In this section, we shall explore the mid-20th century shopping mall phenomenon, as it played out in The Land Down Under. 4 Oz-based "shopping precincts" will be covered in detail, at the end of this section. 

A graphic showing the locations of the major mall cities in the continent nation.
Click on image for a larger view

1957 was perhaps the most important year in history for the Australian retail industry. Greater Brisbane's CHERMSIDE DRIVE-IN CENTRE, the nation's first regional-class, post-war shopping precinct, started trading to the public on May 30.

Greater Sydney's TOP RYDE DRIVE-IN CENTRE, the first for that city and the second major post-war shopping complex in the Commonwealth, opened November 14. A retail revolution down under was underway!

Greater Brisbane's CHERMSIDE DRIVE-IN CENTRE was the first suburban-style shopping complex built outside North America. The open-air mall was situated 6 miles north of the city centre. Note: a smaller (non department store-anchored) shopping facility, the BELL STREET MALL, had opened in Melbourne, in 1956.
Photo from

The original CHERMSIDE was anchored by a Brisbane-based Allen & Stark department store and housed 24 tenants. Its car park had space for 700 autos. Today, after several renovations, WESTFIELD CHERMSIDE encompasses 1,622,400 lettable square feet and contains 513 stores and services.
Photo from State Library of Queensland

Greater Sydney's TOP RYDE DRIVE-IN CENTRE was Australia's second major open-air shopping mall. The 169,000 square foot complex contained 45 shops and included a 400-space car park. The TOP RYDE shopping precinct was situated 12 miles north of Sydney's Central Business District. Its slogan..."Come as you in comfort".
Photo from

The original TOP RYDE anchor was a Sydney-based A.J. Benjamin (which was rebranded by Grace Brothers in 1964). Today, TOP RYDE CITY spans 840,900 lettable square feet, with a tenant roster of 276. 
Photo from
Sydney's Westfield Development Corporation (now known as the Scentre Group or Westfield Corporation) opened WESTFIELD PLAZA, its first retail complex, in July 1959. The centre was located in the Greater Western Sydney suburb of Blacktown.

WESTFIELD PLAZA, anchored by Sydney-based Winns, featured a supermarket and 13 shops. Free parking was provided for 50 autos. Westfield sold the complex in 1973. In the present day, the WESTPOINT BLACKTOWN commercial centre spans 1,076,400 lettable square feet and contains 259 stores and services.
Photo from www.westfield.comh_westfield_com/corporate/pdf/history/chapter1.pdf

The company's next endeavor, WESTFIELD HORNSBY, was built in the Upper North Shore suburbs of Sydney. Anchored by Sydney-based McDowells, the open-air structure housed 25 shops. It began trading to the public in July 1961. In the 21st century, the shopping precinct incorporates 1,074,500 lettable square feet and 259 shops and services. 
Rendering from the Westfield Development Corporation
Meanwhile, something bigger -and perhaps better- had come along. CHADSTONE CENTRE [that's pronounced "chad-stun"] opened, in Melbourne's southeastern environs, on October 3, 1960.

It was the nation's largest shopping complex until it was outdone by Greater Sydney's ROSELANDS CENTRE, in October 1965. [After several enlargements, CHADSTONE CENTRE reclaimed its status as largest shopping centre in the nation].

Originally encompassing 355,200 lettable square feet, and housing 73 shops, the open-air CHADSTONE "shopping township" was truly revolutionary. For several years thereafter, Aussie shopping facilities would be referred to as being "Chadstone-like" or "Chadstone-type".
Rendering from the Myer Emporium

With the open-air shopping centre now firmly established in Australia, the next logical step was to the fully-enclosed "pedestrian precinct".

Canberra, Australia's capital, beat Sydney and Melbourne to the punch with the completion of its MONARO ["muh-NAIR-oh"] MALL, which began trading to the public on March 6, 1963. 

MONARO MALL originally encompassed approximately 270,000 lettable square feet and housed 61 tenants. Billed as "A whole city block under one roof", the complex was also the nation's first 3-level shopping centre. It has been known as CANBERRA CENTRE since October 1989.
Photo from / "Canberrahouse"
As MONARO MALL was welcoming its first patrons, another "Sydneyside" shopping centre was nearing completion. WARRINGAH ["wear-EENG-guh"] MALL started trading to the public April 4, 1963.

