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Street sellers and their chants


Sydney must have been a very noisy place when one considers the large number of street vendors that frequented the place from the earliest times – and most of them shouted their ‘cries’ to attract clientele.
Saveloys Throat Cutters was the name given to saveloy sellers who would knife a slit down the saveloy and sprinkle it with vinegar.

“What has become of the street cries we used to hear? Where is the muffin man? Where is the young lettuces, young eschalots and watercress? And last, but not least, the saveloy “All hot”? In fancy I hear the cry and likewise certain small voices which follow in the footsteps of the vendor to get that question. “What ya choke ya muther wid? And the reply would quickly come “Hot saveloys“..
From the Old Sydney Column by Old Chum. Truth Newspaper 1919

Pies One pie seller had a little stove set up on his cart not unlike a ship’s portable galley. His street cry was:
Now then young ‘ens, wot’s for you? Tater? Sav’loy? Where’s your brown?
Melbourne. Paddy’s Market. Bourke St. from The Aust Jnl 1868/69
Matches “Wax matches! Wax matches!”
Melbourne. Paddy’s Market. Bourke St. from The Aust Jnl 1868/69
Fine Wax Lights “four boxes for a shilling”
Melbourne. Paddy’s Market. Bourke St. from The Aust Jnl 1868/69
Oysters “six pence a plate.”
Melbourne. Paddy’s Market. Bourke St. from The Aust Jnl 1868/69
Cherries “Cherry ripe, Cherry ripe,
Fresh as daisies and sweet as sugar at tuppence a pound.
Nothing finer in the markets. Come and taste ’em I say.
As cheap as dirt – sold again!”
Melbourne. Paddy’s Market. Bourke St. from The Aust Jnl 1868/69
Newspapers “Daily Age, Daily Argus, Examiner, Star.. one penny. All the latest items by Panama mail – just arrived – all then latest news from Panama and New Zealand. Latest of the week.”
Melbourne. Paddy’s Market. Bourke St. from The Aust Jnl 1868/69
Cakes “Fine Banbury cakes and mutton pies. All hot and smoking. All piping hot.”
From Sydney Scene 1962 referring to 1828 “the cries are pure cockney.. Perfect in the tune from the deep guttural to the shrill and plaintive cadence”.
Clothes Clothes Props:
“Clothes’ Props, Cloth Props, Per-rops!”

Clothing and general goods
“Must be sold – the property of a gen’lman as can’t keep hisself out of the work’us any longer.”
“Selling off. Selling off… for the benefit of the poor to keep rich out of the work house”
All Sydney calls. Aust Jnl 1867

Cress & Prawns Sydney The Rocks 1910: “Cress and fine salty prawns”
from the Mitchell Library

Travellers arriving at Manly Pier around the turn of the century 1900 would hear: “Fresh cooked ‘arbour prawns. Sixpence a pint.”
From Manly Daily 1971 as recalled by Capt Henderson.

Hot Cross Buns “One a penny two a penny
Hot cross buns Hot cross buns
One for your daughters two for your sons
Hot cross buns.”
Sydney 1850s Cyril Pearl ‘Book of Bacchus’
Garden Honey Street call of Billy Huntingdon who was also known as garden honey: “Garden honey. A shillin’ a bottle. Fine fresh garden honey.”
from the Mitchell Library
Smokes “A cigar and a light!”
from the Mitchell Library
Daises Grandma Duffy at paddy’s 1860s:
“posies and nice fine roses”
from the Mitchell Library
Soap “The celebrated soap which will remove stains from all sorts of linen. An invaluable boon to the public – removes kerosene and oil of all sorts.”
(Bourke St soap seller)
Lotteries Sydney lottery seller” “All Prizes – no blanks – take a chance”
1867 Aust Jnl

“Lotteries by a numbered ticket. The duck doesn’t care who wins.”
RHS 1916 by Capt Grieves.

Cakes DETAILS coming
Rabbits Sydney streets: “Rabbits, Rabbits, Raaabits – two for one and sixpence, rabbits”
Alehouse “Roll up, Roll up Roll up ladies and gentlemen… great novelties tonight and no extra charge – the same old refreshment – ticket – admission and a glass of the best ale or spirits for sixpence.”
From Colonial Life a trip to Spring Creek, Victoria. 1850/60s
Bell Ringer The Bell Man was common before the establishment of a government printer. He rang a bell and called out the government orders of the day.
Sydney Gazette
Watchman The Sydney Watchman called out the hour and “all’s well’ at midnight. He wore a special uniform and carried a long staff (to be used as a baton if necessary).
Sydney Gazette
Town Crier Town Crier of Sydney in 1839 was named Saville. His is recorded as crying:
“Oyez! Oyez! here you peoples that this day a child has been lost in the scrub wearing a blue dress and hat with pink ribbons. Anyone giving information of its whereabouts to the distressed parents will be handsomely rewarded… God save the Queen.”
From Old Times Magazine 1903.