Northam's oldest cafe celebrates new milestone

Loved by locals for generations and known for their milkshakes and home cooking, Northam's oldest cafe has remained a favourite in the hearts of Wheatbelt residents despite changing hands over the decades.

Mother and daughter duo Jessica Joy and Sue Rodgers have continued the legacy of Lucy's Tearooms over the past decade, celebrating owning the business for 10 years last week.

Filled with rustic prints on the walls and congregated iron features, Lucy's Tearooms has long been a part of the Northam way of life, and each owner over the past 80 years of operation has made it their own.

The duo, who took over operations of the cafe on February 6, 2010, marked their 10-year anniversary with free tea, coffee and scones for customers throughout the day.

Over the 10 years, Jess and Sue's trademark flare has been their passion for the community and giving back to those in need.

"It started as a business where we could work for ourselves and be flexible," Ms Joy said.

"We wanted to make it feel like you are going home.

"I love that there are so many stories about Lucy's.

"We get so many from around the Wheatbelt come in regularly and call in and have a chat.

"The milkshakes are something our elderly people love.

"It is something they used to do in their youth and although they may no longer live in town they come back for it.

"I've heard people say that they like how we know what their order is because they come every day.

"They can walk in and we know what they want to have - it makes people feel special."

The duo has traced the cafe's origins back to 1948, with further investigations to continue.

They have previously had visits from the children of the original Lucy family, who at the time were in their 90s.

Ms Rodgers said over her decade in the business, she had seen changes to the Northam streetscape, including major chains arriving in town.

"In the 10 years there have been lots of businesses that have come and gone," she said.

"Competition keeps you in the game.

"Sometimes when you don't have competition you get too relaxed."

The mother and daughter's first hand witnessing of tragedy has helped inspire them to help others when able.

"We were on holidays when news of the eastern states bushfires came through," Ms Joy said.

"Seeing the devastation, we knew we wanted to do something to help."

What eventuated was a community barbeque fundraiser that raised more than $10,000 for bushfire assistance charities.

"When I first called local butcher Andrew Quin to provide sausages we thought we would just be cooking 50 sausages in the park but we did over 600," she said.

"Whenever we have run a fundraiser, people in Northam have been so generous to give - the turnout and support from the community was amazing.

"That's the really cool thing about the cafe - you get to be really involved in the community."

Ms Rodgers said it had always been in the family's nature to lend a hand.

"When the Waroona and Yarloop fires came through, our family volunteered to pull down old fences - we went down four weekends in a row," she said.

"Talking to those farmers who lost everything, we were able to see the impact."

Ms Joy was most recently nominated as Community Citizen of the Year as part of the Shire of Northam's Australia Day celebrations, an honour she was very humbled to receive.

"It was good to be acknowledged but it is not why I do things," she said.

"All those people who got nominated were people who all do amazing things in the community."

The future of the cafe is something the family is continuing to develop, with fellow daughter and former cafe owner Amy adding healthy options to the menu.