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Bread cart revamp

Monday, 8th April, 2019

(From left) Anthony Vella, Logan Miller and Jim Daley with Jim Forner in his old bread cart that delivered freshly baked goods from 1951 to 1977. PICTURE: Myles Burt (From left) Anthony Vella, Logan Miller and Jim Daley with Jim Forner in his old bread cart that delivered freshly baked goods from 1951 to 1977. PICTURE: Myles Burt

By Myles Burt

An historic bread cart from the old Forner’s Bakery is to be restored to its original condition. 

The Broken Hill Historical Society has given the cart to Anthony Vella Spray Painting for the work. 

It is one of five that John Forner, now 98 years old, bought from Adelaide in the early 1950s. 

Already decades old it had a fair few miles on it but Mr Forner always bought his carts second hand.

“We started up in 1947 and they were operating a long while before me, so God knows how old they were,” he said.

Each cart was painted to represent each of the local football team colours, with the bread cart at Anthony Vella Spray Painting blue and white for the North Bulldogs. 

“I painted them up later for each colour of the suburb,” Mr Forner said.

“Each one was designated for that particular district.”

Mr Vella said he’ll be stripping back the paint work and restoring the cart’s signage. Over the years the bread carts underwent massive changes, from horses to engines, wooden-spoked wheels to rubber tyres.

“It took me a while to convert them all to steel wheels,” Mr Forner said.

“They used to cost me a fortune on shafts. They’d come back again with a busted shaft.”

Using horses to pull the carts made the job very interesting, he said. He had to learn to shoe after a horse kicked one off on a delivery and had to clean up loaves of bread in Wolfram Street when the cart flipped, horse and all. 

It also wasn’t unusual for a delivery man to be missing his horse and cart.

“They were all ex-trotters, because to get a good horse to stop and start all the time was an art on its own,” Mr Forner said.

“When we finished up, two of the horses could almost talk to you.

“Back then a white horse, when he used to see the driver come out with the harness outside, he’d start to take off.

“With the big, white mare I had, the bloke I had was a real slow walker and it was three o’clock in the afternoon and I got a phone call.

“I said ‘What’s wrong’ and he said ‘I haven’t got a horse and cart’.

“I said ‘I know, I can see it just driving over’.

“The horse came home with that cart all on its own into the yard waiting for us to let him in because he was too slow.”

“He used to only allow us so many seconds per visit.”

Mr Forner said after closing up shop in 1977 and selling Forner’s to Buttercup, the bread carts were all sold to private owners for their children.

“It was bloody busy in those days,” said Mr Forner. “It started out with 19 bakeries and then in 1977 there was only three of us left.

“I sold one cart to one of my drivers but I don’t know what he did with it.

“Three or four had been sold to a private owner for their kids at the time, they’re all grown up now so I don’t know.”

Mr Vella said the bread cart has become a hit with locals walking past his workshop.

“I’ve had people come in daily, reminiscing over the old times,” he said.

“I’m usually averaging three a day - people coming in and talking about how the horses used to go on their own and stop for the baker to pick up more bread.”

Broken Hill Historical Society’s Jim Daley said everyone was looking forward to seeing the bread cart fully restored. 

It had swapped hands over the last seven years, was crane-lifted out of the Silverton Gaol and taken to Railway Town and then to the local Synagogue.

Later work was done on it by the West Darling Machine Preservation Society at its building on Crystal Street.

“It’s been a long time coming but we’ve eventually got it to this stage,” Mr Daley said.

“It’ll be going back to Silverton when we get it all done.”

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