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Urban disruption, suburbanization and retail innovation: establishing shopping centres in Australia

  • Matthew Bailey (a1)
Abstract

Australian cities were transformed in the 1950s and 1960s by the spread of the automobile and suburbanization. This article examines the patterns of retail diffusion that followed and the resultant adoption of the shopping centre form. Further, it considers the broader implications of retail innovation during a period of urban disruption, revealing intersections between urban geographies, business innovation and retail hierarchies. In the Australian case, dominant firms were able to leverage their market power to adapt to shifting retail geographies and new technologies, while some small entrepreneurial developers catering to the needs of these established retailers laid foundations for national and international expansion. A by-product of these processes was the creation of a unique Australian shopping centre form.

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Corresponding author
*Corresponding author. Email: matthew.bailey@mq.edu.au
References
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6 Vernon, P., ‘Shopping towns Australia’, Fabrications, 22 (2012), 102–21.

7 Allan, A., ‘Marion: a study of a super-regional centre and its impact on Adelaide’, Urban Policy and Research, 16 (1998), 117–30; Bailey, M., ‘Shopping for entertainment: malls and multiplexes in Sydney, Australia’, Urban History, 42 (2015), 309–29.

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9 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Census of Retail Establishments, 1948–53.

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11 ‘Norman Nock, A.C.R. President's Annual Report’, Retail Merchandiser, Jul. 1956, 18.

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13 Cumberland County Council, The Effects of Urban Decentralisation on the City and Suburban Business Centres (Sydney, 1958), 57.

14 Farrell, One Nation under Goods, 7–8.

15 Spearritt, ‘Suburban cathedrals’, 96.

16 ‘Australia's first drive in centre’, Retail Merchandiser, Jul. 1957, 25–6.

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20 Spearritt, ‘Suburban cathedrals’, 88.

21 Sydney Morning Herald, 12 Nov. 1957, 19.

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23 Spearritt, ‘Suburban cathedrals’, 96–7.

24 T.W. Beed, ‘The growth of suburban retailing in Sydney: a preliminary study of some factors affecting the form and function of suburban shopping centres’, University of Sydney Ph.D. thesis, 1964, 158.

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26 The Myer Emporium annual report (Melbourne, 1955).

27 Courier Mail, 29 May 1957, 22.

28 ‘The future of retailing’, Retail Merchandiser, Jun. 1957, 15.

29 Beed, ‘The growth of suburban retailing’, 228; CMA, box 142, letter from Keith Kelly, Larry Smith & Company to George McCahon, the Myer Emporium, 11 Jun. 1963.

30 CMA, box 142, minutes of a meeting in Mr A.H. Tolley's Office 10am Tuesday 9 Aug., reference Sydney branch development, 1961.

31 Barber, Your Store Myer, 89.

32 ABS, Census of Retail Establishments, 1956/57.

33 Beed, ‘The growth of suburban retailing’, 161.

34 CMA, box 142, memorandum: the drift from the cities, 29 Jul. 1963.

35 CMA, box 142, Larry Smith & Company, market analysis of the Sydney metropolitan area prepared for Farmer & Company Limited, 21 May 1963, 3; ABS, Census of Retail Establishments, 1961/62.

36 MMM, Australian Shopping Centres, 2.

37 CMA, box 142, Peter Hyde, suburban opportunities in Sydney metropolitan area – Sydney survey, May 1965, 3.

38 Author interview with Reg Jebb, 23 Feb. 2015; Ebury, S., The Many Lives of Kenneth Myer (Carlton, VIC, 2008), 236–7, 263–4.

39 G. Davison, ‘From the market to the mall’, background report, Victorian Retail Policy Review, Department of Planning and Community Development, Dec. 2006.

40 Cumberland County Council, The Effects of Urban Decentralisation, 8–10.

41 MMM, Shopping Centres – Australia (Sydney, c. 1970), n.p.

42 Brown, S., ‘A perceptual approach to retail agglomeration’, Area, 19 (1987), 131.

43 Author interview with Tony Dimasi, 3 Nov. 2014.

44 State Library of New South Wales (SLNSW), MLOH 451, nos. 23 and 24, J. Hudson, oral history interview with Fraser Coss, c. 1995, transcript, 12.

45 Author interview with Andrew Scott (former director of strategy and property Coles Myer), 31 Mar. 2015.

46 Blacktown Advocate, 25 Jun. 1959, 12.

47 CMA, box 957, Coles Timeline, c. 1978; CMA, box 2735, S. Barber, oral history interview with Sir Thomas North, 13 Jan. 1986, T3/1986, transcript, 8; CMA, box 2735, S. Barber, oral history interview with Bevan Bradbury, 18 Dec. 1985, T41/1985, transcript, 5; Westfield Holdings Ltd, The Westfield Story: The First 40 Years (Sydney, 2000), 33.

48 CMA, box 2735, S. Barber, oral history interview with Bevan Bradbury.

49 Westfield Holdings Ltd, The Westfield Story, 33.

50 Sammartino and Van Ruth, ‘The Westfield group’, 308–10.

51 Westfield also built centres at Dee Why and Yagoona in Sydney, but details such as retail floor space and tenancy mix are unavailable. See, MMM, Shopping Centres – Australia, n.p.