Developed by Sydney's Hammerson Group, WARRINGAH MALL encompassed 290,000 lettable square feet. It opened as Australia's second-largest shopping precinct (Greater Melbourne's CHADSTONE CENTRE being the largest). 

In 1963, WARRINGAH MALL housed 50 shops and services. Located 7 miles north of the Sydney Central Business District, the open-air complex cost 6 million dollars to construct.
Rendering from The Hammerson Group

The original WARRINGAH was anchored David Jones, a "Sydneyside" department store. Today, it has enclosed and open-air components and envelops 1,356,000 lettable square feet. There are over 300 shops and services. Australia's Westfield Group established a 50-percent share in the complex in 2012, with its name being changed to WESTFIELD WARRINGAH. 
Photo from State Library of New South Wales
Greater Sydney's first fully-enclosed shopping mall was officially dedicated March 21, 1964. MIRANDA FAIR, situated 12 miles southwest of the urban core, cost over 3 million dollars to build and had parking accommodations for 1,100 autos.

MIRANDA FAIR, Australia's second climate-controlled retail complex, consisted of 3 interconnected hexagonal structures. In 1964, it housed approximately 240,000 lettable square feet. 
Photo from State Library of New South Wales

Originally anchored by a Sydney-based Farmer's, MIRANDA FAIR would go on to become Australia's first 2-anchor shopping complex. A Grace Brothers location was completed in August 1971. In the present-day, the retail complex is known as WESTFIELD MIRANDA. It encompasses 1,191,500 lettable square feet, with 396 tenant spaces. 
Photo from State Library of New South Wales

Not to be outdone by its southern sibling city, Sydney strived to build something bigger, better and -also- fully-enclosed and air-conditioned.

ROSELANDS CENTRE, located 8.5 miles southwest of central Sydney, first traded to the public on October 12, 1965. It immediately trumped Melbourne's 5 year-old CHADSTONE CENTRE and assumed the distinction of largest retail hub in the Southern Hemisphere.

Sydneysiders were immediately smitten with their gargantuan ROSELANDS CENTRE, which outdid everything that had come before it. Developed and anchored by Sydney-based Grace Brothers, the 15 million dollar merchandising mecca housed 90 stores and services. Its slogan..."A meeting place, A market place!".
Photo from National Archive of Australia / Image number: A1200 L52829
Melbourne joined the push toward climate-controlled shopping hubs with the October 4, 1966 dedication of NORTHLAND CENTRE. Developed by the city's Myer Emporium, it encompassed over 60 stores and services.

Melburnians were introduced to air-conditioned shopping with the dedication of NORTHLAND CENTRE. The first of Melbourne's 3 directionally-designated malls, it was followed by EASTLAND CENTRE (in October 1967) and SOUTHLAND CENTRE (in September 1968). The Myer concern planned for a WESTLAND mall in 1973, but it was never built.
Rendering from The Myer Emporium
The Australian retail industry continued to evolve throughout the mid-1960s. Sydney's Westfield Development Company, which was well on its way to being established as a major purveyor of shopping malls, inaugurated the first of many "Shoppingtown" centres in 1966.

BURWOOD WESTFIELD SHOPPINGTOWN, which first traded to the public on October 10, 1966, was located 5.4 miles west of central Sydney.

A circa-1966 aerial of the Harbour City's "incline mall". BURWOOD WESTFIELD SHOPPINGTOWN was built on a sloping site, which facilitated its rather unique design. Instead of elevators and escalators, its 2 concourses were connected via ramps and a set of escalators.
Photo from the Sydney Morning Herald

In order to better comprehend the 4 forthcoming Australian Shopping Mall features, it might help to -first- review the major retail chains in operation in the Commonwealth during the 1950s, '60s and '70s.


Originating in Sydney in 1838, the DAVID JONES' chain is noteworthy today for being the world's oldest department store still operating under its original name. By the mid-1980s, the mercantile, known colloquially as "D.J.'s", had expanded from its base of operations in New South Wales to stores in Queensland (Brisbane), Australian Capital Territory (Canberra), Victoria (Melbourne) and South Australia (Adelaide).


