Tourism tourism

Dowerin Museum - Saddlery Shop

In the shop at the back of the block you will find the saddlery machinery and equipment from Eugene O’Shaughnessy’s saddlery business. When Eugene retired his son Pat took over the shop, but the demand for saddles and harness had declined so Pat made sandals, football boots and canvas blinds with the same machinery and traded as the Dowerin Sports Depot.

In the corner of the shop are 2 machines that came from the Commercial Hotel in Dowerin. Before there was a cool drink factory in Goomalling, the hotel used to make its own aerated waters for mixers – soda water, lemonade, ginger beer – and the machines that did the aeration and that sealed the bottles are here now.

The Commercial Hotel was built by Friederich Liebe, who was apprenticed as a builder in Germany before working on buildings in Vienna, on the Budapest Opera House and the parliament building in Bulgaria.

He moved to Melbourne and then to Perth in 1892 and went on to erect some of Perth’s most imposing buildings including His Majesty’s Theatre, the art gallery and the Peninsula Hotel

In 1908 Liebe secured 2400 ha of land at Wubin, and in 1914 with the downturn in building he concentrated on wheat production.

In the 1929-30 season his crop yielded 100,000 bags of wheat, an Australian and possibly world, individual record.

Because of the depressed market he claimed to have lost money, but he sold his city properties, extended his overdraft and began to raise sheep.