Jobs that no longer exist today!

Today’s post is a celebration of photography from yesteryear – paying tribute to jobs that no longer exist today, largely due to improvements in machinery or technology – otherwise known as “Progress!”

I wonder how many of our readers can remember services that no longer exist, such as elevator operators, street sweepers, or chimney sweeps?

I clearly remember many of these myself, such as putting the milk bottles out at night for the Milkman with his horse-drawn cart to collect and replace with full bottles of milk, sealed with a foil cap.

We used to love to run out and see his wonderful Clydesdale horse plodding faithfully along the road, stopping and starting at just a whistle from the milkman as he ran from house to house!

As a child, I also remember other home deliveries such as the egg man, the bread man, and the briquette man (who delivered hessian bags of coal pieces for our loungeroom fireplace).

I was in awe of some lucky people who also had a regular delivery of bottles of lemonade from the Loys or Schweppes truck, but not for us! Lemonade was a special treat reserved only for birthdays and Christmas!

One of the more obscure jobs from the past was “The Knocker Upper,” a person who would go around the streets of the industrial towns in England in the early morning, rapping on people’s doors with a heavy implement to get them up for early work shifts! How funny is that!

There was also a good trade in catching rats before sewerage developed extensively – tuppence per rat was the going rate in Port Melbourne in 1902!

At the famous railway station of Melbourne, Australia, called Flinders Street, a row of clocks showed the time of departure of the next train on each of the various suburban lines.

In an 8 hour shift, the clocks need to be changed up to 900 times! Wow! That was a full time job! And woe betide the station hand who was tardy or got the times wrong!

Children were also employed in occupations such as selling newspapers, setting the pins at bowling alleys, or sweeping the streets!

Our friend, blog team member and contributor, John Pickup, OAM, has reminded me of tradespeople walking the streets calling out "Milko!” (when you could get your billycan filled up with fresh milk from the back of the dray!), or ”Rabitto!” (men selling rabbits when rabbit was an affordable meal option during times of rations or depression), or "Clothes prop!" (people who would provide large and sturdy sticks for washing lines to be strung between them!) Hilarious!

Perhaps you may remember switchboard operators, or the office typing pool, or tea ladies? You might care to let us know any stories of occupations that you remember from yesteryear! In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the wonderful photography in this short AnArt4Life video of some past occupations!


Way back when, there was someone employed to perform just about every step of every process! You might like to look through this website which contains a very comprehensive list and description of old occupations! Can you find some that still exist today?!