Monthly Archives: March, 2012

Penshurst Squash & Fitness Centre/Residential – Penshurst, NSW

I could be wrong about this one, but let’s take a look anyway.

Despite promises of being ‘open 7 days’, I’ve not seen this place open for years. It certainly wasn’t open today.

This sign suggests that the centre hasn’t been open since 2008, and I’m willing to go with that. Also, let’s not forget the first rule of Past/Lives – if your phone number doesn’t have eight digits, you’re fair game.

Video Craze/Network Video – Penshurst, NSW

Video Craze at Penshurst appears to have started off with good intentions, but you know a video shop is on its way out once it gets absorbed by a chain.

In this case, the madness was quelled by Network Video. Even though the sign boasts that the shop is now ‘double the size’, half of the shop is currently a used book store. Also, take another look at that sign. “Free movies”? No wonder they got taken over.

Scripture Book Centre/Spice World – Bankstown, NSW

Before Ginger, Posh and Baby moved in, this was the place to go in Bankstown for your scripture book needs. Back in the late 80s and early 90s though, before it was the Scripture Book Centre, this and the neighbouring ‘Funland Games’ building were the Spin Out video arcade. If anyone has any pictures or further information about Spin Out, please let Past/Lives know.

These shops sit on the Appian Way, Bankstown, across from Bankstown Square. In 1954, the Appian Way was home to the *chortle* S & M Fox Institute, an x-ray clinic where checks were compulsory in the 50s and 60s. If you were content to stay home with your terminal case of TB just because you didn’t want a dose of pure radiation, you were fined no less than 20 pounds. Just think – adjusted for inflation that’s the equivalent of a big cash settlement from the NSW Government for having contracted cancer from dodgy x-rays in today’s money.

Movie Supermarket/For Lease – Hurstville, NSW

Only in that wondrous age that was the 1990s could a store like this flourish. Movie Supermarket at Hurstville was the place to go for obscure VHS tapes. The place was huge, like the Gould’s of videos, and carried things Video Ezy didn’t have. The first time I saw Faces of Death anywhere was in here, and it was unsettling. Even worse were the prices – you may be used to $5 DVDs in the bargain bin at JB Hifi these days, but back then movies on VHS cost upwards of $20 each.

And there were no two-disc special features director’s commentary editions in the VHS era either – those were reserved for the hardcore Laserdisc set. Movie Supermarket’s new videos came in at around $30, sometimes more. Their ex-rentals (mostly from the Video Ezy across the road) were a little cheaper, but for what you got it was criminal. Unfortunately, the only alternative back then was to tape a film off TV, and that required the film to be shown. Faces of Death III fans holding their breath for Channel 9 to screen their favourite film probably held on long enough to wind up in Faces of Death IV. If you weren’t satisfied with renting a film, if you HAD to own Lethal Weapon 2 on tape and you couldn’t wait for it to be shown, you coughed up $40 bucks at Movie Supermarket.

But neither time nor technology were kind to Movie Supermarket. The public’s whole-hearted embrace of DVD by 2001 left the original location here with stockpiles of useless, worthless VHS tapes. By 2007, the rent that the sale of a dozen brand new tapes would have covered could no longer be paid, and the shop moved two streets over to a much smaller location. They tried to get into the DVD market, but selling DVDs for $50 each was more of a 1999 thing to do. The Movie Supermarket website is dated 2009, but as far as I could see the shop no longer exists. I hope someone filmed the closure, Faces of Death VII could use some more material.

Westpac/85°C Bakery Cafe – Hurstville, NSW

As everyone knows, there’s nothing more tragic than the closure of a bank branch. Get your tissues ready.

Here, Hurstville’s obnoxiously named ‘The Spot’ proves that at some point, the heat became too much for Westpac to stand, and even after they got out of the kitchen the temperature continued to rise until the 85°C Bakery Cafe burst into existence. What The Spot was before the heatwave began remains a hot topic.


Forest Road, 1937. Image courtesy Hurstville Council.

Here’s an old picture of The Spot in 1937, when it was the Coo-ee Clothing store. Pretty exciting, I know, but given how many views this particular entry gets (LOTS), someone’s been hanging out for it.