More than just a Chemist

barossa history

More than just a Chemist

words by
luke rothe
>> Arthur Reusch Nuriootpa Chemist c.1940s. Main Image - Reusch’s Corner early 1970s - Note the red double Post Office phone box.

Warnecke’s long running Chemist & Druggist store in Gawler Street, Nuriootpa closed around 1922, leaving an opening for a new pharmacist in town.

On Friday, February 10, 1928, Arthur Reusch (1903-1983) opened the ‘Barossa Pharmacy’ on the corner of Gawler and Murray Street, Nuriootpa, opposite the busy Post Office.

The interior shop fittings, constructed by Nuriootpa carpenter, Carl Juncken, were reported as ‘pleasing to the eye’ The Leader February 16, 1928. 

Carl built an area for developing and printing photographs which allowed Arthur to expand his interest in photography, as well as creating sets of local postcards.

The new venture prospered and the following year the shop was already being remodelled.

Arthur installed an ‘electric soda fountain’, ready for the Summer of 1929. 

Carbonated beverages of various flavours and pure fruit drinks were dispensed, while the ‘ice-cream department’ was serving nut sundaes. 

Just a few weeks later November 21, 1929, The Leader reported that Arthur had ‘One of the finest Christmas displays in the district.’ 

To entice customers, he was offering a free ‘dainty fan to each lady purchaser’ and each child received a ‘pretty painting book’ (see photo)

The shop was transformed into a huge display of giftware and toys including lollies and chocolates, books and novels, silver and brassware, sports equipment, pipes and cigarettes, clocks, barometers and radio sets.

Radio sales were an important part of the new business.

>> Early Barossa Pharmacy packaging.
>> Complimentary children’s paint books and ladies fan, c.1929.

During the 1930s ‘Reusch’s Radio Service’ was operating out of the Nuriootpa store, expanding to include a service centre at Angaston. 

‘Radio and electrical sales and service’ including sales of ‘Hecla and Hotpoint electric appliances and home lighting plants‘ were advertised. 

The business provided a ‘competent mechanic and complete plant’ to back each radio sold ‘to give full satisfaction’.

Around the 1940s Reusch’s Barossa Sports Depot was advertising a range of tennis and cricket equipment including ‘the new Don Bradman steel shafted bats.’

The diversity of Barossa Pharmacy may have led to its success.

Advertising from the 1930s show that Arthur sold homoeopathic and veterinary medicines using his own ‘Brosa’ brand. 

The store also compounded and dispensed pharmaceuticals and stocked the Nyal brand chemist range. 

In 1938 Nuriootpa Centennial Park opened the ‘Arthur Reusch Children’s Playground’, in honour of Arthur’s work at the new park and in the town. 

He held numerous voluntary positions including Chairman of the Nuriootpa Community Centre in the 1940s. 

An OBE was awarded to Arthur in 1971 for his services to the community.

Arthur’s son, John Reusch registered ‘J. Reusch’s Barossa Pharmacy’ from 1973-1991. 

After the business was sold, a chemist shop remained on this corner until being relocated to the newly built Co-op Store mall in 1998.

‘Barossa Pharmacy’ medicine bottles, ointment pots and jars, along with numerous receipts, calendars and brochures survive as testament to this once thriving corner store, known locally as Reusch’s Corner.

>> Arthur Reusch advertising 1930s -1940s.

Luke Rothe

Local Barossa historian and enthusiast
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