Grace Brothers Broadway – Retail Hub of the 1900s

This is a photo of the twin buildings of the original Grace Brothers store either side of the corner of Bay Street and Broadway in Chippendale. This area was once the thriving retail hub of Sydney with the flagship store being these Grace Brothers buildings.

Grace Brothers first came to Broadway in 1904 but the buildings (close to) how they’re seen today weren’t completed until 1923. The stores boasted over three acres of furniture as one of it’s selling points. It also had it’s own private electricity generator and an auditorium that regularly hosted dances, fashion parades and other children’s events.

In 1954 it was even visited by Queen Elizabeth which highlighted how significant the area was during that time. You can’t imagine her or any of the other royals visiting the area these days. The Grace Brothers store was closed in 1995 before in 1998 the West side was reopened for it’s current use as a mixed retail and cinema complex, while the Eastern side is currently used as a Hotel.

Broadway itself was one of the first roads built in the new colony back in 1795. It has also been known as George Street South, George Street West and The Broadway, before being shortened to it’s current name. It was widened in 1906 when Central Station was built. It has even had a toll, at Railway Square, since it has traditionally been the main traffic artery to Parramatta from the city.

Photo courtesy of State Records NSW – Traffic congestion
Broadway looking West –
December 1962
Broadway Shopping Centre
Photo courtesy of the State Library of NSW – Grace Bros shoe department, Broadway, Sydney, 26 September 1944, by Sam Hood
Broadway Shopping Centre
Photo courtesy of the State Library of NSW – Grace Brothers fruit counter, Broadway, Sydney, May 1941, by Sam Hood

Sources:,_Sydney, retrieved 9 August 2015, retrieved 9 August 2015, retrieved 9 August 2015

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