June 22, 2024 11:53 PM

New life for historic cart



If only the walls of this baker’s cart could talk, there would certainly be some tales to tell.

Sadly, they can’t but the cart’s mere presence is certainly sparking some conversations and wonderful memories of the good old days.

The smell of the bread, the sound of the hooves as they plodded along the cobbled streets and the fact that bread was delivered door-to-door were topic of conversation at Singleton Mens Shed last week as they stood and admired their restoration handiwork on the 100-year-old cart.

The Mens Shed took delivery of the cart in December and on Tuesday of last week, delivered the newly restored item of historic significance to Singleton Museum for permanent display.

Mens Shed Member Ian Paget is particularly delighted to see the project complete as the cart was originally driven by his great uncle, Charles Paget, a well-known Singleton baker.

Kay Atfield, who is the granddaughter of Charles, almost shed a tear when she saw the cart as it was being loaded onto the trailer for its final journey to the museum.

“Mum (Dawn Alder) would be just so happy to see it,” Kay said as she expressed her appreciation of the project.

“I think we will be heading to the museum soon so she can see it,” she said.

Ian was informed of the cart’s existence about 18 months ago after being told it was in a dilapidated condition in the rural museum at Glenbawn Dam.

After many letters and conversations, Ian finally got a date to pick it up but he needed a bit of help.

“I mentioned I needed a hand at a Retired Mineworkers Meeting and I had ten blokes offering help within a minute,” Ian said.

The cart arrived at the Mens Shed in December and while covid interrupted the restoration plan, it certainly didn’t take anything away from the enthusiasm for the project.

To say the cart was dilapidated is an understatement.

“The roof was rotted, it was falling apart,” Ian said.

The talents of the Mens Shed were put to work replacing the roof, repairing the body and giving it a final lick of paint, probably its first in 100 years.

Mens Shed publicity officer John Elliot said the project has been an interesting one for members and an opportunity for many to showcase their individual talents.

There are many projects underway at the Shed and members are busy making fire pits, wooden toys, new garden seats for Cooinda Aged Care Home among other projects but more importantly, the Shed offers men a place to sit, have a cuppa and chat.

Singleton Mens Shed is located in Combo lane and is open from Tuesday to Friday from 9am to 12noon and on Saturdays from 9am to 12noon.