Category Archives: department stores

Coles Variety/Fossey’s/Bag A Bargain/Stokland – Hurstville, NSW

The Hurstville building currently featuring Stokland Furniture Depot is a bit like your old fridge covered in magnets that vary wildly in their level of ancientness. The site has put up with a variety of variety shops (sorry) since 1914.

While it’s currently Stokland Furniture Depot (at last, furniture shopping without the c—s), in a previous life the building played host to…

…Bag A Bargain, and that Escher-esque door to nowhere – a sight so crazy it’s clearly driven the Bag A Bargain mascot downright nutty. Earlier still, the building was…

…Coles Variety store (later Fossey’s), which acted as a thoroughfare to Forest Road. I hope the equivalent sign at the front of the building on Forest Road warned thoroughfare users of the doozy of a step waiting for them on the other side of the door.

UPDATE: Thanks to this Leader article from December 1989, we can finally know what caused Coles Variety to pack up and leave. Spoiler: it was Westfield.

The Leader, December 5 1989

The Leader, December 5 1989

Even if we choose to accept K-Mart as the spiritual successor to Coles Variety – which I don’t – can its champions boast that it has an ice cream parlour at the front of the store? I didn’t think so.

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?