Bottle And Collectables Club of WA 

Bottles and Collectables of WA
PO Box 47, Inglewood WA 6932

Collectively Speaking Mag

The club has a magazine  "Collectively Speaking" which is released every three months to members. It contains all the club news, notifications on upcoming events, like auctions, digs, social events, and  show and tell items from our club meetings. Most of all it contains interesting social history articles researched by our members on various historical subjects or cool drink related manufacturers from all over Western Australia. This is a great way to share knowledge and research and a fantastic collectable in its own right. 

Below is just an example of the great articles that have been published, and also an indexed listing of the articles we have so far accumulated. 

The Magazine is a members only subscription so if you would like to join, you will also receive this interesting mag as part of your membership subscription ($40 annually)

Contact Us to arrange your membership application form.

Collectively Speaking Magazine

Extract from Edition 4   October 2017


Alf Elliss - Cordial Maker

By Richard Boyd

Mr Alfred John Elliss himself was born in 1867 in Paradise South Australia and spent the first 20 years of his life there. He proceeded firstly to NSW and then in 1892 proceeded to the Southern Cross goldrush, where he found employment with Cobb and Co coaches under the ownership of Issac Jacob Cohn(I.J.K Cohn).

It is surmised that he saw the money to be had from an aerated water business as I.J.K Cohn used his coaches to deliver aerated waters to numerous gold mining centres and his own held pubs that his coaches serviced. Cohn serviced hotels with his aerated waters so it is reasonable to assume that as a driver Alf Elliss got to witness the potential business benefits in having a well-situated hotel and having an aerated water business servicing whole districts.

Elliss is first found running a Fruit and general Goods business in Menzies in 1897. In 1899 Alf Elliss is recorded in newspapers as being a Cordial Manufacturer at Menzies under Charlton Young

Alf is next found in Wises Post Office Directory for the year 1900 as a Cordial Manufacturer in Malcolm. Strangely all future mention of his aerated water factory is at the nearby town of Anaconda and his Aerated Waters business is not mentioned again in Malcolm newspapers..

This set of entries implies Alf Elliss probably learnt his aerated water manufacturing trade under Charlton Youngs so that suggests he first came to Malcolm township plying this trade. He did not advertise in the Malcolm Chronicle newspaper in any way in the period 1900 to 1903 but when he took over the Railway Hotel in 1903 he advertised his hotel on page 1 of that Malcolm Chronicle every week up until he sold out in 1914.

According to The Malcolm Chronicle. Alfred Elliss took over running The Railway Hotel Malcolm on December 1st 1903. Alfred got married in NSW to Annie Bertha Himmler on 13th June 1894, and his wife returned with him to Malcolm to assist in running the hotel while Alfred continued his aerated water business at Anaconda with the intention of supplying all centres between Leonora to Laverton.

Elliss’s bottles do not have a town name on them, much like Chartlon Young who also had no town name, and who advertised his aerated waters across the whole Kookynie to Niagara to Menzies area. It appears Elliss sought to capture more than the Malcolm town or the Railway Hotel pub trade with his aerated waters and may have got this business idea from Charlton Young when he worked for him in Menzies in 1900.

One may ask why did Alf Elliss start an aerated water factory down the road from Malcolm at Anaconda. Anaconda was an early base metals settlement and was one of the earliest copper mines in W.A. during the gold mining heydays of the 1890’s. Anaconda also had gold and silver deposits and in recent mining booms was mined extensively as a massive open-cut mine.

Anaconda miners had uncovered a good supply of underground fresh water in a district that newspapers noted in articles had a “hard” or mineralized water supply problem. Elliss needed a soft water supply to produce a good aerated water product as aerated water journals and trade magazines warned about scale buildup within aerated water machines and the effect on taste and quality of the use of impure waters.

The Anaconda operation appears to have started about mid 1900 which may coincide with Elliss’s shift from Menzies. Labour would have been required to run both the hotel and the Aerated water factory so one as conjecture might suggest perhaps he and the wife ran the hotel and a manager ran the aerated water factory, which he rode out to supervise from time to time.

Elliss also appeared in the local papers soon after taking over the Railway Hotel Malcolm in December 1903 expanding his business appeal and opportunities. In January, 1904, The Malcolm Chronicle reported that:

“The Publicans booth in connection with the Malcolms Racing Club’s meeting today was purchased by Mr A. Elliss for 21 pounds. The refreshment booth was also knocked down to the same buyer at 1 pound, 2 shillings and sixpence”.

