Random Friday memory 4 – the iceman

Around the same time I might have been reading Digit Dick our house in Auburn Street Sutherland had one of these in the kitchen:


An ice chest. That one fetched $295 recently in Perth, I gather; $695 if restored. I seem to remember ours being very similar. No gas or electricity: just add ice to the top compartment and off you went. Of course in summer months the ice didn’t last long.

The ice came thus:


Though that one is rather before my time. But this description remains true of 1943-1952:

The ice was delivered each day first thing in the morning. The cart was tin enclosed.  The iceman used to have a hessian bag and he’d wrap the block in a hessian bag and tuck it under his arm and run in with the ice and put it in the ice chest. 

Not sure about the daily delivery in Sutherland, but the rest is right – and our iceman surely had a horse and cart, unlike this one in Wagga:


The kids would be lining up for chips of ice. I recall doing that on hot days…

The ice-man is a great example of how the absolute call for a particular service can change with the advent of modern technology. Before refrigerators were a commonplace appliance, it was necessary to devise ways of keeping perishable foods cold, particularly in the summer months. The ice-man would deliver to homes and businesses, slabs of cut ice which were placed in an ice chest. The ice would be delivered every couple of days and often created a lot of interest to the local children who would anticipate a piece to be broken off for them.

Bread and milk came by horse and cart as well.