52 SLNSW, MLOH 451, nos. 23 and 24, J. Hudson, oral history interview with Fraser Coss, c. 1995, transcript, 24.

53 CMA, box 1505, S. Barber, oral history interview with Lance Robinson, 1985, transcript, 29; CMA, box 2735, S. Barber, oral history interview with Jim Thomas, 9 Dec. 1987, T58/1987, transcript, 41–2.

54 CMA, box 2735, S. Barber, oral history interview with Jim Thomas, 41–2, 47.

55 Kemeny, J., ‘The South Australian Housing Trust: a socioeconomic case study in public housing’, Australian Journal of Social Issues, 15 (1980), 109; Peel, M., Planning the Good City in Australia: Elizabeth as a New Town (Canberra, 1992), 10; Groenhart, L., ‘Employment of public housing residents in Australian cities’, Urban Policy and Research, 33 (2015), 294.

56 Peel, Planning the Good City, 3–4.

57 Kemeny, ‘The South Australian Housing Trust’, 109; Marsden, S., ‘The South Australian Housing Trust, Elizabeth and twentieth-century heritage’, Journal of the Historical Society of South Australia, 28 (2000), 55.

58 Baker, G. and Funaro, B., Shopping Centers: Design and Operation (New York, 1956), 81.

59 SAHT, Proposed Shopping Facilities, Elizabeth South Australia (SAHT, 30 Jun. 1961), 2.

60 H.P. Smith, ‘Town planning in Elizabeth, South Australia’, Architecture Today, Jan. 1959, 19–23.

61 MMM, Shopping Centres – Australia, n.p.

62 D.C. Ward, ‘An architect abroad’, Retail Merchandiser, Dec. 1963, 26.

63 ‘New South Australian town’, Retail Merchandiser, Jan. 1957, 10; Herbert, G., ‘Elizabeth – the dream and the reality of an Australian new town’, Hemisphere, 7 (1963), 1116.

64 Marsden, ‘The South Australian Housing Trust’, 50.

65 In 1982, Elizabeth town centre was acquired under a 99-year lease under a joint venture between Myer Shopping Centres and Jennings Industries.

66 Greenhalgh, J., ‘Consuming communities: the neighbourhood unit and the role of retail spaces on British housing estates, 1944–1958’, Urban History, 43 (2016), 158–74.

67 CMA, box 2735, S. Barber, oral history interview with Brian Quinn, 10 Jul. 1987, T48/1987, transcript, 10.

68 For a discussion of research on this issue, see Greenhalgh, ‘Consuming communities’, 169.

69 Ward, ‘An architect abroad’, 26.

70 Vernon, ‘Shopping towns Australia’, 108.

71 Davison, Car Wars, 105.

72 ‘Sir Norman Myer's death’, Retail Merchandiser, Jan. 1957, 9.

73 Author interview with Reg Jebb, 23 Feb. 2015; Davison, ‘From the market to the mall’.

74 Ebury, The Many Lives, 236–7, 263–4.

75 Vernon, ‘Shopping towns Australia’, 108.

76 Author interview with Reg Jebb, 23 Feb. 2015.

77 Davison, ‘From the market to the mall’.

78 Davison, Car Wars, 105; CMA, box 1429, letter from Larry Smith & Company to George McCahon, the Myer Emporium, Ltd, 22 Dec. 1958; Hutson, A., ‘“I dream of Jeannie”? The American origins of the Chadstone shopping centre’, Fabrications, 9 (1999), 23–4.

79 CMA, box 1941, J. Carter, ‘First one-stop-shop revolutionizes Australian's shopping habits’, 3 Sep. 1980; Davison, ‘From the market to the mall’.

80 ‘Australia's largest’, Retail Merchandiser, May 1960, 8–10.

81 Ebury, The Many Lives, 265.

82 The Sun, 4 Aug. 1960, 26–7; The Herald, 17 Sep. 1960, 3 Oct. 1960, 25; ‘The Chadstone project’, Retail Merchandiser, May 1960, 8–10.

83 Davison, ‘From the market to the mall’; The Sun, 4 Aug. 1960, 26–7.

84 CMA, box 1941, press release, Chadstone shopping centre, 19 Feb. 1959.

85 CMA, box 1800, Chadstone News, no. 2, c. 1960.

86 CMA, box 1941, press release, Chadstone shopping centre participants, 15 May 1959.

87 G.J. Connor, ‘A surfeit of centres’, Retail Merchandiser, Feb. 1958, 13.

88 MMM, Australian Shopping Centres.

89 Bailey, ‘Absorptive capacity’; Bailey, ‘Marketing to the big middle’.

90 Author interview, Micheal Lloyd (former Lend Lease executive), 11 Jun. 2014.

91 Author interview, John Schroder (former CEO Commercial Property, Stockland), 4 Mar. 2015.

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Urban History
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