Elliss also tried to increase the appeal of using his new pub. Not long after taking over the Railway Hotel there appeared a notice(Figure 5) that Alf Foden who was registered by the WATC (West Australian Trotting Club) was now operating out of the billiard room of the Railway Hotel Malcolm. He was offering a starting price on all events and so he was running a wagering book or gambling service on horses.

This hotel attraction may have got Elliss into trouble with the law for The Malcolm Chronicle published a news report on December 4th 1903 that:

“Alf Elliss was proceeded against by Constable Blake for permitting gambling on his licensed premises. He was fined 1 pound and costs”.

Ellis may have had his own gardens growing to assist with supplying the hotel fresh vegetables. This is because he posted a notice all through 1904 in the local newspaper that:

“Persons trespassing on garden areas known as Dimetrios and Walsh’s will be prosecuted.

Pigs, fowls, goats etc found trespassing will be destroyed - Alf Elliss Malcolm”.

Sydney Charles Fowler, late of Leonora and Bulong, took over the Exchange Hotel at Malcolm, which was situated in Star street, by September 1904. His marble bottle from Leonora with the swan pictorial, rates as one of Western Australia’s best goldfields pictorial marble bottles.

Page 1 of the Malcolm Chronicle newspaper had in its first column at one stage 3 consecutive adverts for hoteliers(Peter Hill, Alf Elliss and Syd Fowler), whose marble bottles are the among the rarest in the goldfields!!

Alf Elliss had an aerated water factory fire that destroyed his factory and may possibly be a reason why his codds are so rare or maybe why his codd design changed from one embossing to another. In the Malcolm Chronicle on 24th February 1905 it was reported that:

“On Saturday last a fire occurred at Mr Alf Elliss cordial factory at Anaconda, and a considerable amount of damage was done before the fire was got under control. A portion of the factory and stable was destroyed, and a horse in one of the stalls at the time was burned to such an extent that it afterwards succumbed to its injuries. The property was uninsured.”.

This was a setback to Elliss as being uninsured was a risk that many businesses did not recover from. The listing for Alf Elliss from Wises Post Office Directory shows that after 1905 Alf Elliss was no longer mentioned as a Cordial Maker at Malcolm or Anaconda, but instead from 1905 till 1913 he is continually listed as being the proprietor of The Railway Hotel Malcolm.

The strange thing is I could never find a single advert for Alf Elliss and his cordial business at any stage from c.1903 till 1914. This compares to his savvy first page advert for his Railway Hotel which was a consistent presence in the local paper right through that same time period.

His time as the proprietor of the Railway Hotel in Malcolm was not without incident. In 1904 The Malcolm Chronicle reported an incident involving the horse and buggy teams that he kept at the Railway station that as a service could take passengers to his hotel or into the district or town.

The account states that:

“On Wednesday two horses attached to a cab, the property of Mr Alf Elliss, proprietor of the Railway Hotel, bolted from the railway station. Starting from the railway the runaways turned into Dover Street, then down Gem street, until the vehicle collided with Cobb and Co’s office verandah, which was considerably damaged,

Little or no damage was sustained by the horses or vehicle”.

On the 25th November, 1904, the Malcolm Chronicle carried a birth notice for a birth of a daughter to the wife of Clarence Elliss. Interestingly, from November 1904 adverts started to appear on page 3 of the weekly Malcolm Chronicle for a Mrs C. Elliss, FRUITERER AND CONFECTIONER in Star street Malcolm.

The advert noted that “only the best of fruit, vegetables and confectionery stocked”. Also that “COOL DRINKS and ICE CREAM were specialties, and the business possessed a Waiting Room and a Saloon for travellers. Possibly it was an extension of the Railway hotel given it offered a Saloon as part of its service!!

Another bottling works existed in Malcolm which did not show up in advertisements but was noticed through a short article in The Malcolm Chronicle in January 1905. The article reported that:

“On Tuesday a Brown Snake, measuring 8 feet 8 inches long, was killed in the Bottling Works building of Messrs Stareke & Co. On Wednesday, in the same premises, another snake, of similar measurement, was seen but escaped”.

Another disastrous fire for Malcolm township was that of the Northern Brewery at Malcolm.

