Flashback Friday | Ads in the Leader from the 1980s - from hair streaks to roller skates

Roselands shopping centre turned 14 in October, 1979, and what better way to promote the “unreal birthday bargains” than an advertising feature in the Leader.

A teenager on a skateboard, with the words, “I’m 14 and so’s Roselands” was a real attention grabber.

A sample of ads from the late 1970s and 1980s brings back memories of shops, prices and entertainment from that decade.

Toy Wonderland, at Bexley, Rockdale and Carlton, cashed in on a popular ‘80s pastime by advertising Redstone roller skates for $44.98 when they were “normally priced” at $59.98.

Hair stylist Robert Bowerman was advertising “streaks still $19” at its salons at Southgate, Gymea and Jannali.

Spectacle makers Gibb & Beeman, at Westfield Shoppingtown Hurstville, displayed before and after photos of a  supposed ciustomer with the quote, “My wife said, ‘Goodbye schoolmaster, hello diplomat’.”

David Williamson’s play Don’s Party was on at the Sutherland Entertainment Centre and two dozen cans of Tooth’s KB and LA cost $9.99 at Riverwood Cellars.

The Meat Baron at Peakhurst took advantage of spot colour, which the Leader had recently been introduced into print production, to brighten up its ad with a splash of red.

The shop’s prices included a “super special” of whole lamb at $1.29 a kilogram.

Tynan Motors at Sutherland and Sylvania also used spot colour in a 1984 full page display ad.

Vehicles on offer included a limited edition Holden Monaro, 1976 HX series, five litre, automatic and one owner, with “49,000 genuine km” and “loads of extras”. ”Would be best available for sale”, the ad advised.

Ultra Tune at Miranda and Rockdale had undoubtedly the most confusing ad – but one that probably made readers stop and take a close look.

And, then there was Roselands – at 14, still fresh and youthful, just like the teenage skateboard rider in the ad.

The shopping centre was desribed as “a product of the motorised age” when it opened in 1965.

Built at a cost of £6 million ($12 million) on the site of a former golf course, Roselands was promoted as the biggest and most modern shopping centre in the southern hemisphere and ahead of anything in the US.

Mr B.A. Grace, the chairman of Grace Bros, which built the complex, said it was “a city in the suburbs”.

Six thousand invited guests attended the official opening on Monday October 11, where Premier Bob Askin  said, “This is private enterprise at its very best”.

‘‘Roselands is the true product of the motorised age in which we live,” Mr Askin said.

‘‘Catering for 15,000 vehicles per day, it is a shopping utopia for the motorist.’’

The following day, the doors were opened to the public – and they flocked in.

They were overwhelmed by the shopping and eating areas and features such as the Rose and Rain Drop Fountains .

‘‘The ground floor would cover two of the biggest city blocks in Sydney,’’ the Leader reported.

‘‘The retail area alone has been calculated to equal the shopping facilities of a mile-long suburban shopping centre.”


Every Friday we delve into the Leader archives to embark on some time travel.

We will bring you photographs of a news event from 57 years of Leader news coverage that you may or may not recall.

Flashback Friday submissions are also welcomed.

Feel free to share your recollections with us on our Facebook page @SutherlandShireStGeorgeNews or email leaderletters@fairfaxmedia.com.au