Grace Bros./Broadway Shopping Centre – Chippendale, NSW

Image by Historic Houses Trust.

In 1903, Albert and Joseph Grace established their flagship shop (flagshop?), ‘The Model Store’, in an 1896-built four-storey building on what was then George Street West (now Broadway). Dudes even constructed a private electricity plant to power the store. It took another 20 years before the twin store across Bay Street was built. In 1911, a theatre was constructed beneath the original building. Queen Elizabeth II visited the store in 1954. Grace Bros. set up their own removalist service from this building, now known as Grace Removals. The domes above the clocks were filled with water that operated the building’s hydraulic lifts.

But the party had to end sometime. Grace Bros. bailed on the site in 1992 and took their water with them, preferring to maintain their Pitt Street store as the new flagshop. The chain had been bought by Myer in 1983, but the name-change didn’t take effect until 2004. In 1998, the building was re-opened as the Broadway Shopping Centre, with a cinema complex on the top level. Did they forget they already had one downstairs?

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