Why Pizza Hut, I didn’t recognise you without your signature red (or green) roof and 70s decor. What were you going for here?
Woonona is notable for being the site of the first attempted landing on Australian soil by Captain James Cook in 1770. Rough seas prevented that landing, and he was forced to sail on to Botany Bay.
Pizza Hut don’t appear to have faced such conditions. Woonona’s original Pizza Hut was apparently only ever a take-away affair, with locals missing out on the eat-in experience. This meant that locals also missed out on sneezed-on salad bars, cold pizzas sitting out all day and a wide variety of leftovers fused to poorly washed plates. You’ve really gotta feel for the Woononians.
What’s interesting about this Pizza Hut is how even back in the day, when the Hut was building its trademarked eat-in restaurants all over Australia, they didn’t deem this area – between Wollongong and the Sutherland Shire – a viable enough zone to bother, instead taking over whatever this building was (possibly a panelbeater by the look of it?) and decking it out Hut-style. Why does Hut-style involve such indelible signage? A mystery for the ages…
Now, I’d like to stop proceedings right here to draw a valid comparison. I just can’t keep it bottled up inside any longer. I’ve always felt that the original, superior Pizza Hut logo:
reminded me of another glorious former logo:
…while the Hut’s new branding:
is to me highly reminiscent of that other organisation’s new standard:
Am I wrong? Is it mere coincidence, or is there some larger conspiracy at work? You bloody well decide, I’m not here to do your thinking for you!
The Hut had moved on by 2008 at the latest, and after a long time on the market, the building is now in the capable hands of the guys who were inside renovating and giving me funny looks the day I took the above photo. What, you’ve never seen a dude taking a photo of an old Pizza Hut before?
A pawnbroker adds a a kind of uncertainty to an area. If you’re walking through a small shopping arcade and one of those shops is a second hand goods seller, it’s unsettling. You make the connotations in your mind – plenty of stolen goods in there, all sold by junkies, this neighbourhood mustn’t be safe, look at all the Playstations etc etc. Without casting aspersions, Rockdale has always had a pawnbroker on the main strip of the Princes Highway in one form or another; Cash Converters, colloquially known as ‘Crime Converters’ or perhaps more favourably to the company, ‘Cashies’, isn’t the first. In fact, it wasn’t even the first business at this location. Tear your eyes away for just a moment from the framed ‘signed’ pictures of pop singers and their CDs and have a look at what was once the welcome mat:
Gadzooks! This was once the front entrance to Rockdale Furnishers Pty Ltd, which has been around for the last 80 years. When this location become unfeasible for the sale of furnishings (and these things can happen) they moved down the road to West Botany Street, where they exist today, and the building itself became cash converted. Despite that, Rockdale Furnishers managed to leave their mark for all time in a most unusual way. Before we go, I’ve gotta share this old Cash Converters commercial. It’s from a more innocent time; Cash Converters had only been around for a decade, and were attempting to present themselves as a friendly, budget-minded alternative to the retailers of the day. Note the lack of Kappa pants and hoodies among the patrons. Also note the jingle, which has been stuck in my head while I wrote this article. Thank me later:
As you can see, this shopfront is a mishmash of previous owners. It’s like every one of them was part dog, such was their rabid desire to leave their mark on the place. First off there’s the faint Snapple logo, suggesting it was once a mixed business. Then bookending that there’s what looks like twin stop signs, the most likely explanation for which is it once sold bargains (perhaps even in its current incarnation), and the signs begged passers-by to ‘STOP!’ and possibly ‘L@@K!’ at them. Looking further down we can see what might have once said ‘cards’, indicating the possible existence of a newsagent. The red letters at the bottom are a bit of a mystery, though – as is the seemingly discarded air conditioner which appears to have fallen off the wall. Whatever the case may be, what’s impossible to ignore is that today the shop is T.I.M. All Mobile Needs.