A Melboune-based institution dating back to 1900, MYER / MYER EMPORIUM / MYER'S expanded exponentially between 1961 and 1984. Chains such as Sydney's Farmer's,  Adelaide's MARSHALL'S, Western Australia's BOANS and Queensland's BARRY & ROBERTS were acquired. A merger, with Melbourne-based COLES NEW WORLD SUPERMARKETS, was completed in 1985. The MYER end of the conglomerate was sold to a consortium of US investors in March 2006. 


Sydney's FARMER'S chain acquired Australia's WESTERN STORES in October 1960. In 1961, FARMER'S became a division of the MYER conglomerate. Although a reference or 2 to "MYER-FARMER'S" may be found in mid-1960s newspapers, the FARMER'S chain continued to trade under its own banner until 1976, when stores were MYER-branded. 


Another Sydneyside department store, which was founded in 1885. The chain was bought by Melbourne's MYER in July 1983. However, Myer continued to operate stores under the GRACE BROTHERS banner. All 25 locations officially became MYER operations on February 13, 2004.


A Sydney-based chain, which first traded to the public in 1909. MARK FOY'S expanded into the suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne in the 1960s but was in a state of decline by the late 1970s. The last store, in downtown Sydney, was shuttered in January 1980.


WOOLWORTHS, colloquially known as "Woolies", opened its first store, in Sydney, in December 1924. The retailer had no connection with the defunct North American 5 & 10 chain of the same name, although it was also a variety store operation. The first WOOLWORTHS supermarket opened in 1960. By the early 1990s, the WOOLWORTHS name was being used exclusively as a label for the chain's grocery stores. The variety store division had been gradually phased out.


BIG W was a name given to a new line of discount department stores operated by Woolworths Limited. The first BIG W, located in Tamworth, New South Wales, began trading to the public in 1964. The BIG W brand was used to differentiate the new discount stores from the company's existing WOOLWORTHS variety stores and its burgeoning WOOLWORTHS supermarket division.


Based in Greater Melbourne, COLES started out, in April 1914, as a variety store chain. By the late 1950s, the company was gravitating toward grocery retailing and several competing supermarket chains were acquired. In 1962, the COLES NEW WORLD SUPERMARKET nameplate was devised, as a reflection on the then-emerging Space Age. The NEW WORLD reference was dropped in 1991.


In 1968, Melbourne's MYER EMPORIUM acquired the 43-year-old LINDSEY'S fabrics and furnishings chain. The TARGET name was licensed from Minneapolis, Minnesota's Dayton Corporation, and a new Australian discount department store was launched. Originally known as LINDSEY'S TARGET, its name was shortened to simply TARGET in March 1973. 


One year after TARGET first traded to the public, the COLES conglomerate established a joint venture with the USA-based S.S. Kresge Corporation. The first Australian KMART opened, in a suburb of Melbourne, in April 1969. COLES established full ownership of the Australian KMART operation in 1978. The name and logo were licensed from the "Stateside" corporate headquarters, known -by then- as the KMART Corporation. 

Now, follow along as we study four of Australia's early mall-type shopping complexes in depth. The first offering will be Victoria's first mega mall...
Melbourne's Chadstone Centre

The trademark of the first major shopping precinct in Greater Melbourne. At the time of its opening, the centre was said to "closely follow the American pattern in style, design and services". In fact, "Chaddy" was modeled after San Francisco's STONESTOWN CENTER mall.

The mall's primary anchor store, Melbourne-based Myer Emporium, is seen in this vintage view. A note for those readers in the United States: the name of the complex, CHADSTONE, is pronounced "chad-stun" in the Land Down Under. 
Photo from State Library of Victoria

The Myer mallway entrance, on the northeast side of the 3-level store structure.
Photo from State Library of Victoria

A vintage view of the sprawling CHADSTONE complex, taken from the roof of the Myer store. At left centre is the large Garden Plaza and Indoor Garden pavilion. Back in the day, mall patrons would congregate at the Plaza area and enjoy free jazz concerts.
Photo from State Library of Victoria

The Upper Mall concourse in the original "Chaddy".
Photo from State Library of Victoria

