Monday, April 27, 2009

Grandmother Martin

Brisbane's first drive-in shopping centre, where all the shops were under one roof, opened in May 1957 at Chermside. In fact, it was the first in Australia, and somewhat of a coup for Brisbane to beat the southern capitals on something so population critical. I can remember the opening, and that Brisbane residents took to this new type of shopping like ducks to water. Prior to this, shopping was done in the city or at one of a few suburbs that had larger strip shopping precincts, such as the Gabba or the Valley. Grocery shopping was done locally at the corner store. Here is such a shop, Grandmother Martin's at Dutton Park - just down the road from Boggo Road gaol. This photo dates back to around 1900.

(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #76982)

When I was in primary school we lived at Annerley, and there was a corner shop at the end of our street. Not as big as Grandmother Martin's, which looks like it had her residence on the upper storey, our shop was also run by a little old lady - a Mrs Horrocks. She was very accommodating, running weekly credit accounts which families "fixed up" every pay-day. I frequently would wander down to the shop for my mother, with no money in my pocket, to pick up some bread or sugar. If it was bread, it was often a half-loaf, and then I could tear some of the fresh bread out of the crust and eat it on the way home. Bliss! But the trick was to not eat so much that my mother would have reason to complain - a little was expected, but if I arrived home with the mere shell of the bread, then there would be trouble :-)
(Photo: © 2009 the foto fanatic)

Sadly, Grandmother Martin's fine establishment has gone, replaced by the building in the photo above. When I went to take this photo, I found that the property was directly across the road from an old block of flats that a friend had lived in back in the late sixties. It was the scene of more than a few parties, as I recall. So I got a double dose of nostalgia - firstly remembering my early journeys to the corner shop, feeling very grown-up and important; and then my early days in the working world, once again feeling very grown-up and important!

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Next: Spring or creek?


  1. great photo, great story, thanks a lot

  2. Where can I get more information on grandmother Martin?

  3. My grandfather Hans Peder Eriksen had a shop where the park is on the corner of Annerley Road and Cornwall Streets circa 1920's?.Would anyone have photo's please


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