Historic photos are a window to Hurstville’s shopping past

Window shopping: Barter's story display of hats, Forest Road, Hurstville. Date unknown. Picture: Hurstville Museum and Gallery.
Window shopping: Barter's story display of hats, Forest Road, Hurstville. Date unknown. Picture: Hurstville Museum and Gallery.

A snapshot of shopping culture in the 20th century is provided in a new photographic exhibition opening at the Hurstvillle Museum and Gallery this weekend.

Called Window Shopping, the exhibition showcases the eye-catching window displays of Hurstville’s fondly remembered department store, Barter’s.

Taken from the Hurstville Council’s historic photographic archive, the exhibition offers an interesting insight into the area’s history.

Barter’s was a three-storey building located on Forest Road, next to the entrance to the railway station and was one of the largest shops in Hurstville.

It opened about 1921 closed in 1985.

Over the years, staff took a photographic record of the store’s many window displays, little realising that they were leaving a chronicle of the changing tastes and fashions of the 20th century.

Fortunately, these were preserved and are now stored in Hurstville Museum and Gallery’s archives.

“Charles Barter’s department store was a huge part of 20th century life in Hurstville,’’ Hurstville mayor Vince Badalati said.

“Window dressing became a key method of marketing for clothing stores in the beginning of the 20th century.

‘’Department stores were a new phenomenon and open display methods sought to catch the attention and imagination of potential customers passing by.

‘’This collection of photos of Barter’s window displays are playful and fun and will take visitors back to earlier styles and fashions.’’

The Window Shopping exhibition opens on Saturday, February 27 at the Snapshot Gallery, a new exhibition space dedicated to the display of Hurstville City Library Museum and Gallery’s collection of historic photographs of the local government area.

An afternoon tea and exhibition viewing will be held on Sunday, February 28 at 2.30pm.

The exhibition runs until Sunday, June 19.

Gallery opening hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 10.00am to 4.00pm, Sunday 2.00pm to 5.00pm, other times by appointment

Snapshot gallery is at Hurstville Museum and Gallery, 14 MacMahon Street, Hurstville.

Enquiries: 9330 6444, or email: museumgallery@hurstville.nsw.gov.au

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