Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - Memories With Ivor Jones & Friends -

As you stand in the cen­tre of Cas­tle Tow­ers or a West­field shop­ping mall have you ever thought of how we used to shop in days gone by and do you miss those times?

I re­mem­ber back in the 1950s & early 1960s be­fore we had such shop­ping cen­tres as we do to­day. Shops would only be open for half a day on Satur­day, never on Sun­day (I can feel a song com­ing on), There was no late night shop­ping. Stores would close at 5.30pm on week­days.

Along the main street in a larger sub­urb would be shops and stores of var­i­ous de­scrip­tions, from milliners (what ever hap­pened to them), menswear, butch­ers, bak­ers, dress shops, del­i­catessens, hard­ware and a whole host of other re­tail­ers. Above the shops would ei­ther be store rooms, of­fices such as ac­coun­tants or so­lic­i­tors etc. Of­ten the up­per level or rear of a shop may be oc­cu­pied as a res­i­dence.

More of­ten than not the ma­jor re­tailer in the shop­ping strip would be ei­ther a Wool­worths or Coles va­ri­ety store. Su­per­mar­kets would not ex­ist in large num­bers un­til the mid to late 1960s. As mar­ried women were not al­lowed to work in many in­dus­tries at the time they had to re­sign from their place of em­ploy­ment upon mar­riage and were of­ten at home. Con­se­quently they would shop through­out the week for meat and gro­ceries. Gro­cery chains such as Syd­ney Cash & Carry, But­tle’s, Moran & Cato, Flem­ings and McIl­rath’s dom­i­nated the food re­tail­ing in­dus­try in Syd­ney, whilst A. J. Bush dom­i­nated the butcheries and you would find their stores in the re­tail strips of many sub­urbs.

For the im­por­tant shop­ping of Christ­mas, wed­ding or birth­day gifts, Mums and their kids would hop on a train or bus and go to the big stores in the city. Kids would en­joy the travel to to town and a big day would in­clude vis­its to An­thony Hordern’s, Farmer’s, Grace Broth­ers, Mark Foy’s or Snow’s of Syd­ney cen­tral. A high­light for many kids would be a visit to a cafe­te­ria in one of the large stores.

When tele­vi­sion came to Aus­tralia elec­tri­cal stores be­came pop­u­lar and the largest elec­tri­cal chain stores would have been H. G. Palmer or Eric An­der­son’s who had stores in most sub­urbs, where the masses would go to pur­chase their tele­vi­sion sets, stere­ograms or ra­dio of­ten on lay-by or hire pur­chase as cash was not plen­ti­ful and there were no such things as credit or debit cards at the time.

In the later 1960s things started to change when com­pa­nies such as West­field, Lend Lease and Stock­lands started to build shop­ping cen­tres and Wool­worths and Coles ac­quired most of the gro­cery chains and built su­per­mar­kets around the coun­try. The large shop­ping cen­tres re­placed many of the shop­ping strips and de­part­ment stores. Shop­ping hours were changed to al­low stores to open on Satur­day af­ter­noons and Sun­days. Late night trad­ing dur­ing the week was made per­mis­si­ble.

But I won­der what does the fu­ture hold in the way of shop­ping. We have started to see the growth of on-line shop­ping with ma­jor re­tail­ers hav­ing a pres­ence on-line. De­liv­ery to your door from Coles, Wool­worths, Ama­zon and Aus­tralia Post etc. Will the masses con­tinue to bat­tle the traf­fic, fight for a park­ing spot and go to the shop­ping cen­tres in the fu­ture?

Don’t for­get to con­trib­ute your mem­o­ries and also any old pho­to­graphs that you would like to see pub­lished in this mag­a­zine’s “as we were” sec­tion.

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