to his property in Canning Road where he built a large shed which later became the district’s local dance hall. Music was supplied by Harry himself with his accordion and many happy Saturday nights were enjoyed by people who came from Barton’s Mill to Cannington and from Kalamunda and Karragullen to these dances. The circular waltz, three step, polka, jazz, barn dance etc plus the square dances including the Lancers, the Alberts, Royal Irish and First Set were very popular and energetically performed. When the Carilla Hall was opened in 1926 Weston’s Hall fell into disuse.

Bert & Alice Beard (nee Hewison) Near Pickering Brook Store Delivery Truck

Mrs. Hewison assisted by her husband Bill and four daughters, carried on the business of the Store and three times weekly deliveries were made to Barton’s Mill and the Carilla district with groceries, mail and paper. Deliveries were also made to Canning mills and Karragullen serving people throughout the district. Even people in the upper Roleystone district were served on some deliveries. All these deliveries were made by horse and cart and on many occasions the return was made after dark.

Later in the 1920’s, the horse and cart was replaced by a light motor truck, a Ford T Model one ton vehicle and deliveries were speeded up. In the winter months however, part of the bush roads became boggy and were a hazard to travel by motor vehicles. About this time too some of the horse drays and jinkers were being replaced by motor trucks.

Syd Smailes & George Anderson with his G.m.c. 5 Ton Solid Tyre Truck Unloading Horse Feed at Pickering Brook C1925-30

Prominent among these there was Mr. George Anderson’s 5 ton “G.M.C.” solid tyred truck and Mr. Syd Eatts “Indiana” also a 5 ton job. It was in 1924 that my father purchased a “Reo” 25 cwt pneumatic tyred “Speed Wagon” for taking his fruit to market.

Mrs. Hewison and her family carried on the Store from 1914 until 1943 when both she and her husband passed away. During those 30 years there were considerable changes in the district. It passed from a predominantly timber and firewood economy to a more rural atmosphere especially after the 1920 set up for a Soldier Settlement Scheme when a greater part of the suitable land was alienated for agricultural purposes.

Most of the trade was on a 30 day credit payment and very often a bag of sweets was given on payment of the monthly account. However some of the bush workers were “birds of passage” and because of hard times during the depression of the 1930’s even some of the more stable settlers found it difficult to meet payments at times. These bad debts and delayed payments sometimes placed considerable strain on the finances of the store.

Jimmy Crabbe and the Butchers Van

Right through this period the Store was the shopping centre and social meeting place for patrons who lived in the area and came daily to collect their groceries, mail and paper. Among groups waiting for the arrival of the mail train, a wide range of topics for discussion arose. These included world affairs, politics and local news. I can well recall many of the old identities who patronised the Store, among whom were the more prominent members of the community. Old “Dick Weston probably the oldest permanent resident who worked at Bird and Mason Mill in the 1870’s. His family, Frank, Harry, Greg and Louis and daughters Bertha (Mrs. Bill Read), Eva (Mrs. Syd Eatts). Molly and Lily. Syd Smailes, founder of Smailes and Weston’s Mill in the 1920’s at Pickering Brook and Smailes Mill at Carinyah, the Newton family also prominent in the timber milling, including Vic Newton’s case mill, which for years supplied fruit cases for district orchardists. Bobby Selk, a colourful character of cricket fame with the Claremont Cricket Club, Mark Hayes, Josh Burke, Tommy Roads And Jesse Moore who is mentioned in McNamara’s Kalamunda of the Dreamtime as a signatory in the group requesting a townsite for Kalamunda in 1899.

Bert Beard with Daughter Lyn (now Poletti) aged 5 Having Lunch at Aunty Anne Weston's on the Delivery Round C1945

Claude French and Harry Catchpole with Levi Wallis who worked the Barton’s Mill loco bringing timber from Barton’s Mill to the Pickering Brook railway yards. Harry Hawkins and Bill Shadforth also Charlie Spriggs the “father” of the Pickering Sports Club, Wally Temby, And Alec Fernie. These people all added colour and character of life which surrounded the Store.

There were many others, particularly after the 1920 rural era developed. I can recall when the Neave family came to the district. Les Neave later took a keen and active interest into delving into the history of the district. The Sala Tenna family, also Dom Marchetti who was regarded as father of the “Italian Community” which did so much to expand the fruit growing and gardening industry in the area. Another person I feel should be mentioned was Mr, Dave Anderson who was well known in the timber industry and later when the railway business declined and passenger trains were not so convenient, established a bus service from Barton’s Mill to Perth.

In the 1930’s, he drove a char-a-banc type of bus and we all appreciated this opportunity to travel to and from the city.

Annual Carnival Outside "beards" Pickering Brook Store Featuring the 16th Battalion Cameron Highland Pipe Band. Taken in 1958

The Store was open to customers from about 7a.m. till 6 p.m. and when the mail came up on the 7.15 p.m. train, it was immediately sorted and made available by courtesy of the management to those who waited. The front door was closed later, but if anybody required service he went to the back door and called. The front door would be re-opened to the satisfaction of the late shopper or emergency caller.

Of the Hewison family, Anne married Greg Weston in 1918 and then lived in Cariila. Doris married Roy Gray in 1924 and they established the Karragullen Store. Alice married Bert Beard and after the death of Grandma Hewison in 1943 carried on the Store in the traditional style until Charlie Bendal took over the business in 1960 until 1971 when George Spriggs, now M.L.A. for the district, purchased the business. George already conducted the garage and service station “over the line” in Canning Road and later transferred the business to that centre and these enterprises were consolidated under the one roof.

From time to time the Store Buildings especially the dwelling section, had been altered and updated, but externally the Store itself was very much the same as when I first knew it nearly seventy years ago. In later years the service too had been brought in line with the more modern times regarding shopping hours and trading on a cash basis. The clock had stopped and there was no more tick!

Ray Owen & Flo Hewison

For the last few years the old store building has stood as a silent reminder of the past decades during which Pickering Brook developed from a small railway junction to its present state as an outer urban district renowned for the hospitality of its people, the quality of its fruit and its Sports Club. With the removal of the old store building, we older people of the district, have only good memories of this old establishment and the very good service it has given to the residents for nearly eighty years. To me they were very pleasant memories of the happy times spent within its walls for in 1933 I married Flora Hewison after being a very regular visitor during shopping hours and on many occasions after the front door had been closed.

Historic Site Plaque Unveiling

The Site of the Original Pickering Brook Post Office and Store was officially recognised with the unveiling of a plaque to be erected on the site in Pickering Brook Road opposite the junction with Hewison Road.

References: Article: Pickering Brook Heritage Group
The Kalamunda News

Image: 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 13, 18, 19, 23, 24, 26 Kalamunda & Districts Historical Society
2, 6, 10, 15 Mac & Pam Beard
16, 17, 25 Kalamunda Library
9, 20, 21, 22 Lyn Poletti
12, 14 Gordon Freegard
27. 28 Peter Skehan
29, 30 Greg Bendall