Beacroft’s Corner

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From 1885 to 1980 this site was known to be changing hands to local butchers.

Beacroft's Butcher

Download the Beacroft's Butchers poster (pdf 323kb)

Walter “Wally” Williams’ “Newmarket Butchery” Shop opened in 1908 and closed in 1913.The location was most notably known as “Beacroft’s Corner” by George Beacroft whose famous butchery was open between 1923 and 1925.

 Beacrofts Corner

Walter “Wally” Williams’ “Newmarket Butchery” Shop in 1908
Estimated taken 1908
Unknown source 

Butcher Shops in St Marys

An early 1885 map showed a weatherboard dwelling on this site occupied by a butcher. In 1903, James Hope bought the property and for two years John Giles a St Marys’ builder built a brick shop.

The shop was leased to Walter Williams who in 1908 opened “Newmarket Butchery” naming it after the nearby cattle saleyards out along the Mamre Road.

From the day it opened until the day it closed it was always a butcher’s shop for 75 years and was the only business in St Marys to have had the distinction of serving continuously to over three generations of St Marys citizens, a record for what was for a very long time just a small country town. 

Williams remained for five years. Charles Adams took over for a year, then Timmins’ Butchers in 1923, George Beacroft until 1925, Fred Bull until 1926, William Everingham until 1928 and Charles Unicombe until 1936 when it was sold back to family Beacroft who became longest serving butcher of 38 years after closing in June 1980 after the eight shops in this block were modernised.

 Beacrofts Butchers Shop

Beacroft’s Butchers Shop in 1970’s
Unknown photograph
Source: Late Bert Evans family photographic collection, the first St Marys Historical Society, Penrith City Library photographic collection

Interview with Lyn Forde

Video Transcript

My name’s Lynette Forde, I call myself Lyn. I’m with the St Mary’s District and Historical Society.

The Historical Society has been going for 21 years now where I’m, a research officer. I am also a Facebook person and I write history pages for the Nepean News.

I’m the 7th generation district person with ties to the Rope Family that Rob Greeks named after, I’ve had my roots here and I love it here.

In 1883, James Jim (they called him Beacroft) was a teacher at Tamorra, and he came to St Mary’s and started a butcher shop on that corner in 1892. In June 1945, there was a ceremony of the first street lighting of Queen’s Street and Mayor Aldermen Robert Hope who was a member of the family stood on the aweing and switched the light on for the lights to come in Queen’s Street.

I remember that shop because when I was a kid my mum gave me money and a list of the meat she wanted. I’d go up the street and buy it and talk to Mavis and Frank and come back home, you could do it in those days.

With saw dusted meat, the saw dust was used to soak up any blood that might have been on the floor, you know, so people didn’t slip on it.  Mostly it was behind the counter where they had a big butcher’s block they called it, which was a great big round tree trunk that’s been up to about waist high, used for cutting the meat.  That’s what they used the saw dust for.

Oh yes, there was a certain apron, always a butchers apron which was like brown and probably white. It was the butcher’s apron that all the butchers wore, so you knew who they were. If you had stripes going one way and stripes going the other way you were either an apprentice or a butcher. I mean I’m old school, I like, what is it the meat and three vegs you know. There was everything you’d get today but also a lot that you can’t get today which would be nice if you could - I mean you can get rabbit because there was a lot of rabbits around in the area. Beacroft’s had their own slaughter yard and a paddock out near Ropes Crossing where they kept the cows.

St Marys back then when I was growing up was still very small place and it was still. It was considered a small country town and everybody knew everybody.  I mean I could walk up the street and everybody I could walk past was some kind of member of my family you know. Frank and Mavis, his sister, were the town people, part of the big Beacroft family and you know they knew everybody too. Because you could go in and have a bit of a chinwag with Mavis and she sat on the stool next to the block and she took all the money for the till and that so.

The butcher shop was the one that everybody went too, that was sort of before all the others started up along Queen’s Street.

Researcher: Lyn Forde St Marys & District Historical Society Research Officer

Lyn Forde

Lyn Forde is 56% English/Scottish, 19% Irish and 25% European. She is a 7th generation Australian with two First Fleeters connected to Ropes Crossing. Lyn was born in Penrith, lived in St Marys, Kingswood and now lives in Werrington. She went to St Marys Public School, St Marys High School and Penrith Business College. Lyn retired in 2005 working in administration. 

Lyn is divorced and a great grandmother of four. She has researched local history since the 1970’s and she is a contributor of the History Page in the local Nepean News. Lyn was a Secretary of the first St Marys Historical Society and currently a Research Officer & Vice-President. She is also a member of Encore Historical Sewing Group at St Marys Corner. Lyn has researched and self-published several books on local history, it is the area where she feels at home and where she can research her earlier family and community connections.

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