Magazine / catalogue, 'Our Quarterly Magazine', paper / metal, used at Wong family store, Bolong, New South Wales, 1905, published by Edward Rich and Co Ltd, New South Wales, Australia, 1905
Australian shops were noted for their wide-range of merchandise. In his 'Town Life in Australia', published in 1883, Richard Twopeny remarked that 'the principle shops are noticeable for the size and heterogeneity of their contents the tendency is to increase the range of retail business rather than to specialise it'. (1973, p.199). At this time the large stores such as Anthony Hordern and Sons were introducing 'departments' into their city premises and stocking an extraordinary array of goods from perishable foodstuffs to agricultural equipment. These were made available to country areas through illustrated mail order catalogues. The range of goods available reflected the very high standard of living enjoyed by Australians in the late nineteenth century.
Edward Rich & Co, general merchants, was established in 1883 at 95 Pitt Street Sydney. The company operated at least until the 1930s. Later called E. Rich and Co Ltd, the business moved to O'Connell Street in the early 1900s and operated also as a forwarding agency for produce with a bond and bulk store at Circular Quay. They began to publish 'Our Quarterly Magazine' with its combination of popular literature and product listings and advertisements around 1900.
Little is known of the history of E. Rich and Co Ltd. However 'Our Quarterly Magazine' indicates that it was a medium to large scale business selling a wide range of goods from foodstuffs Pearson's agricultural machines, for which it was an agent. The content of the magazine suggests also that the firm was embracing innovative sales techniques as it attempted to sell its merchandise by appealing to the wide regional market for popular writing evidenced by the success of journals such as 'The Bulletin' and 'Lone Hand'.
Illustrated publications such as this are valuable for the information they provide about the appearance, manufacture, price and availability of products. However this magazine's combination of literary and commercial content distinguishes it from many shop catalogues. This 1905 issue survives as a rare example of the company's output.
The significance of the magazine is enhanced by its provenance. It was part of the surviving shop stock from the Wong family at Bolong in north west of Goulburn, New South Wales. Wong Sat and Amelia Wong ran their general store on their sheep farm from 1880 to 1916. The Wong's store stocked a range of products from dried and preserved food to ammunition , haberdashery and hardware for the customer base of around 100 families and individuals who lived around the area.
The 'Our Quarterly Magazine' was published by E. Rich & Co. Ltd in February 1905.
The magazine was part of the surviving stock from the Wong family store. The Wong store was closed around 1916 after the death of Sat. The building and the surviving stock remained on the property, which was used as a sheep farm and run by Henry Wong. In the 1970s Alan 'Bob' Wong took over the property. The shop stock remained largely intact until Alan sold some of it to Peter Doyle. The overall Wong store collection is comprised of various collections. The first was donated by Anne Schofield in 1984, the second was purchased from the family in 1997. Peter Doyle donated more material in 2003.