An article from The Prahran Telegraph, November 15, 1913 provides information on traders in early Elsternwick including, The Beddoes, The Elsternwick Tradesmen’s Club, W. H. Nicholson Grocer, F.C. Smyth Grocer, Butcher and Robertson Estate Agents, Waller & Co., Allen Bros Drapers, and the Café Burlington.
Messrs R.H Beddoe, J.P. and F.J. Beddoe have been in the hay and corn business in Glen Huntly Road for twenty-one years, and have been lessees of the railway wood siding for twenty years, their wood and coal depot being in Horne Street. It was in the bad times when they started, and everyone assured them that their start was a bad omen, but prophecy failed in this case, as they have succeeded in building up the largest business of the king in Elsternwick.
Mr. R.H. Beddoe was for a time a member of the Caulfield Council, but found that its duties occupied too much of his time. His business premises, being so conveniently situated, were the centre of call for so many people that it seriously interfered with trade. His brother had the curiosity to keep count and found that there were as many as 52 calls in one day upon municipal matters, and Mr. Beddoe therefore retired in August last. He has been a trustee of the local branch of the Australian Natives’ Association, which numbers 400 members, and of the Independent Order of Rechabites (numbering nearly 200 members) for 21 years, and also steward and trustee of the Methodist Church.
The I.O.R., by the way, is making great progress in the district, three or four members being initiated each meeting, and by comparison it is the leading friendly society there. Mr. Beddoe has also been a member of the East Elsternwick and Gardenvale Progress Association for the last two years.
The Elsternwick Tradesmen’s Club was instituted sixteen years ago, and now possesses assets valued at 1000 pounds. Its income for the first year was 10 pounds, which has increased to 250 Pounds per annum. It owns the freehold of its premises, which are nearly cleared of debt, and it has just erected a new brick billiard room with three tables.
A Successful Tradesman
Mr. F.C. Smyth, family grocer, Glen Huntly Road, was with John Connell and Co., of Melbourne for five years, and, necessarily in a wholesale warehouse of that reputation, obtained a thorough grounding in his trade. It is only three years since he started business on the other side of the road, but his success was so assured that he built the ornate premises which he now occupies on the south side, and he finds trade developing rapidly. He makes a speciality of catering in high class goods, English and foreign delicacies for the table, and produce, and has an aptitude for window dressing which is exhibited in his artistically displayed plate glass windows.
Butcher and Robson
Messrs Butcher and Robson, estate agents, have their premises in Horne Street, on the bay side of the railway station, which was for many years not regarded as a good business location. However, since the firm established itself three years since, it has been going ahead splendidly, and they found that the results which they obtained did not justify the opinion held regarding the street. The business has done wonderfully well, and recently Mr Butcher purchased his partner’s interest in it. He is looking forward to the extension of the tramway to Point Ormond, which will open up a locality not yet exploited, and which will bring Elwood within easy distance of Elsternwick.
Waller and Co.
G.W. Waller and Co., estate agents, are also in Horne Street, and have prospered during the eighteen months in which they have been associated with the district. Properties, they report, are increasing in value and the tramway is developing the estate business, while its extension to Elwood will make property in that direction more saleable.
They have been doing a lot of business in Glen Huntly, especially in the Bokhara estate, where they have sold a lot of properties suitable for working men, on easy terms, at from 385 to 400 pounds in value. They give special attention to the rent-purchase system, and are building extensively on that principle, by which a home may be acquired on a deposit of from 15 pounds upwards and payment of 17s 6d per week.
At Gardenvale they have built several of the better class villas, six or seven rooms each, on terms, viz. 50 to 100 pounds deposit and weekly payments of 20s and 22s 6d. Sales at Gardenvale have brought 35s, 40s, 45s and 60s per foot; while in Glen Huntly Road, Elsternwick, values have reached as high as 17 pounds 10 shillings per foot. They anticipate that the opening of the tramway will markedly develop the vicinity of the intersection of the Hawthorn and Glen Huntly Roads.
An Expanding Business
Allen Bros., mercers and drapers, Glen Huntly Road, started in June last year in the former line only, but finding business rapidly expanding, extended their premises, put in metal ceilings, and opened a ladies’ department. The secret of their success if that they have tried to localise trade by introducing Chapel Street prices to Elsternwick. Having lower rents and by cutting profits fine, they can give sterling value, and with large stocks customers can get exactly what they want in ninety nine cases out of a hundred, and in the hundredth it is only a matter of a telephone call to Melbourne and the goods required are out on the same day. “Trouble”, said the senior partner, “oh no, trouble is at a discount here”.
The firm makes special lines. For instance, one purchase of 200 dozen collars, which they sell at 5d all year round, and in the ladies’ department there is an excellent assortment of dress goods, hosiery, laces, and the hundred and one accessories of the feminine toilet.
The Café Burlington, in Glen Huntly Road, is a nicely appointed place of refreshment, under the management of Mr. Leason, with tea and luncheon rooms, where grills, tea and coffee, hot pies, cool drinks, ice-creams and confectionery are obtainable at all business hours. Cool and clean, the viands are of an appetising description, and service is quick.
“The Economic” reports business to be very satisfactory, and rapidly growing in ladies’ underclothing, hosiery, children’s outfits, laces, ribbons, etc. The establishment is thoroughly well stocked, and all underclothing is manufactured on the premises, with the exception of imported lines.
James Charles and Son, Glen Huntly Road, are paperhangers, sign writers, house decorators and general contractors. With a capable staff of men they are prepared to undertake the most artistic adornment of any house.
Taken from the Prahran Telegraph November 15, 1913 and reproduced by Gladys Vallati in Caulfield Historical Society Newsletter, September 1996