BACK IN TIME: Trevor Rutherford with his Dad, Phillip, owner of Rutherford's Milk Bar on Wood St about 1952.
BACK IN TIME: Trevor Rutherford with his Dad, Phillip, owner of Rutherford's Milk Bar on Wood St about 1952. Trevor Rutherford

Popular Mackay milk bar was the place to be

IN the 1950s Rutherford's Milk Bar was the place for teenagers to be seen, show off their cars or motorbikes and chat to members of the opposite sex.

Trevor Rutherford came across a photo of himself as a five-year-old, circa 1952, with his dad, Philip, who owned the milk bar at 92 Wood St for 14 years and it reminded him of the old days.

"I used to serve in there, and squeeze oranges, and made ice-cream out the back. Dad used to make his own flavours and all his own drinks," Trevor said.

It was a full time 'mum and pop' operation with Mr Rutherford opening at seven in the morning and Mrs Rutherford closing after the picture shows at 11:30am, or 1am on Fridays and Saturdays after the dances at the Parish Hall finished.

Trevor, who lives in West Mackay, remembers sleeping with his brother in the back of the station wagon parked in the laneway behind the store while his parents served the multitude of young people looking for a good time.

"When the dances were on that place was chock-a-block, you couldn't move," he said.

Trevor likened the scene to the movies from the '50s with teenagers meeting girls, sharing milkshakes and checking out the flash cars and motorbikes parked out front.

Trevor said his dad was one of the first operators in town to offer takeaway drinks, adding a penny to the price which "everybody bitched about."

The milk bar was in the family for many years with Philip Rutherford buying it from his uncle, Carl Murray, in the late '40s before selling it to another Murray, his cousin, Danny, 14 years later.

The name was changed back to Rutherford's a number of years later with Trevor's older brother, Philip Jr taking possession, before it was closed down.

"The good old days were gone by then, the bars in town had sort of taken over," Trevor said of his brother's ownership.

Trevor has fond memories of a simpler time, when he could carry the day's takings in money bags up to the bank on Sydney St. "It was good, not many fights, there was no grog involved."

Trevor said it was "nice to work in there" and he even met his future wife in the milk bar when she worked there for his brother.