In 1938, the residents of Highgate Hill were waking in trepidation, fearing that their morning delivery of milk would not be found on the front verandah.
Before the introduction of milk bottles early in the 20th century, milk was delivered in bulk. Payment and a billy can for the milk were left on the verandah for the early morning delivery.
After the introduction of milk bottles, empties for reuse were left out with the money. Before this, children often suffered from serious diarrhea problems caused by milk that had gone off.
There’s no record of whether the yodelling thief was ever caught or for how long residents of Highgate Hill feared for their milk delivery.
Back in 1914, an earlier thief was ripping off the padlocks on coin fed gas meters to steal the accumulated shillings inside.
The shilling had the same face value as today’s 10c piece but was composed of sterling silver.
On one occasion, the audacious thief was surprised by a resident whilst breaking open her meter and he told her that there was a shortage of keys and someone would be around soon to replace the lock. He also adjusted the stove ring for her.
Gas was reticulated around Highgate Hill from 1886 and made a huge change to people’s lives as no longer was a fire needed to be burning in a stove all day. Also gas lighting was far safer than the open flames of lamps and candles. See a previous post, Rat Causes Fire on Highgate Hill 1887 , for an example of the dangers of old forms of lighting. Also, gas street lights made night time commuting much safer.
Coin fed gas meters were still in use much later and still being robbed.
Also in 1950, a thief tried to carry out just over 2 kilos of sirloin steak from a Highgate Hill butcher shop whilst the butcher was temporarily out. He was sentenced to 2 months of hard labour.
Before the advent of supermarkets, there were many butcher shops scattered throughout the suburbs of Brisbane, with their tree stump chopping blocks and sawdust on the floor.
When we first moved into Highgate Hill in the 1980s, we were robbed numerous times. On one occasion a thief caused a lot of damage smashing through a barred window only to steal nothing but our Easter eggs. Things seem to be a bit quieter these days.