Monday, 16 November 2015

1987: Westfield Eastgardens Opens

In October 1987, Westfield opened their first major shopping centre in the Eastern Suburbs on the site of the former General Motors - Holden Manufacturing Plant at Pagewood. Here is an advertisement that was published in The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader at the time of its opening.

St George ad for westfield eastgardens 1987

Source: Westfield. 1987. "Westfield Shoppingtown Eastgardens at Pagewood (Advertisement). " The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader, October 15: 27. 

Westfield Eastgardens is built on what was once the Pagewood Bus Depot factory and the W.D.  & H.O. Wills factory. The site had to be rezoned to allow the development and included crown land. It was seen as a way of stimulating the local economy and provide employment to locals.

The original centre in 1987 was two levels with 150 shops, six screen cinema, 24 hour medical centre and an international food court that would seat 550. Parking was available for 3000 cars.

The shopping centre like other centres has had an adverse impact on local shopping centres, particularly Maroubra Junction which was the main retail centre for the area. Grace Bros which opened in 1981 became a outlet store for the chain during the 1990's (Good Buys Clearance Store) and closed in 2002 to allow for the  construction of Pacific Square Shopping Centre and residential towers.

The shopping centre also led to the creation of Eastgardens as suburb, which was gazetted during the late 1990's. Parts of Pagewood were gazetted into the suburb surrounding the centre.

In 2002, a third level was added taking the total number of shops to around 250. David Jones was the main department store, but was replaced by Myer in 2007 as part of a site swap between the two chains. This also marked a return of Myer-Grace Bros to the south eastern suburbs of Sydney.

Photo taken by the Author.