A vintage view of the Lower Mall level, which was accessed from a set of escalators seen far in the background. This subterranean floor hosted services such as a Veterinary Clinic, Pets Parking Lot pet-minding centre, Children's Day Nursery child-minding centre and Kiddieland. This attraction included small fry amusements, such as fiberglass Thunderbird racing cars, swan rides and mini-helicopters.
Photo from State Library of Victoria

A layout of Melbourne's "compact city in the suburbs", which housed 73 tenant spaces. Its 2-level car park could accommodate up to 2,500 autos. At the time of this plan, CHADSTONE was located in the Malvern East suburb, in the City of Malvern local government area.
Click on image for a larger view


MYER EMPORIUM (with Strawberry Room Restaurant) / BUCKLEY & NUNN department store / FOY & GIBSON department store / ROCKMANS department store /  G.J. COLES & COY variety store / JAMES McEWAN & COMPANY Hardware / PATERSONS Home Furnishings / S.E. DICKENS supermarket / Angus & Robertson books / Mrs. N.M. Bowyer, public stenographer / Bradman's Suburban Stores accessories / Brash's electrical / Brighter Homes-Smith & Walton Paints / Burton School of Motoring / Cann's ladies' wear / Chadstone Bistro / Chadstone Centre News Agency / Chadstone ladies' wear / Chadstone Liquor Centre / Chadstone Motor Parts / Children's Day Nursery child-minding centre / Coles & Girard opticians / Commercial Bank of Australia / Commonwealth Savings Bank / Thomas Cook & Son (Asia) travel agency / Countryside Kitchens cakes / Downyflake Food Corporation coffee shop / W.T Dyer Sea Foods / Edments Jewelry / Exotic Aquarium & Pet Supplies / Fletcher Jones & Staff ladies' & men's wear / Herald & Son advertising divisions / Herbert Adams cakes / Hilton's of Chadstone ladies' wear / Hospital Benefits Association of Victoria / Peter Issacson press office & stationery / A.G. Johnstone men's hairdresser / Kiddieland / K.A. Lee Home Furnishings / Lindsey & McKenzie drapers / London Baby Carriages baby furniture / Martin & Pleasance chemists (pharmacy) / G.F. Mason fruiterer / Maternity Faire maternity & children's wear / Kenneth McDowell rubber goods / McKenna's Junior Shoe Salon / Medical-Dental Centre / Melbourne Sports Depot sporting goods / Mercantile Mutual Insurance Company / Model Dairy milk bar & dairy / Naytura Cafe & Store health foods / Newman's Chocolates & Candies / Oggi (Chadstone) ladies' wear / Pets Parking Lot pet-minding centre / Portman's ladies' wear / Post Office / Progress Press press office & stationery / Prouds Jewelry / Public Benefit Shoes / Royena Nurseries / Saks the Florist / Sportsgirl ladies' wear / Spotless (Chadstone) dry cleaners / State Savings Bank of Australia / Sussan Lingerie & Sportswear / Sutton's Delicatessen / The Leviathan men's wear / The Myer Babywear Shop / The National Bank of Asia / Tim the Toyman / A.E. Vauhan Tatt's agency / Arthur J. Veall electrical / Wade's Chadstone Meats / R.H. Wagner & Sons photo supplies / George Waldrop men's wear John Warlow Studios / J.B. Were & Son stock & sharebrokers / Williams The Shoemen / F.H. Wiltshire & Associates veterinary clinic 

We now switch to full-colour images. Above is a late 1960s view of the southern end of the Upper Mall at CHADSTONE. This was back in the days when the Coles chain was still operating variety-type stores.
Photo from Historic Melbourne Pics / Ebay Postcard Collection

In this vintage view of the northern end of the Upper Mall, we see the fibreglass panel roof that had been installed, in 1967, as a partial protection from inclement weather. The mallway would be fully-enclosed and climate-controlled in the 1980s.
Photo from / NuColor Vue / John Young Collection

Melbourne's Myer Emporium (Myer stores), who built CHADSTONE, followed with NORTHLAND CENTRE. The first of 3 directionally-designated interior malls, it was dedicated in October 1966. The original complex contained 73 stores and services. Today, NORTHLAND CENTRE houses over 330, with a lettable area of 1,025,900 square feet. 
Graphic from the Myer Emporium

