R. Straub’s Establishment on east side Church Street, Parramatta next door to Savings Bank of N.S.W. and opposite Murray Brother. (Source: Australian Town and Country Journal, 1 March 1902, page 30).

Richard Straub was a well known Parramatta businessman who operated a well-known watchmaker and jewellers establishment initially on Church Street, near Lennox Bridge before moving to 186 Church Street, Parramatta (east side) in between chemist Leslie W. Pye’s building (number 184) and The Argus/Cumberland Argus building (no. 188), opposite the former Post Office building. That’s where Greenway Arcade is now.

A German native, Straub migrated to Australia to manage and later on 10 February 1893 took over his uncle’s J. Jerger and Sons watchmaker and jeweller business (established in 1889) on Church Street near Lennox Bridge when the Jerger family decided to move to Goulburn, New South Wales.

Advertisement for J. Jerger and Sons on Church Street, (near Lennox Bridge), Parramatta. (Source: The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, 12 January 1889, page 5)

Advertisement for J. Jerger and Sons on Church Street, (near Lennox Bridge), Parramatta.
(Source: The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, 12 January 1889, page 5)

Staub was a trained watchmaker having trained and worked in Germany, England and Australia. He was naturalised in Australia around 1887 and in 1903 married a local Parramatta girl Miss Zella Carpenter (who died on 15 October 1958 in Granville, aged 70). They also had a daughter and son.

During World War One (1914-1918), Richard experienced discrimination and sadly never recovered as he died on Sunday 5 August 1917, aged 59 due to heart issues. He was buried at Rookwood Cemetery near Lidcombe. His widow Zella attempted to keep the business running but eventually the business was sold and became Douglas Shoe Store operated by Jim Douglas from 1918 to 1930.

Portrait of Mr “Jim” Douglas of the Douglas Shoe store on Church Street, Parramatta. (Source: The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, 30 May 1929, page 20)

Portrait of Mr “Jim” Douglas of the Douglas Shoe store on Church Street, Parramatta.
(Source: The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, 30 May 1929, page 20)

George Thomas Erby, 222 Church Street, 1930-36
Around the great depressions of the 1930s, George Thomas Erby (died 28 June 1946) purchased the shop premises formerly occupied by Leslie W. Pye (chemist), Richard Straub (jeweller), and John Taylor (auctioneer), and added them to his original shop “Wycombe House” which he built in 1916.

Top: Wycombe House, Church Street, Parramatta. Left to right: Millinery, fancy haberdashery, household drapery and toy department, boots and shoes and mercery departments. (Source: Cumberland Argus, 1911, page 166-7)

Top: Wycombe House, Church Street, Parramatta. Lower left to right: Millinery, fancy haberdashery, household drapery and toy department, boots and shoes and mercery departments. (Source: Cumberland Argus, 1911, page 166-7)

On 11 June 1936, a public notice was published in The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate (page 4) announcing Mr Erby’s intention to retire. It would appear Wycombe House then became Ashley’s Church Street Parramatta also known as “Parramatta’s Fashion Store”. Opened in September 1936, it was the ninth Ashley’s store of the Buckingham Organisation Group established by Ashley James Buckingham (1898-1962), who later became a City of Sydney alderman from 1941-1944.

G. J. Coles and Company Limited, 1950s-60s
In the early 1960s, G. J. Coles Company Limited acquired Ashley’s and made extensions to their Coles Parramatta store which connected the site from Church Street through to Macquarie Street as published in The Cumberland Argus, 8 February 1961, page 3. Based on recruitment notices in the Sydney Morning Herald it appears the store had a food hall, snack bar and cafe section in line with then Managing Director of Coles Edgar Barton Cole’s vision of delivering a chain of supermarkets that are “tomorrow’s shops, today”.

