Wednesday, 21 September 2016

MILESTONE: Bankstown Square Opens (1966)

Source: Anon. 1966. "New trends set by $17m regional project". The Sydney Morning Herald, September 20:20.

Today, Bankstown Central (formerly known as Bankstown Square) turns fifty. In 1966 there was a much fanfare when its doors opened for the first time to shoppers. Back then, it had the title of the biggest shopping centre in Australia, with more than 100 shops. It had seized the title from nearby Roselands, which itself had opened just 12 months before.

The centre was officially opened by Lady Cutler (wife of NSW Governor Sir Roden Cutler) on September 21, 1966. Lady Cutler Drive was named in her honour.

I'll keep it simple with a random assortment of clippings from The Torch which produced a special edition one day before its opening on September 20, 1966

The first clipping is a two-page spread documenting its construction, which occurred over a two year period.

Some photos of the opening on September 21 as published in The Torch on September 28, 1966. 130 000 were reported to have attended the opening.

I have included an editorial from the September 21, 1966, edition of The Torch which was the opening day

The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader published a map in its September 21 edition.

Facts of interest:
  • Lend Lease were developers and construction costs were $17 million.
  • The original centre had around 130 shops, compared with the 250 today. 
  • Parking was available for 2500 cars. 
  • Major tenants included David Jones, Nock & Kirby's, Woolworths and BigW. Woolworths and BigW are still based in the centre while David Jones left in 2007 (now occupied by Myer). 
Below are some advertisements for some of the major retailers:

David Jones


Woolworths Variety


Nock & Kirbys


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