DEAN & SMITH IN BARRABA
Dean & Smith bought the Excel & Malcolm store in Barraba in 1900 and in doing so brought two families to live in Barraba for the rest of their lives. As far as I can ascertain they were not related but their wives were sisters – daughters of Joseph Scholes and his wife, Mary Ellen Jones. The Scholes family were well known in Armidale and had a large family including many daughters. The fourth daughter, Sarah Scholes, married William Henry Dean and came to Barraba with their daughters circa 1900 to join James Charles Smith and his wife, Eva Scholes, and their family of sons.
Dean & Smith ran a very successful family business in Barraba for 37 years. They extended and rebuilt the building as well as the business and took part in a number of other town ventures. Last year we dealt with the Dean Room, now at the museum but a most useful classroom at the school with thanks to Mr Dean.
After settling into business in Barraba for about ten years several local businessmen formed a company and purchased property in far North Queensland and put it under a manager. The company sold that property and bought another to improve, then when that was done sold out. The proceeds were then used by the partners to build new homes in Barraba.
The Dean home was built on the corner of Fitzroy and Savoy Street and the Smith home was built on a block to the west with river views and also facing Savoy Street. Several other partners also built new homes around the same time.
William Dean died in 1935 leaving James Smith to run the store. Early in 1937, several directors from Mackenzie’s visited Barraba to open or purchase an outlet to sell farm machinery. On the 1st November, 1937, they purchased the Dean and Smith business and that allowed James Smith to retire. He died ten years after in 1947 at the age of 73 years