Backward Glance – Looking through the shop window, Part 1

In the very early days, settlers on the Sunshine Coast purchased basic items such as flour, sugar and tea in bulk and regular orders were delivered to their home by horse and cart or, in even earlier times, by bullock.

It might have been a long way to town and they only visited when necessary.

This was a time when Coast families where predominantly self-sufficient as they lived in the country.

Most had their own cow for milk and a well-tended vegetable garden.

In the years prior to drive-in shopping plazas, most businesses were located in busy town streets.

The timber or paved undercover walkways provided for one of the era’s favourite past times “window-shopping”.

Store windows or shop fronts were, and still are, the introduction to the wares and services provided by the business.

Store keepers and their staff always made sure their window dressing was interesting and attractive to customers, often featuring new products or fashion styles and sometimes a display for special occasions.

As towns grew, stores emerged offering a wider variety of products.

Men’s outfitters were an important business in most towns, providing essential clothing for men and boys.

The Nambour firm of men’s outfitters was founded by John Doran Snr., who started business in Nambour in April 1934, when he opened a grocery shop and hardware business in the Town Hall building.

In the late 1940s, Doran sold his grocery business and started his menswear store in Currie Street.

In January 1963, he relocated the business to new premises opposite Day and Grimes Drive-In, in Lowe St.

His son John Doran Jnr. took over the business during 1962 and opened a branch store at Mooloolaba in December 1964.

The Maleny Universal Providers store was John Tytherleigh’s third store.

He had already started a store in Landsborough in 1893, then opened another in Woombye in 1899 and later established a store in Caloundra.

John Tytherleigh was a successful and popular storekeeper throughout the district and was known as a kind and generous man.

His brother Alfred was the manager of the grocery and hardware section of Tytherleigh’s Maleny Store.

Tytherleigh traded as Universal Providers and offered the services of tailoring and outfitting for the country gents.

His shops also sold tinware, crockery and ironmongery for everyday use.

The original Maleny Universal Providers store opened in 1906 in a small timber building near the eastern corner of Teak and Maple streets.

This business later moved further up Maple St in 1912 with a manager’s residence built next door.

Store windows displayed all type of goods and at special times of the year the gaily decorated windows attracted both young and old.

The largest mixed business in Nambour was William Whalley, selling everything the customer required.

It also contained a hardware and grocery section with goods and haberdashery displayed in two large glass shop windows.

In Eumundi, Charles Duffey operated his plumbing, gas-fitting and tin-smithing workshop in Cook St in the early 1900s.

R. Denney’s Elite Café operated providing refreshments and lunches to the town’s visitors and was situated next to E.H. Arundell’s General Store.

Fred Batchelor worked for Tytherleigh’s Landsborough Store and was known as one of the fastest counter hands around the district.

A counter hand was the employee waiting at the shop counter to assist with purchases.

Many items such as toys, bicycles and some tools hung from the ceiling, so the counter hand or storekeeper would access the items needed using a step ladder.

Most items purchased were wrapped in brown paper and a spindle of string was always close by to cut and tie the parcel securely. Brown paper bags were used as well.

A pencil seemed to be firmly attached behind the attendant’s ear, used to tally up the amount spent and then written on a sales docket.

The purchases were paid for with cash, paper money and coins, or were placed on accounts to be paid when the farmer received income for produce sold to the markets.

Bakeries always had a well-maintained shop window displaying all types of cakes, buns, traditional pies and pasties as well as biscuits and freshly baked bread.

In earlier times, all goods were baked in wood-fired brick ovens prior to electricity or gas.

The aroma of freshly baked bread and sweet buns as they came out of the oven attracted customers each morning.

Traditional cakes and mince pies were also very popular special treats for anyone passing by.

The bakery window shop was decorated during the festive season with tinsel and coloured baubles, iced Christmas fruit cakes, plum puddings wrapped in cheese cloth and other sweet treats.

The scent of soaps, spices, herbs and other goods, all on offer in a well-stocked business, was enough to encourage the window shopper to venture in to see what else was available.

Some early shop windows displayed traditional kitchen utensils and toys as well as gardening implements in one window and the other could perhaps display a variety of clothing.

Inside the grocery shop you would see cordials, honey, jam, mustard, vinegar, biscuits in boxes, sugar, flour in hessian and calico bags all purchased by weight.

Lollies of many flavours and colours were displayed in jars across the counter.

Sixpence (five cents today) would buy a bag full of liquorice, gob stoppers, bull eyes and other favourites most children loved.

Olaf Hayes came to Nambour in 1952 and commenced trading in 1953 at a shop in the Diggers Hall, on the corner of Queen and Howard streets.

A watchmaker by trade, Hayes sold and repaired watches and clocks, engraved items and stocked a range of jewellery, gifts and china ware.

In 1956, he relocated his business to the corner next to Bayard’s Store in Howard St.

Repairs were also handled by the Nambour watchmaker George Peppa, who subsequently purchased Hayes’s store.

Next week we will take a peek through other shop windows on the Sunshine Coast.

Thanks to Sunshine Coast Council’s Heritage Library Officers for the words and Picture Sunshine Coast for the images.

Image details

Hero: Monsour Bros. store window display for the Golden Pineapple Festival, Nambour, May 1955

Image 1: Tytherleigh’s Landsborough store in Cribb Street, ca 1920

Image 2: Group outside Arundell’s Store, Eumundi, 1909

Image 3: R. Denney’s Elite Cafe, Memorial Drive, Eumundi, ca 1922

Image 4: Charles Duffey, plumber, gasfitter and tinsmith, in front of his workshop in Cook Street, Eumundi, ca 1912

Image 5: O.N. Hayes Jewellers store, cnr of Queen and Howard Street, Nambour, 1956. Olaf Noel Hayes came to Nambour in 1952 and commenced trading in 1953 in a shop in the Diggers Hall, corner of Queen and Howard Streets, Nambour. In 1956 he relocated his business to the premises pictured.

Image 6: Old Boxsell building in Maple Street, Maleny, 1989

Image 7: Interior of the Nambour District Co-operative Society Limited store, Nambour, 1954. The self-service grocery store opened in Currie Street, Nambour in 1950. It was owned and controlled by the residents of Nambour and district. Note the milkshake counter in foreground.

Image 8: Maroochy Co-operative Cash Store and staff, Stevens Street, Yandina, ca 1925

/Public Release. This material from the originating organization/author(s) may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s).View in full here.