Two doors up from the former tattoo parlour, opposite the intersection of Underwood and Parramatta Roads, is this bookkeeping establishment. In rowdier days, it was clearly a motorcycle accessories and spares outlet. This not only strengthens my theory about the area being a bikie hotbed, but proves that whoever replaced the bikie-themed shops went way overboard in approving anti-bikie businesses for tenancy. Or did they? Bikies need bookkeeping too. What do you think the B in MYOB stands for?
Back in the day, this stretch of Parramatta Road (opposite Underwood Road) used to be a hotspot for hoons and revheads to congregate ahead of drag races through the old abattoir and brickpit. The most popular meeting spot was Big Chief’s, a burger joint a bit further west of here. Presumably, this tattoo parlour (imaginatively titled ‘TATTOO’, leading one to suspect they only had one design) was a by-product of that era. In an effort to quell bikie activity, it has been rebranded Strathfield Laundry, but there’s no guarantee it’ll work. Bikies need their clothes washed, too.
Another relic sitting along Parramatta Road (where would I be without it), this…I don’t really know what this is.
The building itself doesn’t help, with all its allusions to great deals and hard to obtain articles. The place is full of strange old junk…
It might have sold office supplies once, before the owner went mad and decided to hoard everything instead of selling it. Some people collect vinyl records, others collect filing cabinets. At one stage, the building also appears to have housed the Strathfield Burwood Evening College:
Not…entirely sure what you could learn in a place like this, but I bet they had a damn good filing system. Still, a closer inspection of the windows proves they weren’t kidding about those hard to obtain articles:
BARREN UPDATE: According to reader Claire, this place – that was absolutely stuffed with goods – was suddenly mysteriously empty when she passed it a few months back. This I had to see.
Not only was it for auction, but it sold, unlike 100% of the merch that once filled the room. But what of that merch? Let’s zoom in.
The boasts of discount prices and the eye-catching stained glass windows were still there, and surely added to the value of the property at auction.
For more on the history of this peculiar building, including a picture from when it was still Homebush Newsagency, check out Strathfield Heritage.
Operating between 1841 and 1859, Homebush Racecourse was Sydney’s premier horseracing venue. It was located on the Wentworth Estate in the Homebush area, and stood in the approximate area encompassing the corner of today’s Underwood and Parramatta Roads. When Randwick Racecourse opened in 1859, it superseded Homebush’s track, causing the latter to fall into a period of dereliction, although it still operated as a track until 1880. A man’s body was found on the course in 1860, the grandstand spectacularly burned down in 1869, and throughout the 1870s it was used for human running races. When the Homebush Abattoir was established in 1915, the site of the racecourse was employed as the slaughterhouse saleyards.
The only evidence that horseracing ever took place in the area is this pub, located along Parramatta Road, east of Underwood Road. The Horse & Jockey Hotel itself has a colourful history – it was originally the Half Way Hotel, named for its location halfway between the city and Parramatta. The site of the death of Australia’s first bushranger, and once patronised by Governor Lachlan Macquarie, the original hotel changed its name for the establishment of the racecourse (which it overlooked), and was the site of the inquest into the 1869 grandstand fire. Rebuilt beside its original site in 1876, the pub itself burned down in the early 1920s. It was rebuilt again in its present form soon after and remains as the only reminder of Homebush’s racing days.
Here’s one just in time for the Royal Easter Show. Back when the Olympic Park was still the city’s abattoir, butchers, tanneries and cold storage companies cleaned up by establishing themselves on the outskirts of the area. This one, located on Underwood Road, which used to run along the abattoir site, was then known as Abattoir Trade Meats. When the abattoir closed in 1988, the butcher lived on, keeping the name until at least 2000.
When you stop and think about it, it’s strange to see a butcher standing alone in the suburbs like this without knowing the story. It looks old, and that sign is probably covering up an embossed name on the building, but the biggest tip-off was this sticker in the window:
Sure you do.