T.I.M.bo claims to be open six days a week from 11am to 6pm, so I’m guessing I went on the one day it’s closed. Google Street view shows the same closed rollerdoor, so the only explanation is that Google Street View’s car drove past on the same one day three years ago. I think it’s a bit rich to advertise that you provide ALL MOBILE NEEDS while at the same time presenting a mascot who clearly hasn’t a need in the world. Even the rollerdoor handle is strategically placed to satisfy certain needs. Thoughtful.
By remaining nameless, this relatively new Rockdale fruit market is presumably hoping to avoid the fates of its predecessors. First we have Coco Express, a women’s fashion outlet with a meaningless name. Seriously, does Coco Express evoke any thoughts of women’s clothing whatsoever? And if it does, what kind? Coconut bras and hula skirts?
Going back even further we can see this was once the domain of the Liquidators discount variety store, a Reject Shop reject. They’re all gone now so it’s safe to talk about them, and I’d like to say that for a business called the Liquidators, they left themselves open to a lot of ridicule by not completely covering their tracks and liquidating. I like that they got a ladder happening to paint over the higher instance of their logo, but ran out of liquidation for the awning. Budget indeed.
IKEA has caused quite a stir in the suburb of Tempe over the last couple of years. Bordered by the Princes Highway and the appealingly named Swamp Road, Australia’s largest IKEA has replaced an itself-enormous Kennards (formerly Millers) Self Storage site, Tempe tip, and a manufacturing facility run by Ateco Automotive. Can I just say, who even knew Millers Storage had been taken over? I’m sorry if this is common knowledge, but I openly admit to not being up on the goings-on within the self storage industry: apparently Kennards acquired Millers’ distinctive orange storage empire in 2004. Wow. Anyway, part of the site IKEA sits upon today was owned by a widow between 1926 and 1940, when it was acquired by the Perpetual Trustee Company. In 1947, the PTC offloaded the site onto now-defunct British tobacco manufacturer W.D. & H.O. Wills.
With 2014’s “Grangegate” claiming the NSW premiership of Barry O’Farrell, what better time to take a closer look at the history of Penfolds Wine Cellars at Tempe?
Penfolds bought the site from Wills in 1953, but it wasn’t until 1959 (a good year, apparently) that the steadily growing company opened its new centre, planned as the most modern of its kind. Forward thinking wasn’t exactly in vogue that year, as in 1970 the site received a major update.
The large wine barrel out the front of this art-deco building was a familiar sight to passers-by during Penfolds’ time at Tempe, which came to a close in 1994.
Ateco Automotive moved in in 1995 and had the good taste to leave the art-deco facade alone, but for a few years prior to 2009 the building sat derelict and abandoned.
Meanwhile, on another part of IKEA’s huge site, a landfill site known as Tempe Tip was doing its part to pollute the area. Much of the tip’s runoff ended up in Alexandra Canal. The tip was closed as a landfill in 1975 and in 1988, it caught fire. Remediation attempts were made in 2005 to turn Tempe Tip into ‘Tempe Lands’ – a wetland paradise adjacent to an existing golf driving range and duck-filled ponds. But the former tip site was found to be too unstable, and the project was put into the ‘too hard’ basket until IKEA came along – then it was their problem.
And what a problem it was; in 2010, construction of the furniture megastore screeched to a halt when tonnes of asbestos from the tip were discovered on the site. Hundreds of workers were exposed and had to be quarantined. In a surprising move, the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change investigation found no supporting evidence of related claims that run-off from the site was laced with asbestos, since the existence of such evidence would mean IKEA would pack up and go home, taking their money with them.
Magically, the asbestos problems went away, and IKEA was able to open in 2011, much to the detriment of traffic along the Princes Highway. Especially on weekends, it’s a madhouse (appropriately enough, too, given the history of the neighbouring site…but that’s another story). Above all the chaos stands the art-deco clock tower, which for years bore the Ateco name. IKEA has appropriated the building, returning the clock to working order and affixing the IKEA name beneath it.
It’s a fitting image, really: in IKEA’s world of 9pm weekday closing times, rushed construction efforts and frenzied seizure of unsuitable land, time is money.