PHOTOS

Photos | Children swam and played in the brick pit which became Miranda Fair

Local children swam and played in the the old Fowler's brick pit before Miranda Fair was built on the site in the 1960s.

Sutherland Shire president Keith Bates said at the opening in 1964 the quarry had become both a swimming hole for the district's youth and an eyesore.

TheLeader reported: "Only 17 months ago this site was an old quarry in paddocks covered with weeds and long grass, and Miranda itself was a quiet little shopping centre.

"Today, Miranda is buzzing with the business that this huge development has brought, and more than 1100 people have found employment where not so long ago frogs croaked in the quarry.

"Some can remember back 30 years ago when Miranda was a sleepy little village in the bush between Sutherland and Cronulla, disrupted only by the laugh of kookaburras and the whistle of the Cronulla steam train."

Long-time residents, Jim and Marilyn Robertson and Don and Joyce Montgomery, shared their memories in a feature for the Leader's 50th anniversary in 2010.

Mrs Roberston said they "didn't have a clue'' a huge shopping complex would be built a stone's throw from their home when they moved to Miranda in 1960.

But, 50 years later, they were very happy with their decision.

''We call it our corner shop,'' she said with a laugh.

''It's a four-minute walk and, although it takes a bit longer to stagger up there these days, we still go two to three times a week.''

Originally from Bexley, the couple bought land for £960 ($1920) in an estate that had been a poultry farm and had a house built for £2000 ($4000).

''[Miranda Fair] was just a clay pit back then and there were just a few shops on Kiora Road near the railway station,'' Mrs Robertson said.

The Montgomerys moved from Woolooware the same year with their children, Robert, Donald and Christine.

''We used to tell the kids to stay away from the brick pit because they could fall in, but they liked playing there,'' Mr Montgomery said.

''There used to be big rats, and the kids would throw stones at them.''

Mr Montgomery said that when the pit was drained, workmen found Donald's Globite school bag, which a mate had thrown in while fooling around.

''It still had his name and address on it, so they returned it to us,'' he said.

Mr Montgomery said one of the benefits of living next to Miranda Fair was that the area was connected to the sewer much sooner than other parts of the shire

Mr Robertson died in 2016 and Mr Montgomery in July this year. Their widows continue to live in the area.

Miranda Fair, a £314 million ($6.5 million) Myer-Farmer's development, was the largest fully enclosed shopping centre in NSW when it opened. Roselands upstaged it a year later.

Premier Bob Heffron opened Miranda Fair on Monday, March 16, 1964, in front of 1600 guests.

Mr Heffron said he had not seen anything to match the centre in Australia or overseas.

''It includes all things that make it possible for shoppers to say: 'this is a shoppers' paradise,' '' he said.

More than 10,000 people flocked to the centre to see the shops and watch a fireworks display.

Singer Little Pattie had to be carried shoulder high through the thousands of fans to perform with Col Joye.

The 2SM Good Guys added to the entertainment, conducting quizzes and giving away packets of cigarettes and rubber-tipped pencils.

The centre included a Farmer's department store on three levels, a Woolworths supermarket, 18 speciality shops, parking for 1100 cars, library, child minding centre and playground.

In 1969, Westfield bought the centre for $10 million and set about enlarging it.

When the redevelopment was completed in 1971, the shopping centre had trebled in floor space and was bigger than Roselands.

At the same time, a new four lane bridge was built on Wandella Road over the railway line, providing another connection between Kingsway and President Avenue.

Further expansions of the shopping centre followed over the next 45 years.

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