The Up to Date Store Cultural Centre
The site where the Up-to-Date Store now stands was purchased at Coolamon’s second public auction sale in May 1883. The land passed through several hands over the years and was eventually taken over by Frederick `Daddy' Hall and commenced trading as the Up-to-Date Store.
Nicholas Mutton purchased the Store in 1908. Mr Mutton’s desire was to erect a building that would be leased out as a general store to meet the needs of the thriving town of Coolamon.
Built in 1909 to replace the original weatherboard building, the present store was commissioned and owned by Nicholas Mutton with the business being leased to Nadin, Iverach & Denoon. Mutton entered into a succession of leases, the final being with W. A. Iverach. The building operated as a general store until 1932, when Mr Iverach relocated his business to a more central main street site.
The Mutton Family then continued to use the precinct as a storage area and workshop. After 80 years of ownership, Mutton & Co sold the Store in 1987. For the next 10 years, a second-hand and antiques business operated in the Store.
With the urging of the community, the Coolamon Shire Council purchased the property in 1996. The Store is now celebrated as a Cultural Facility & Museum as part of the Up-to-Date Learning & Cultural Centre.
The Store boasts its original fittings including the Lamson Cash Railway, which is the only known Ball- Style Cash Railway System in the world that is still in its original location. The Ball Style Cash Railway is the predecessor to the later models of cash carriers including the spring loaded ‘flying fox’ and the pneumatic systems that can still be found in department stores, today.
Sturdy wooden counters, shelves, benches and floors bear the physical imprint of the many thousands of customers and staff that moved through the interior over the years. The elegantly vaulted, wood-lined ceilings seem to echo with the countless voices of half a century.
The cellar was used for cool storage for cheese, eggs, hams and fish. It is amazing to read that as early as February 1907, fresh seafood could be purchased at the Store.
Designed and built to serve the people of the Coolamon district, the Up-to-Date Store resonates with the memories of the community. The Store was divided into several different departments that included grocery, ironmongery, crockery, drapery, mercery, millinery, haberdashery, clothing and footwear. In fact, it is true that anything and everything, from a plough to a piano could be purchased from the Up-To-Date Store.
The Store remains as a visual reminder of the ingenuity and skill of local architects, builders and the retail traders and their staff. It also remains as a focus for the collective memories of the people who, over the years, have called Coolamon ‘home’. The Up-to-Date Store’s social and historical significance was acknowledged with its listing on the State Heritage Register in 2006.
The Centre Today
The Up-to-Date Store Cultural Precinct (UTDS) is a community asset owned by the Coolamon Shire Council. The UTDS is recognised as a location of heritage significance in the Shire. During the past twelve months significant development has been undertaken at the UTDS and as a result of this work, the UTDS now incorporates the following areas:
- UTDS (The Store) – A space of historical significance which includes one of the last known fully functioning ‘Lampson Cash Machines’. ‘The Store’ also houses the ‘Mavis Furner Collection’ and provides a space for travelling exhibitions, Art Shows and seminars.
- The Garth Jones Collection – A collection of historical items of farming heritage with considerable importance to the story of the Coolamon Shire.
- The RSL Memorial Museum – Housing a collection of items of military history with a predominantly local reference. The collection also includes a photographic record of members of the local community who have served in the Armed Forces.
- The Reg Godde Collection – The newest collection to be added to the UTDS. The collection forms a display of miniature farm machinery constructed by Mr Reg Godde. This collection is expected to open in early 2012.
- The Coolamon Library – The Coolamon Library has been integrated into the UTDS. The library is separately managed and operates outside the scope of the UTDS and as such, is not part of this plan.
- Ajanta Café – The Ajanta Café is a privately operated commercial concern, which is currently overseen by Coolamon Shire Council and is not part of this plan.