Macquarie Street view of the framework for the new Coles building in February 1961 (Source: Cumberland Argus, 8 February 1961, page 3)

Macquarie Street view of the framework for the new Coles building in Parramatta in February 1961 (Source: Cumberland Argus, 8 February 1961, page 3)

Greenway Arcade, 222-230 Church Street, 1981- present
In early 1980, G. J. Coles Company Limited put their 2 storey L-shaped building with a usable floor area of about 4,300 square metres at 222-230 Church Street and 52-54 Macquarie Street, Parramatta up for public auction. The site had a total land area of about 2,833 square metres with a frontage of 21.8 metres to Church Street and 14.84 metres to Macquarie Street. It was initially sold in February 1981 to Lewis Developments Proprietary Limited, part of the Concrete Constructions group for $3.6 million who converted the building into a multi-tenanted arcade and possibly renamed as The Greenway Centre we know today. It featured 21 shops on the ground floor, air-conditioning and a large open area food court in the centre. The upper first floor was which had a separate entrance to/from Horwood Place was divided into 9 offices. By 23 May 1984, The Sydney Morning Herald reported The Greenway Centre had been purchased by the Aetna Properties Limited, part of the Aetna insurance group for $8.2 million.

Greenway Arcade corner Macquarie and Hunter Street, Parramatta. (Source: Anne Tsang 2018).

Greenway Arcade corner Macquarie and Hunter Street, Parramatta. (Source: Anne Tsang 2018).

Anne Tsang, Research Assistant, City of Parramatta, Parramatta Heritage Centre, 2020

References

  1. J. Jerger & Sons, watch & clock makers, inventors & patentees… [Advertisement] (1889, January 12). The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, p. 5. Retrieved October 6, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article86273463
  2. Business change. To the public of Goulburn and surrounding district. (1892, January 29). Goulburn Herald, p. 6. Retrieved October 6, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10315717
  3. The latest brevities. (1893, February 11). The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, p. 4. Retrieved October 6, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article85646072
  4. Public notice. Messrs. Jerger and sons desire to notify the public… (1893, February 18). The Cumberland Mercury, p. 5. Retrieved October 6, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article249013268
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  6. Local and General. Another fire “save”. (1895, September 28). The Cumberland Free Press, p. 4. Retrieved October 6, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article144437668
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  8. It would be cheap humour. [Advertisement]. (1900, December 1). The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, p. 5. Retrieved October 12, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article85822713
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  10. Mr. Richard Straub. (1902, March 1). Australian Town and Country Journal, p. 30 & 36. Retrieved October 6, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71520977 & http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71520977
  11. Advertising (1914, August 15). The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, p. 9. Retrieved October 13, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article85959958
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  18. MR. G. T. Erby to retire (1936, June 11). The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article104687106
  19. Cheyn Wharton, J. (1911). The jubilee history of Parramatta : in commemoration of the first half-century of municipal government, 1861-1911. Parramatta, N.S.W.: The Cumberland Argus Printing Works, pp. 166-7. Retrieved October 6, 2018, from https://archive.org/details/jubileehistoryof00parr/page/166
  20. Juniors required for Ashley’s new store. [Advertising] (1936, September 10). The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, p. 7, col. 5. Retrieved October 17, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article104699286
  21. Church farewell (1936, September 17). The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, p. 4. Retrieved October 17, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article104687694
  22. Ashley’s team of glamor girls, pictured here … (1948, May 5). The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, p. 6. Retrieved October 17, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article105739054
  23. City of Sydney. (2018). Sydney’s aldermen: Ashley James Buckingham. Retrieved October 17, 2018, from http://www.sydneyaldermen.com.au/alderman/ashley-buckingham/
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  25. NBRS & Partners. (2017). Statement of heritage impact – 50 Macquarie Street & 220 Church Street, Parramatta, p. 29. Retrieved from http://eplanning.parracity.nsw.gov.au/Temp/001_001X_0H7A0R4DAEG.PDF
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  28. Special announcement Parramatta commercial opportunities. (1980,September 13). The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 113. Retrieved from http://smharchives.smedia.com.au/Olive/APA/smharchive/SharedView.Article.aspx?href=SMH%2F1980%2F09%2F13&id=Ar11311&sk=11E74700
  29. Under instructions from G. J. Coles Co. Ltd. Parramatta Major Retail Property. 222-230 Church Street, 52-54. Macquarie Street. (1980, September 20). The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 112. Retrieved from http://smharchives.smedia.com.au/Olive/APA/smharchive/SharedView.Article.aspx?href=SMH%2F1980%2F09%2F20&id=Ar11207&sk=B998387A
  30. $8.2m for Greenway centre. (1984, May 23). The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 63. Retrieved from http://smharchives.smedia.com.au/Olive/APA/smharchive/SharedView.Article.aspx?href=SMH%2F1984%2F05%2F23&id=Ar06301&sk=2FC8C872