Backward Glance: Looking through the shop window – Part 2
  • Wednesday 28 November 2018
We continue our story from last week where we are taking a trip down memory lane to peek through shop windows on the Sunshine Coast.

In 1908, while strolling down Currie Street in Nambour, shoppers would have encountered E Deegan’s tinsmith shop selling all kinds of tinware and W Coles the greengrocer advertising fireworks, as well as his staple lines of fruit and vegetables.

Shoppers did not have to look too far to find shops to supply their needs.

The tinsmith shop in Nambour had an array of goods in their window display, including milk buckets which were an essential tool to milk your house cow, basins for washing and a large variety of kitchen implements for sale.

The tinsmith also offered the service of repairing items, as money wasn’t always available to buy new implements until they were worn out and unusable.

In earlier times, a tinsmith served an apprenticeship with a master tinsmith.

As an apprentice, the tinsmith acquired the skills to trace patterns on tin sheets and cut them out ready to solder joints over an open fire and insert rivets where needed.

The tinsmith apprentice would first learn to make simple items such as cake tins or scone cutters, pill boxes and other everyday items like cups to use out in the fields.

As the apprentice became more efficient he progressed in the trade and learnt how to make more items that would be in demand in the home and workplace.

Close to Christmas, J Lowes Butcher Shop advertised trussed fowls ready for the oven. You could inspect the produce in the ice-cooled shop window.

Butcher shops have changed from having sawdust on the floor and a large wooden stump on which the butcher cut the carcass into portions for the waiting customer.

It was common to see fresh meat would hang in the shop on meat hooks that slid along a steel rail behind the counter.

In Nambour, the Maroochy Shire Hall complex housed several retail shops which flanked the Shire Hall foyer.

One of the shops included a newsagent where you could buy your local Nambour Chronicle and the Courier Mail, as well as all your stationery needs, like paper glue, fountain pen ink, string, exercise books and ledgers for your business.

Toys, books and handicraft material were also available in the newsagent and were displayed in the large glass windows for everyone to see.

Next door to the newsagent, the chemist shop promptly dispensed prescriptions and professional advice, as well as all your health and beauty needs.

All purchases were securely wrapped in paper for the customer to carry home in their shopping bag.

Caloundra’s Cosmo Comino built two shops at 26 Bulcock Street and opened a Greek Milk Bar Café and Fruit Shop in time for Christmas 1940 and operated until 1952.
Their drapery store next door could not be opened until after the end of WWII, as stock was unavailable during the war years.

Comino’s son Mannie took over running the drapery store business in 1957.

The shopfront windows were always dressed in many different themes.

Summer time saw the latest beach towels and swimming costumes for all ages, tea towels and perhaps a picnic set with broad brimmed hats to keep the sun off.

Handwritten labels clearly showed the price.

In winter, travel rugs, wool for knitting, flannelette fabric for children’s sleepwear and chenille and woolen dressing gowns were all on display in that lovely window space.

It did not change very much over the years and provided a glimpse of yesteryear to window shoppers until the drapery store ceased trading in 2016 after 70 years.

Mannie Comino, a much-loved member of the Caloundra community, ran the drapery store and dressed the windows for over 55 years and always greeted the customers with “good day mate”.

Mannie passed away in August 2012.

In Beerwah, Charles Wimberley first opened his general store in 1946, but electricity was not connected to the store until September 15, 1947.

The family business begun by Charles was later run by his two sons Noel and Randall.

Wimberley's grew with the area with the store moving from the original location a few hundred metres up the street.

The hardware section of the store window displayed farming implements, tools and other goods and was managed by Randall with the grocery section, managed by Noel, displaying the latest products.

Over the counter services in the grocery section ceased in the mid-1960s and a supermarket opened to replace the old way of doing business with a more modern service.

The Wimberleys were respected in the district and looked after the local farmers carrying their accounts until the crops were harvested and the farmers received their payments.

George Jones was one of the first storekeepers in Mooloolah trading as Jones & Co. Pioneer Store.

The shop window was always attractive with goods on offer from hosiery to crockery.

George Jones sold his business to Charles J Clarke, who owned and ran the Mooloolah Pioneer Store from January 1, 1922 until December 31, 1925

The Mooloolah store was sold to Phoebe Mueller in 1935.

Mooloolah Chamber of Commerce advertised their meetings on the shop front with the wording “meet first Tuesday after the full moon”.

The light of a full moon would assist those traversing the undeveloped tracks or roads by horse back or early motor vehicle on their way to and from meetings.

As the area continued to progress, groups such as the Chambers of Commerce assisted those in their communities and the businesses with ideas and activities to encourage trade.

One of Coolum's earliest stores opened as the Maroochy Co-op in December 1922 and was originally a single storey building.

Lloyd Somers and his wife Mavis took over the business in November 1962, when it traded as a cafe and newsagency.

Somers also sold groceries, fruit and vegetables and added drapery, gifts, beach and sports gear departments.

As the Coolum Beach area grew, the Somers were looking to expand.

By 1974, the Somers officially opened a six-unit shopping complex next to their existing store.

The new building incorporated an arcade with a modern supermarket, a newsagent, a drapery store and a real estate office. The old corner building remained until 1987, when it was demolished.

The character of towns and the range of shopfronts reflect a different era and building style to more recent business developments across the Sunshine Coast.

There is no doubt many of these older shops hold a special place in this community’s memory.

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

Image captions:

Image 1:  Beauty consultant trainees receiving their badges at Neville Edmiston's Pharmacy, Nambour, 1957. Pictured: Paulette Hughes, Helena Rubinstein Beauty Consultant (right) congratulating trainees Jean Heaton and Meta Manthey (left). The badges were recognised worldwide. They were awarded after extensive training and qualified the consultants to advise on all skin care and makeup problems.

Image 2:  Charles' Pharmacy in the Maroochy Shire Hall complex, Currie Street, Nambour, 1962.

Image 3: Nambour Meat Hall interior, Currie Street, Nambour, 1960.

Image 4: Sale at Chadwicks store in Currie Street, Nambour, 1962. Chadwicks clothing and drapery store was established by Tom Chadwick in the Mitchell Buildings, Currie Street, Nambour in 1914. In 1958 the business relocated to Chadwick Chambers, which had been built by Tom Chadwick in 1925.