Friday, 24 October 2014

Allchin Bros and one enormous tent

Ballarat Courier, Monday 26th October 1914

The above article attracted my attention as turned the pages of the 100 year old Courier.  Messrs. Allchins, the firm known as Allchin Brothers, have made a very large tent for the YMCA, in order that the YMCA be able to support and assist the troops in training at Queenscliff.

In the very next column is a letter from the secretary of the YMCA thanking various dignitaries for their donations to the YMCA fund, and suggesting to the general public that they might like to donate more as well! The YMCA aims to raise 200 pounds.  I wonder how much this tent cost.

Allchin Brothers operated at 14 and 16 Doveton Street North, and the building is still there - now the RACV - although the numbering has changed.  It is somehow appropriate, the RACV looking after our transport needs via the motor car.  Allchin Bros looked after the transport needs of people at the time, via the horse.

They claimed to be the largest manufacturers of saddlery in the colony.  But this isnt all they did - as we see above they worked with canvas, making tents, tarpaulins and horse rugs, they did all kind of leatherwork, not just saddles but collars and harness, all kinds of bags "from the dainty lady's handbag to the solid leather trunk". Perhaps the most interesting bit of canvas work they did was making firemen's helmets and buckets!  They also made footballs - in the 1900 season they made almost 4000.

So such an enormous tent probably didn't tax them at all.  Here is a photograph of Allchin's from the book Ballarat and District, 1901 from where the above information is taken. Ballarat and District, 1901 is one of our most important resources in the Australiana Room; if you would like to look at it any time, just ask a member of staff.
Allchin Bros, Doveton Street North from Ballarat and District, 1901

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