Portal 3: Mothers Little Helpers

A beautiful stained glass panel has been unveiled in what used to be a very busy chemist shop owned by four hardworking pharmacists  at 113 Main St.

Robert James Harvey opened his pharmacy in 1926 with his sideline being a dentist’s surgery in the back room. Following in his father’s footsteps, Robert Stewart Harvey took over the business to allow his father to concentrate on dentistry.

The Main St building looked resplendent with its elaborate cedar display cases, coloured chemist bottles, numerous cedar drawers, mortar and pestles and  other pharmaceutical equipment.

Preserving the old world interior, Mr Brian Blackie and his wife Trish (well- known current residents) purchased the shop in 1967 where Brian practised being a “Bush Pharmacist with all the demands that entails. Being a lone pharmacist town, meant life was far from boring, and the working hours most demanding

Over the ensuring 37 years, he watched the fashions of pharmacy come and go, new drugs, new regulations and the ongoing fight to preserve the ideals of pharmacy.

As well as being an avid collector of 250  cameras, Mr Blackie worked in news filming for the local stations and the ABC, rephotographed historic photos and took still photos and videos of weddings.

On retirement in 2006, the Blackies handed over to the Miegel family who eventually sold the shop to move across the road into  more modern premises. Story has it that there are still used pharmacy prescription pads deposited in piles in cavities beside the front windows of the old shop!

Glass artist, Hilton Newitt from Chiltern, in his work titled ‘ Mothers Little Helpers’ has depicted various unusual drugs from over the years and the traditional chemist scales in colours to mirror the gorgeous leadlight panels above the main window.

Arts Rutherglen is so appreciative of Hilton’s painstaking skills in stained glass and etching and grateful to Phill and Karen Seymour who jumped on board with the Portals concept so enthusiastically. And of course our local historian, Judy Harrison.

Brian Blackie inside his chemist shop

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About The Artist: Hilton Newitt

  •  1978 – Commenced apprenticeship and career in Art Glass under guidance of Brian Mellows of Living Glass in Elgin St Carlton, carrying out works in leadlight, acid etching and sandblasting of glass.
  • 1983 – Became one of a five member partnership in an expanded Living Glass and proceeded to produce large volumes of continuous pattern etched glass by way of screen printing.
  • 1986 – I resigned from the partnership and continued in Art Glass and general glazing from my home at Flowerdale.
  •  1988 – Moved to Beechworth and opened Beechworth Glass & Leadlight, carrying out minor and major restoration and repairs to church windows in Benalla, Beechworth, Yackandandah, Chiltern, Howlong, Corowa, Numurkah and Myrtleford.
  • 2003 – Moved to Chiltern and continued my business under the name of Indigo Glass from my home / workshop.