Monthly Archives: October, 2014

Grocer/Rob’s Hairdressing – Marrickville, NSW

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Once upon a time, Roberto was passing through Marrickville’s Addison Road and couldn’t help but notice the area’s abundance of shaggy, unkempt hairdos. Having struggled for years to decide how best to harness his natural talent for hairstyling, Roberto saw the light and immediately set up shop in this old grocer.

Okay, so maybe it didn’t happen quite like that, but I’d be surprised if it did…just like I was surprised to learn that long ago, landlords actually begged for tenants. Hey, tenants, you know all that nonsense you’re currently going through just to get a place to live in this town? All the begging and grovelling, the applications and rejections, the shameless pimping of your reputation just to be able to live where you want to live? Well, you might consider going back to 1926…

The Methodist, Feb 27 1926

You’ll never take me alive, copper. The Methodist, Feb 27 1926

Now hold on, I can’t go past that first ad. “Wanted – young girl”? If you tried that today, you’d be sharing a cell with Rolf Harris quicker than you could sing the first few bars of Jake the Ped…er, Peg.

Anyway, back to Roberto (or Rob, as he now prefers to be known).

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The high placement of the grocer signage looks out of place now, but in its prime it would have been a welcome beacon for hungry owners of bare cupboards, perched atop the tallest building on the block. Sadly, the only hint of that much more fruitful era are the elegant windows above the shop entrances.

The line of shops that includes the salon may not look like much today, but back in the early 1950s it was a prime investment opportunity:

SMH, Dec 8 1951

SMH, Dec 8 1951

Yes, back then this was considered a ‘self-contained shopping centre’ instead of whatever you’d call it now. It even had a picture theatre across the road (now a petrol station)! Just think about that – this dingy, lonely set of shops was once a place where you’d actually want to spend time.