The fire was reported in The Malcolm Chronicle in March 1905 as:

“Shortly after midnight on. Sunday a fire occurred at the Malcolm brewery and a considerable amount of damage resulted. It is thought that the fire was caused by. sparks being blown from the furnace which had been lit up in preparatory for brewing,

Thompson the manager of the brewery, had gone to bed and when he and one of the employees had been awakened. The fire had set such a strong hold of the mash room, and building office.that

it was impossible to enter them.

Bv dint of hard work; however; the cellar was saved and also the engine room and fermenting room. In addition to the buildings which were gutted, a considerable amount of plant and stock was also


The buildings were constructed of brick and owned by Mr Chas Sommers, from whom it

was leased by a local syndicate. The latter were also heavy losers. The. insurers, if any, are not available for comment”.

The Malcolm Chronicle newspaper ends on the Trove website in April 1905. Further research from family research notes documents that it appears that Alf Elliss and his family left Malcolm in 1914. World War One had started and the town was going into decline due to falling gold output in the major mines that saw them abandoned and the miner’s leave the area either for opportunity or to sign up to fight in the war.

The start of World War One saw many who never lived through the war, and of those who lived and returned, many took up farming or took up city jobs. Malcolm was in terminal decline and although the train line stayed open it was no longer a point of disembarkment for many people.

Alf Elliss and his family relocated to Norwood South Australia where he lived till he died in 1925. His wife died in 1928.

Alf Elliss produced two different design marble bottles which were all Niagara patents, and each type came in a big 10z size and a smaller 6 oz size. They are all rare and this article helps to explain why that may be so.

Richard Boyd


1)The Malcolm Chronicle and Leonora Advertiser Newspapers – 1897 to 1905 from Trove website.

2) Coolgardie Miner Newspaper, Vol No 2, 10th April 1898, Page 2

3) Wikipedia website

4) Elliss Family genealogy and research notes into Alf Elliss.

5) The Murchison Times and Day Dawn Gazette, Oct 7, 1899. Page 2

6) Trove website

Collectively Speaking Magazine

Extract from Edition 7 July 2018



Since the first petrol driven car was sold in Perth in 1902, motoring enthusiasts have made a steadily increasingly impact on the vehicular traffic in WA. By 1905, it was recognised that a collective group or “club” of likeminded individuals would be of benefit to the group. Consequently the Automobile Club of WA was formed in January 1905.

Although the number of cars on the roads was increasing, there was little in the way of support for the new motoring public. There were few garages or even people who knew much about repairing or maintaining the vehicles when something went wrong. Even simple tasks such as filling the petrol tank were a trial as few petrol stations existed in the early days of motoring history. Early vehicles were often maintained by coach builders who had more normal trade in building horse drawn vehicles and carriages.

The new club’s members and motoring enthusiasts worked to change the view of the motoring public by supporting others that shared their passion for the automobile. In the process they also helped to establish vehicle related laws making the roads safer for their own members, and road users in WA.

The RAC badge: A status symbol

The first RAC badges were silver plated nickel and mounted onto the front bumper bar of members’ cars as a way of displaying membership. Due to the fact that early cars were mostly owned by wealthy, the displaying of the RAC badge on the front of the car became an added status symbol. Early badges have their membership numbers stamped into the metal.

The first badge, featuring WA's black swan, was produced in 1910. Given the status symbol of the badges, sellers sometimes left the badge on a vehicle to make it more attractive to potential buyers. In 1916 the club cracked down on rogue RAC badge-toting cars driving Perth streets.


In 1915 the Club became affiliated with the Royal Automobile Club of England. In 1916 new badge was created and while the swan remained the central feature and the word “Royal” was added. The new badges were solid brass and nickel and were made by Cumpston in Perth. In 1924 the badges were changed to hollow caste and these new badges were made by Sheridans Perth.


The badges remained unchanged for 26 year. A complete change in design was introduced in 1950 when the diamond shape was adopted. The features of this design were a blue backing plate which served to highlight the King’s Crown at the top and letters RAC in the center. This style of badge continued to be used for the next 40 years. In 1990’s a small barrel shaped badge was introduced. This new design was intended to be bolted to the vehicle’s registration plate.

Metal badges are no longer produced by RAC for members. RAC has over 840,000 members across the State.

Early RAC roadside member services were provided by a fleet of motorcycles equipped with side cars, however, these days fleet of distinctive yellow vans provides emergency roadside assistance to members.


Article by - Jenny Lowicki