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Cash Railway @ Hattam's Menswear

Home > Melbourne > Antiques | Shopping | Vintage and Retro
by Debbie Lustig (subscribe)
My work has been published in The Age, The Herald-Sun, The Australian, The Big Issue, Australian Birdlife, The Bark (USA), Eureka Street, Overland and The Australian Jewish News.
Published February 18th 2012
Hattam's Menswear

Cash railways were systems of wires and pulleys that transported money around a shop. Many exist but only two in Victoria are believed to be in working order and Hattam's Menswear is the proud owner of one.
Image the Cash Railway Website


Devised in the 1880s, cash railways enabled shop assistants to have cash removed to a central cash register without leaving their position on the floor. The money was loaded into lidded pots or cups and taken away via gravity or spring-loaded wire pulleys.

Modern supermarkets do much the same thing using pneumatic tubes to remove the takings of every checkout to a central collection point.

Hattam's is very proud of its genuine retail oddity, and the salespeople will gladly demonstrate how it works.
Window display, Hattam's Menswear

Even without its piece of retail history, Hattam's Menswear is worth a visit as an old-school shop. Its price signs are all hand-lettered; its shop fittings are circa 1930s; its sales staff are very professional, and it has a great range of solid, conservative men's and boy's gear.

Everything from shirts to long johns is stocked and weekly specials might include King Gee shorts, Lee jeans or pure wool workmen's socks.

One of the cash cups. Image The Cash Railway Website

Hattams Menswear was begun in Sale in 1879 during the gold rush, by the current owner's great grandfather. After moving to Bourke Street, City, it relocated to Elsternwick in 1932. The current owner represents the fourth generation in the business.
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Why? Because it's a genuine piece of retail history
Where: 383 Glenhuntly Road, Elsternwick
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