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Robert Penney Sculpture

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Main Road, Chewton VIC 3451

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  • Remarkable life-sized wooden sculpture
  • Information signs
Stop by on Main Road in Chewton and visit this brilliant sculpture of Robert Penney, who was Chewton's 'Bread & Biscuit Baker, Confectioner & General Grocer' for almost half a century. This remarkable life sized sculpture depicts Penney standing at a counter with bread loaves beside him and groceries for sale on the wall behind him.

Penney operated his business from the brick building to the right of the sculpture. The following photo was kindly supplied by local historian Elaine Appleton and shows the words "Manchester House" displayed on the building, which are no longer visible today. The name was given to the building in the 1860s, suggesting it was used for board and lodgings.

This is one of several remarkable life-sized wooden sculptures set along Chewton's Main Road, each of which bring an aspect of Chewton's rich history and fascinating stories to life.

Information signs set alongside this sculpture display the following text:


Robert Penney was born in 1848 in Bath, England. In 1854, he accompanied his father to the Goldfields of Chewton, Australia, to search for his Uncle Alfred, who had mysteriously disappeared in 1851. Although never finding Uncle Alfred, they decided to stay and settle in Chewton.

Robert Penney established the 'Chewton Bakery' circa 1870's and sold it in 1923, although it continued as a bakery until 1976.

Robert Penney married Ann Maria in 1873 and they had 10 children, Alfred, Sarah, Maria, Florence, Robert, May, Flor, Mabel, Fred & George.

One of the younger children, Robert, had begun working on the horse drawn Bakers cart well before 11 years of age.

Whilst attending school, his father would knock on the side of the class wall to signal to his son to come and help deliver the bread.

He would often fall asleep during the return journey and was well pleased that the horse knew the way home.

In 1898, one of his daughters, Sarah, married Isaac Bubb, the butcher next door.

Robert Penney
'Bread & Biscuit Baker, Confectioner & General Grocer'
for nigh on 50 years.

Acknowledgements: Chewton Historian, Elaine Appleton & Descendants of the Penney family.

SCULPTOR: Richard Yates.


It is suggested that the 'Chewton Bakery' building was built in 1858/1859. One of the first owners was Photographic Artist, C McDonald, who conducted a photography business for a short while.

The Mount Alexander Mail, 1859, listed a mortgagee's auction of this property as land, a brick store, dwelling house, bake house, stables and photographic shed.

The name 'Manchester House' was given to the building in the 1860's, suggesting it was used for board and lodgings. The name was clearly painted on the exterior of the building during this time.

Circa 1870's, Robert Penney bought the building and ran his 'Bread & Biscuit Baker, Confectioner & General Grocer' business for nearly 50 years.

The building was sold to John White in 1923, then William Minihan in 1926, then Earl Ralph in 1955. And subsequently it operated as a bakery until 1976.

The following people, Reg Hockey, Ellis Wiseman, Pen Symon, Edith Yates & Mrs Peterson all managed/owned the building as either the Bakery, Tea Rooms and Antique Store. This building is currentl ya private residence.

The 2 closest brick buildings to your right is the former 'Chewton Bakery'

Picture below (on the sign) is of Robert Penney and his family outside the Chewton Bakery.

Acknowledgements: Chewton Historian, Elaine Appleton & Chewton Then and Now, K McKimmie.

This sculpture is the fourth in a series by sculptors Richard Yates and John Brady, intended to preserve Chewton's history and bring some of the town's fascinating stories to life. There are six sculptures all up (so far), five of which were carved by Richard Yates. The latest sculpture, that of historian and local treasure Elaine Appleton, was carved by John Brady.

The other sculptures along this fascinating trail are:
These brilliant sculptures are all located along Main Road, Chewton. The sculptures begin near the Post Office and Town Hall, and end at Rod Hadfield's hot rod museum just out of town.



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