The Midland Railway Company
at Carnamah and
began selling quarter-acre blocks in 1914.
Local pioneer Donald Macpherson purchased 10 and 12
Macpherson Street for £30 cash. Several years later
sold the two
vacant blocks to Charlie Kroschel, who was a retired policeman. Charlie had
previously been stationed in Three Springs with Carnamah and Coorow under
his jurisdiction. A lot of his time as policeman was spent
chasing the district's bushranger, Frank Thomas.
"Mrs Parker heard what she thought were whip cracks as a horse galloped by at the
back of their house at number 5 Macpherson Street. Lou Parker said that the sound was not of a
whip but Charlie Kroschel trying to shoot Thomas!"
-- Alaric Parker
had a large stone building constructed at 10
Macpherson Street, Carnamah in 1926. It included a café (then known as a
tearooms) and an adjoining house for himself and his wife
They named their café The Don Tea Rooms and in addition to serving
lunch, afternoon teas, snacks, and supper they also sold fish and
chips, confectionery and cool drinks.
for the tearooms was
provided from a cow which was kept on-site. Charlie grew a small
crop on the block next door until 1932 when it was used for the
Carnamah Post Office
"I can remember as a kid, Charlie used to hand broadcast wheat
and oats. He had a scythe to cut it. Then he bundled it up ready for
-- Don Reynolds
Left & Below: Bowl and Scoop for Ice-Cream
Ice for the tearooms came up from Perth on the train and was
collected from the railway station in a wheelbarrow. In the days
before fridges, some of the ice was used to make ice-cream from
"When the account arrived for Kroschel’s tearooms my mother would go into town
and pay it. After paying, Mrs Kroschel would put some ice cream into two dishes
and they would sit at one of the tables and have a talk." -- Les Johnson
In 1926 the tearooms became the first building in Carnamah to
receive electricity from Parkin & Son’s power station on Yarra
Street. The power station eventually powered the entire town and
nearby farmhouses. Despite having the modern convenience of
electricity, the townsite was still amid the wilderness of
Right: Mrs Maggie Kroschel in Carnamah
"Charlie Kroschel had 40 acres off Yarri Road. He grew
vegetables and used to get someone to put in a crop. He used to walk out
there every day and worked all day in his vegetable garden. Mrs Kroschel was in the shop."
-- Cyril Rayner
Below: Salt & Pepper Shakers from the tearooms
"The Depression arrived. The price of wheat dropped overnight. No
one had any money."
-- Don Reynolds
Charlie and Maggie Kroschel struggled financially during the early years
of the Great Depression. They had their telephone disconnected in the
early 1930s as one of many ways to try and save money. In 1935 they
closed their tearooms and leased its building to
. These two single entrepreneurs had been running a competing
tearooms further up Macpherson Street. Misses Giles and Stephens moved
their Pyramid Tea Rooms into the premises at 10 Macpherson Street, and
also had beds for boarders in the adjoining house.
Carnamah's First Fridge
Giles and Stephens had purchased Carnamah’s first fridge in 1933, which was
a Quirk's Electric Refrigerator and Ice-Maker.
Up until that time
all businesses and homes had used cellars or Coolgardie safes to keep
their food cool. To enable the fridge to be used, Parkin & Son began
providing the town with electricity continuously, it having previously
gone off every night. The North Midland Times newspaper remarked that
the power staying on all day and night "should be of great convenience".
Misses Giles and Stephens left Carnamah in 1938 and the tearooms
taken over by Charlie and Maggie Kroschel's daughter and son-in-law,
and Ned Wells. Behind the scenes it was always extremely busy. There were
boarders who lived there, Mrs Wells was usually in the kitchen cooking
and staff would be moving back and fourth taking orders and serving food.
A number of men had their lunch there each day and would wander
straight to the kitchen and serve themselves. It was wondered how
Peg and Ned ever made any money with such an arrangement, however they very
successfully ran the tearooms for over 20 years.
Above: Promotional Fans
At one point there were four tearooms in Carnamah. Wells' had the
advantage at 10 Macpherson Street as it was easily able to sell
meals and drinks during the intermission of movies, which were shown
across the road at the Carnamah Hall.
"Whenever there were pictures on in the hall they were open for
the interval. People flocked over to the café for drinks etc. Then
after the pictures were over, some people used to go there. Mrs
Wells catered for weddings and parties – often in the Town Hall.
She also catered for the Road Board meals on meeting day. Peg did a lot of catering. She was a good cook and a good manager and had good
staff. They had a lot of customers." -- Cyril Rayner
Right: 1942 advertisement for pictures, or movies,
screened at the Carnamah Hall and also in Coorow and Three Springs
Ned and Peg Wells divorced in 1960 and sold the tearooms to Lloyd
Lapsley. He lived in Perth and rented the building to John and Doris
Gooch, who ran the tearooms and boarding house.
After the Gooch family left in 1967, the tearooms were run by a few
different people for shorter periods of time. The name was briefly
changed to Jolly Jack's with the catchline "Shop Fully Air
Conditioned For Your Comfort".
"I can remember the big tins of Mills & Ware's biscuits. Biscuits
were sold loose. We sold ice creams – 6d a cone with chocolate on
top. They used to show movies at the back of the old
Hall. If we were at the show we had to dash back at interval to help
serve in the shop. Mum’s specialty was pasties."
-- Gordon Gooch
In 1986 the kitchen and house adjoining the tearooms was demolished
and the remaining portion became a branch of the sports betting Totalisator Agency Board (TAB). Joe Clancy and then Colleen Bennier
ran the T.A.B. at 10 Macpherson Street, which opened on Friday
evenings and all day on Saturdays.
"It was just betting on horses and dogs in those days.
Cannington horse races and always Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne and
Sydney horse races, sometimes Bunbury Cup. It was a good crew, we
had a lot of laughs. It wasn't that they gambled a lot of money - it
was social and was an interest and hobby. They tried to close us
down two years before it did, but we fought it."
Radio from the Carnamah T.A.B.
After placing bets the T.A.B.'s customers would eagerly listen to
the races and commentary on this radio. At the end they'd have a
joke and laugh about who'd won and lost.