A new photo from the Powerhouse Museum every day
Today many analysts are predicting the demise of the department store due largely to competition from online retailers. However in 1905 the retail emporium was the height of fashion and a hub of social activity.
This postcard from the Powerhouse Collection advertises Anthony Hordern & Sons New Palace Emporium in Sydney. After the first Palace Emporium had been destroyed by fire in 1901, the firm responded by building an even larger and grander establishment. This building opened in 1905 and occupied an entire city block, bounded by George, Goulburn, Pitt and Liverpool Streets. As the card itself proclaims the store provided employment to over 3000 persons and boasted almost 15 acres of floorspace with the latest communications – 87 government telephones.
Department stores were new and exciting destinations in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Previously people had obtained their supplies from a range of small specialised and often disorganised suppliers. Department Stores were a new concept offering their customers a wide range of goods in lavish surroundings. Indeed, the Australian Newspaper on 6 June 1907 described Anthony Hordern & Sons as an ‘embodiment of fairyland’.
Anthony Horderns & Sons closed for business in 1969.
Post by Lynne McNairn
Collection: Powerhouse Museum 90/42
No known copyright restrictions