The second of Melbourne's 3 directionally-designated malls was EASTLAND CENTRE. Dedicated in October 1967, the shopping precinct contained 40 stores under its roof. It was demolished, save for its Myer anchor store, in the mid-1990s. A new retail complex was dedicated in 1995. Today, it encompasses 1,410,000 lettable square feet and contains over 350 shops.
Rendering from the Myer Emporium

Lastly, there was SOUTHLAND CENTRE, which was completed in September 1968. The Myer Emporium proposed a WESTLAND mall in 1973, but it was never least by Myer. Another company eventually developed the property, which opened, as HIGHPOINT WEST CENTRE, in 1975. Today, the WESTFIELD SOUTHLAND shopping precinct encompasses 1,390,400 lettable square feet, with a retail roster of over 400 shops. 
Graphic from the Myer Emporium

DONCASTER WESTFIELD SHOPPINGTOWN was the first foray into the Melbourne market by Sydney's on-the-grow Westfield Development Corporation (today's Scentre Group). The fully-enclosed DONCASTER shopping precinct first traded to the public in September 1969.  It was expanded in the late 1970s, early 1990s and early 2000s. Today, WESTFIELD DONCASTER encompasses 1,291,700 lettable square feet and contains over 400 shops and services.
Rendering from the Westfield Development Corporation

Returning to our focus on CHADSTONE, the first of many enlargements was done between 1985 and 1986. The original mall was enclosed, with a new supermarket and 2-level Northeast Wing built. Moreover, the north end food store was replaced by a vertically-stacked Target discount emporium and 8-screen cinema. 

A graphic depicting the various expansions done to CHADSTONE CENTRE between the mid-1980s and early 2000s. With all of the reconstruction, there was now little -if any- of the original 1960 mall remaining. Note: after some political rezoning in 1994, the mall was now situated in the newly-created City of Stonnington local government area (but still considered to be within its Malvern East suburb).  

The south end of "Chaddy" was rebuilt in the late 1990s, as part of a "Stage 20" project. The original (circa-1960) Myer was demolished, with the new store -seen here- being dedicated in November 1998. It was joined by a David Jones department store 1 year later. These were linked by a curving, sunlit galleria concourse, completed in December 1999.
Photo from Wikipedia / "Raider2044"

A "Stage 30" mall expansion, known as Chadstone Place, opened between late 2008 and early 2009. This "outdoor-style" addition consisted of 1 and 2-level structures, with a single-level parking deck covering a building on its east end. Chadstone Place housed several exterior-entranced stores, a "Fresh Food Precinct", al fresco dining area and 4-storey office tower.    
Photo from (The Buchanon Group)

A Woolworths supermarket, anchoring the new Chadstone Place addition, debuted in October 2008. The mega mall now featured 3 supermarkets; Woolworths, Aldi and the existing Coles. There was also a Colonial Fresh Markets fruit & produce store.
Photo from Wikipedia / "Alpha"

Above, we have a circa-2009 store map of the Ground Level (Upper Mall) of CHADSTONE CENTRE. By this time, the shopping precinct was being promoted as "The Fashion Capital". 
Original graphic from

In this image, we see a reconstructed West Mall section. Work got underway on this "Stage 33" project in May 2008. The 278 million dollar retrofit, which encompassed 463,000 square feet, was completed in November 2009.
Photo from 
Ontario's Don Mills Centre

Don Mills, North America's first self-contained suburb, was the earliest planned city to include a full compliment of residential, commercial, educational, medical, religious and industrial facilities. Developed between 1953 and 1965, the ultra modern metropolis had a shopping mall as its commercial core. This depiction from early 1954 shows the retail hub as it was originally envisaged.
Drawing from 

A vintage view of the initial DON MILLS mall, which was completed in the fall of 1955. The design of this open-air complex incorporated a minimalist modern architectural style.
Photo from Panda Architectural Photography Collection, Canadian Architectural Archives, University of Calgary / Image number 55943-14

In a second snapshot, we see the east end of the 350-foot central mallway and entrance into the Dominion grocery store. This supermarket would eventually relocate into a larger structure at the mall.
Photo from Panda Architectural Photography Collection, Canadian Architectural Archives, University of Calgary / Image number 55943-18