Historical information

This wooden cash ball came from the retail business of Cramond and Dickson. It was part of the mechanism for sending money and change to and from the customer to a shop assistant dealing with the finances. The ball ran along sloping rails in the shop. John Cramond and James Dickson, both from Scotland, established a general store in Warrnambool in 1855 in Timor Street. The business was later transferred to the corner of Liebig and Timor Streets and became a well-known landmark in Warrnambool, closing in 1973.


This item is significant as it came from one of the most important businesses in Warrnambool’s retail history – that of Cramond and Dickson. It also is an important example of retail store practice in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

Physical description

In 1853 the seeds were sown for a town museum. This was a good thing because in Richard Osborne, a well-known local philanthropist, wrote, ‘Warrnambool, in a social point of view is dull and monotonous, more especially so in the winter months’. This was reported in the Warrnambool Examiner!
A public meeting was held which established a Mechanics’ Institute. By 1870 a library and four additional rooms had been built and in 1882 Joseph Archibald became the Museum’s first unpaid curator, although by 1887 was getting a salary of £10 a year. He held this position for a further 10 years until 1897 when he suffered a stroke. In 1909 he died.

Inscriptions & markings

On both halves of the ball on the outside – ‘D 4’