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Christmas past

McIlraths 1

In 1943, Hycraft Carpets at Five Dock sent a newsletter to its workers on active service during the Second World War, reflecting on the effects of rationing on the home front:

‘Some of the boys have said they would like to be at our Xmas party, but we did not have one last year, and this year we are not holding one because we can’t get the food for such a party, nor any decorations, nor entertainers… We certainly miss the yearly party, but will make up for it when you all come home. However, the Government have come all over generous, and told us we can each buy [450 grams] of bacon at Xmas!… Sydney presents a strange sight these days with all it’s queues… we even have to queue for potatoes at Five Dock.’

This contrasts with the photograph, taken a few years earlier, of McIlrath’s Grocery, 189 Victoria Road, Drummoyne when both food and staff were in plentiful supply for the Christmas season.

The corner store


Before the advent of supermarkets and shopping centres, the corner store provided for the basic shopping needs of the community.

Corner stores were often seen as not just a business but a focal point within the community. The corner store however has declined with the development of supermarkets, changing shopping hours and, more recently, convenience store outlets at service stations.

Tulley’s General Store, 92 Blackwall Point Road, Chiswick opened in 1928 and was operated by the family until the shop closed in 1987. James (Jim) Tulley, aged about 83, and his younger brother William (Bill), aged about 78, can be seen behind the counter. Another view of the store’s interior is on flickr.

While the store no longer operates, the shop’s faded signs are still visible in Blackwall Point Road today.