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Our History

Dartnell’s Pharmacy was established in the late 1800’s and has passed through three generations of the Dartnell family. It was passed on to the current owners Les Bassin and Stan Sacks in November 2007.

While the world around the pharmacy has changed from rural to urban, the pharmacy has retained it’s old world charm and ambiance. With the practice of compounding- once known as apothecary, practiced in the 18th century, and the pharmacy’s unique collection of antiques from this era Dartnell’s has established itself as landmark.

Antiques and Historical Memorabilia

What makes Dartnell’s Pharmacy so special is it’s unique wall to wall collection of apothecary antiques, bottles and historic memorabilia. The antique collection has been collected and preserved from the 18th century. The old world ambiance is enhanced by the original gold leaf signage on the windows and the federation green wrought iron work on the verandahs.

On a shelf in the pharmacy sits a white jar with the skin-chilling label, “leeches”. This jar was used to keep live leeches which were sold in a “starved state” in the old days. “Three for a half-penny.” To keep these leeches alive, John Dartnell would feed them pieces of steak. Leeches are still used for medical purposes today. The Eye & Ear Hospital uses leeches after surgery to draw out infection, without leaving scars and without the need to use antibiotics.

The Dartnells began a tradition of adding to the collection regularly. The tradition has been kept alive by three generations of Dartnells. Today this heritage and tradition is being kept alive by Les Bassin and Stan Sacks.

1998 Destruction of a Landmark

Over the years,the Dartnells worked hard to build the heritage of the pharmacy. They managed to accumulate a collection of apothecary, medical and pharmaceutical antiques. These included carboys (the large oval glass containers), antique medical measuring equipment and containers. Two weeks before Christmas 1998, the pharmacy was shattered when a truck smashed through the front window. With one strike the entire collection displayed in that window was gone. Unfortunately, a number of these items are believed to be irreplaceable as they were collected from the 18th century.

This collection is of great interest to a variety of people and groups. The collection has attracted both interstate and international visitors and is also a source of education for schools. Students will find Dartnell’s Pharmacy an interesting excursion.

Dartnell’s Pharmacy needs your help!!

We are trying to rebuild this collection of antiques and historical memorabilia. If you or someone you know has items that can be used to assist in the rebuilding of this collection. Please contact us.

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