Monday, 10 October 2016

MILESTONE: Westfield Burwood opens (1966)

Above: An advertisement by Westfield to promote the opening of their new centre at Burwood. It was published in The Sun  on October 10 1966. 

On the back of Bankstown Square opening in 1966 and Roselands the year before, the emerging Westfield Development Corporation (Westfield Group)  needed to step up in what their centres offered to Sydney shoppers.

Westfield had centres at Hornsby, Blacktown, Eastwood, Baulkham Hills and Dee Why. Except for Hornsby, the other centres are no longer managed by Westfield.

The centre was known as Westfield Burwood Shoppingtown and was the first centre to carry the famous Westfield logo.

Key facts:
  • Westfield selected Burwood due to its location between Parramatta & the Sydney CBD and Westfield wanted to revitalise Burwood, even believing it would benefit businesses on Burwood Road. 
  • Construction took 12 months and cost $8 million.
  • Major tenants included Farmers (Myer), Coles, Winns & Mark Foys. 
  • First shopping centre in NSW to have shops sloped on an incline making it possible for a shopper to not use stairs to access the two levels inside the centre. Westfield Hurstville (1978) and Macquarie Centre (1981) have layouts based on the incline. 
  • First Westfield Shopping Centre to be branded as a "shoppingtown". The idea of a "shoppingtown" was that the centre would contain just more than shops, but professional services like cinemas, petrol stations, doctors and dentists. There were even commercial offices available, though the redeveloped centre no longer has a office component. 
  • The original centre had a Hoyts Cinema and Ampol Petrol station.
  • 1000 carpaking spots over three levels.

    Below are some assorted advertisements to promote its opening sourced from the major Sydney newspapers at the time of opening.

An advertisement for Farmers:

And one for Coles.


None of the original centre remains today. As part of the redevelopment of Westfield Burwood, the entire centre was demolished and rebuilt from scratch during 1999 and was reopened to the public in 2000. It now has 250 shops. Coles remains but Farmers (which became Myer, then Grace Bros and reverted to Myer) left in 2007 and was replaced by David Jones.

Finally, for those of you on Facebook, there is a Facebook Page (Old Westfield Shoppingtown Burwood Mermories) dedicated to the original Westfield complex itself with photos and tales.