- 90 Churchill Street, Childers QLD 4660
- Opening hours
- Monday - Friday, 9am - 3pm; Saturday 9am - 1pm; other times by appointment
- Adult $5; Concession $4.50; Family $12; Tour Group $4p/p
The bustling town of Childers in the North Burnett was first opened up to timber-getting during the 1850s and 1860s. As the township developed, it drew Thomas Gaydon, who opened the chemist shop in the town in 1894. Gaydon was Childers’ first chemist, dentist, optician, vet and photographer.
A devastating fire in 1902 destroyed much of the central business district including Gaydon’s chemist shop. It was rebuilt later that year and the internal shop fittings were made of local cedar and highly polished. Laid without grout, the decorative tiled floor remains intact today and is a reminder of the beauty added to early commercial premises.
Change was slow in Childers and modernisation kept to a minimum. However, Gaydon continued to improve his business and installed a new National Cash Register, which he purchased for sixty pounds. It cost the same as a 3-bedroomed house in Childers at that time.
After Thomas Gaydon’s death in 1935, the chemist shop continued to dispense medications until 1982 when the last chemist died suddenly. His wife continued to trade in soaps, perfumes and gift lines leaving the dispensary closed with its contents untouched. She continued trading until 1987 when she retired and sold the intact collection to the local council, who quickly identified its historical importance to the region.
Located in the centre of historic Childers, the chemist shop now operates as a museum named The Old Pharmacy. It houses an enormous collection left over from Thomas Gaydon and is one of only two intact early chemist shops in Australia. Visitors to the Old Pharmacy can now view the mysterious potions and early hand-made medications from 1894 and changes in pharmaceutical practices up to 1982. The internal original fixtures and the beautiful mosaic tiled floor offer a visual escapade into an earlier time. Combined with the guided tour, which presents the history of the shop and dispensary in an interesting and engaging manner, the demonstrations, including pill-rolling and label-making, complete a comprehensive and educational visitor experience.