My Job As An Apprentice Baker

Jim in his baking uniform

Jim in his baking uniform

I worked for A R Kerslake of Berowra between January 1944 and June 1950. His business was located at the beginning of Berowra Waters Road near the Pacific Highway.

My wage was f1.10.0 per week and was 2/6 above the award. (A tradesman’s wage in 1948 was f7.11.0 & in 1950 f9.13.0)

I assisted in making the dough between 7&8 pm. Mr Kerslake then prepared the dough about 2am. He then set the alarm for me to get up as I slept in a room on the adjacent house verandah. I would then prepare the dough and remove some from the trough ready for weighing and dividing for the tins.

I would then wake the boss about 3am.

We had a dough mixer and later a machine for dividing the dough when weighed and ready for placing into the tins for the oven.

Once the bread was baked in a wood fired oven and stacked on a racked trolly we would have breakfast.
The boss would load the van for deliveries and I would clean and grease the tins, and put a bag of flour in the mixer ready for that night. I would clean the firebox and cart wood in for the next morning’s baking.
We produced about 300 loaves of white and 50 of brown bread.

When I started work at the bakery we worked for 5 1/2 days. Later this was reduced to 5days. Bread was 5 pence a loaf in 1943 and 51/2 pence about 1944.

Jim Hatfield

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