A resident of Strathfield, Ethel Lilleblade, recorded her memories of the shopping centre at Strathfield during the 1930s and 1940s for the Strathfield District Historical Society. These were handwritten and undated but likely to be written in the 1980s. She died in 1990 at the age of 86 years.
Come with me to The Boulevarde, our shopping centre in the 1930s and 1940s. Remember Mr Jones with his cab (Horse drawn) at the station, sometimes sitting up top and sometimes asleep inside. He retired about 1936 to Narrabeen where he and his son started at the bus run from Narrabeen to Newport. Then across the road to the Rainbow Cake shop. Oh! Those delicious small cakes and sponges. On the corner Cameron and Kentwell, estate agents, Mr Clem Moore would greet you with “Good Morning”.
Alan Clancy, the Chemist who later moved to another shop, and next door, Max Nisbett’s library and interesting curios, Scobles the florist with their dainty work always held my interest, another chemist then – T. H. Dick. Maybe next door it was Lee Jones and family with the delicatessen where I always stopped for fresh homemade brawn. Gumby’s family butcher was always of interest to the children watching sides been cut up. Then the entrance to the professional suites where Dr Mary Manery had her rooms.
Jack O’Shea’s hairdressing ladies and men’s salon was always a bright place to visit and oh what a pleasure it was to visit the shop of Mr and Mrs Dunlop where chairs were provided for you whilst choosing your goods. The newsagent and bookshop was also a good place to spend some time in. Garden and Patrick, another florist, then Riddles the plumbers and Lusty’s Wood Coal and Coke yard. We just had to shop at Keary’s mixed business, where the children had to take a dip into the big lolly jars. On the eastern side Shaughnessy’s Milk Bar held pride of place, where the scouts would gather after their meeting, Scobles delicatessen where you watch your ham being sliced so thinly it nearly melted in your mouth.
The men and the boys liked Stan Richards store where they could buy their odds and ends for sport and the fishing gear. The fish and chip shop held the children as in the window was a model of a paddlewheel steamer with Popeye guiding it into the water but it never seemed to go anywhere. Mr Hinks, Dry Cleaner and Manton Driving School came next. Pattens grocery store, where it was interesting to see the butter being cut up with wire and it always seem to have a little more patted on to the top to make the weight right.
Treasure Island‘s first shop, which burnt down but later was reopened along further, Natali’s fruit and vegetable store, and a few more shops to the Bank of New South Wales which opened about 1935.
Across Lyon’s Rd, to Alley’s store where you could buy most anything you needed, and Dance bros garage is still there. Don’t let us forget Mr Ottway, the Postmaster and one of his helpers, Mr Ryan.
Being well into my 80s I may have placed some stores in the wrong place and side, but these are the stores I mainly dealt with and oh for those storekeepers who took pleasure to deliver the goods, sometimes they were at my home before I was there and the children rush to get the cornucopia of boiled lollies. Then the war came and then many stopped delivering to the homes. These are just a few memories of the early shopping days.