Ada Cummings

Around 100 years ago this woman became a pioneer of business and fashion in the western Riverina.

Ada Cummings arrived at Bagtown with two children in 1916. Her son Stan would later recall he had his first ride in a motor car that day, when Micky Cush drove them in his Model T Ford from the train stop in Willbriggie.

The family had not seen Mr William Cummings for a year, since he found work with the Water Conservation and Irrigation Commission in 1915.

The photograph shown was taken in Rutherglen circa 1915 and prior to her move to Bagtown.

Stan recalled that his mother Ada saw the front window of the house they were to live in and thought it would make a little shop. Fifty pounds worth of stock was ordered from Melbourne, taking three weeks to arrive via Cootamundra and Temora.

The opening of the Bagtown store saw the building packed with customers, as women had previously relied on the two general stores for their requirements.

A former Bagtown resident commented of the shop, “It was unexpected to find it contained such nice things.”

Around a century later it is difficult to imagine how few women ran their own business.

William Cummings would build the shop that was located in Griffith's Banna Avenue in 1920. This shop was enlarged in 1922 to accommodate fitting and dressmaking rooms. Mrs Cummings sold about 90% of the wedding dresses worn at ceremonies.

Ada Cummings sold her store in 1935 after William had a heart attack and she retired to look after him. She died in 1963 and is buried at Griffith Cemetery.

The photograph shown was taken in 1947.

You can visit a replica of Mrs Cummings' Bagtown store at Pioneer Park Museum, which was built based on Stan's recollection.