Childers heritage building marks 125 years

Gaydon's Building will mark its 125th anniversary this year .

Gaydon’s Building stands in the main street of Childers, a pivotal representation of the glorious era when the heritage buildings that define the town were constructed.

The building will mark its 125th anniversary this year with a quiet celebration planned for the June 1 event.

The two-storey Gaydon’s Building is currently occupied by local dentist Brett Phillips through to the upstairs level while the Isis District Historical Society operate the Pharmaceutical Museum located on the ground floor.

Dr Phillips said the original Gaydon’s Building, a single-storey structure, was built in 1894 and was home to Gaydon’s Pharmacy operated by a leading Childers businessman, Thomas Gaydon.

“Unfortunately the disastrous fire of 1902 which ravaged the main street of Childers claimed the building and 22 other premises,” he said.

“Thomas Gaydon rebuilt and resumed his thriving business. He was a versatile man carrying out the duties of chemist, dentist, optician, vet, anaesthetist at the local hospital and town photographer.

“Incidentally, the beautiful facades including pediments, urns and balustrades that now are an indelible part of Churchill Street – Gaydon’s Building included – were designed by prominent Bundaberg architect Frederic Herbert Faircloth who was largely responsible for the design of almost every major building in Bundaberg,” said Dr Phillips.

Thomas Gaydon
Gaydon’s Pharmacy was operated by Childers businessman, Thomas Gaydon.

“A collection of 400 of Thomas Gaydon’s photographs in both negative and glass plate form have been digitally preserved by the Bundaberg Regional Library with the images featuring local families and buildings.

“The former Isis Shire Council ensured the preservation of the pharmacy and its collection of antique chemist collectables. Council learned in December 1986 that fixtures and fittings associated with the former Gaydon’s Pharmacy were to be sold to southern interests and removed from the town.

“Council purchased the collection and in August the following year reopened the premises as a Pharmaceutical Museum and Tourist Information Centre.”

Building history

Dr Phillips said a centenary celebration was held for Gaydon’s Building in 1994 and attracted a crowd in excess of 5000. There were 75 stalls booked for the event which required the closure of the main street service lane between Ashby Lane to the south and Childers Motel to the north.

“Representatives from the National Trust were present and many of the local shop owners and their staff dressed in period costume.

“Gaydon’s Building holds the dual distinction of being the oldest dental surgery in Australia and oldest Pharmaceutical Museum in Australia.

“The 125 year anniversary will be a little lower key but we still have a number of initiatives planned to ensure this magnificent building and the Gaydon name is appropriately recognised. There are many great heritage facades lining the main street of Childers but Gaydon’s is a standout.”

Dr Phillips said that while the June 1 celebrations were an invitation only event, the community was always welcome to visit the Pharmaceutical Museum to admire the treasure trove of items that constitute the collection in Gaydon’s Building.