Shopping in Sydney Street
A look at street directories gives a flavour of the shops and businesses in this street through the years.
Earlier directories show that most of the shops served everyday needs, but there was a marked change by the 1960s. Local food shops were in rapid decline with the growth of local supermarkets (who can remember the Tesco in Gardner street?) and then out-of-town shopping.
The 1923 Kellys Directory shows a variety of small shops - wardrobe dealers, general dealers, boot repairers, clothiers and tailors. Many of the shops were food-based - confectioner, fishmonger, fruiterer, baker and two butchers – the exotically named Felix Bongers at No. 12, a ‘Ham and Beef Dealer' and Brown's at No. 37. Dr Lumsden was at No. 46 and the Green Dragon pub was well established at No. 9.
The 1938 Directory reveals some changes. Most of the shops were still for day-to-day needs – grocers, two fishmongers (including Gunns at No. 6), confectioners, drapers. Sydney street has always had a reputation for butchers - the number had grown to five by 1938 – W. H. Woodward at No.s 5 and 7, D. T. Sutherland at No. 12, Allen and Sons at No. 15, Frederick Carder at No. 17 and L. Kitchingham at No. 37.
The shops had changed little after the war. Most were still food-based - grocers, bakers, fishmongers, but they had been joined by a cycle dealer, a wool store, and two cafés.There was still a good number of butchers - Reginald Southwell at No. 5, Van Mineroet Ltd. (horse-meat dealers) at No. 7, Frank Shore at No. 15 and L.S. Kitchingham at No. 37. Dr Lumsden was still at No. 46.
By 1968, the number of butchers had grown again - there are 7 mentioned in the Kellys Directory for that year, and older residents may remember the Saturday afternoon meat auctions. There was also a second-hand record shop at No. 46 by this time - shades of things to come, perhaps. Many more of the smaller food shops closed in the 1970s when the street started to take on the bohemian character it has today.