Murray Street’s Centrepoint site
Apart from the original Ancient Romans Forum, the Ottoman’s 15th century Grand Bazaar of Instanbul and other similar undercover markets the modern shopping centre concept (the linking of shops by undercover walkways) is essentially a late 19th century and early 20th century construct, and until Centrepoint was developed in the late 1970s the original Murray Street site street frontage was home to a progression of Hobart street-front businesses and services.
Following Murray’s rivulet military post the site became the business base for entrepreneur, John Collicott a general store and auctioneer business and also later in 1822 his private postal service for three years. In 1828 following an enquiry into postal charges the Postmaster’s role became a government service in order to regulate the exorbitant private fees being charged. In 1828 Collicott was appointed the first GPO Postmaster on the Centrepoint site. [v]
By 1891 the Murray Street site housed Mrs Alexander, aStaymaker (corsetiere), Mr Glock Lorenz’s Derwent Hotel, Misses Newitt’s fancy goods. Neighbouring Murray Street businesses at the time included Abbott and Sargeant, Watchmaker, John W Toplis, Chemist, Susman’s fancy warehouse, and of course Joseph Bidenscope, Tailor. [vi]
Later the site was developed to incorporate the Austin Thomas livery stables and Tobacconist, Robert McFarlane. By 1914 Edwards Reynolds had opened a general drapery and clothing store. Then from 1918 Fredrick Plaister Drapery and Barker’s The Furrier occupied the site, F.S. Rogers Confectionery replaced the Furrier, however Plaister’s traded on until 1930.
Businesses followed the fashions, trends and needs of the era, as they still do today, and the site saw a number of other businesses come and go during the 1940s and 1950s including a Coffee Inn, Benjamin Jones Boot maker and the Tasmanian Bookmakers Club. The Astoria Hotel with its Mildara Wines neon sign, a local landmark of the day, occupied the site during the 1960s and 1970s until Centrepoint was developed in 1977. [vii]
Since opening almost 37 years ago Centrepoint has been home to many quality retailers seeking a premium site to continue the proud tradition of providing quality merchandise, professional services and excellent customer service to Hobart residents and visitors.
Centrepoint Shopping Centre is proudly owned by local Tasmanians while the eight level car park is owned and operated by the Hobart City Council.
[i] Growing with Strength: A History of the Hobart City Council 1846-2000 p426
[ii] Growing with Strength: A History of the Hobart City Council 1846-2000 pp425-426
[iii] Southern Star Newspaper 21 August, 1992
[iv] Widowson, Henry: Present State of Van Diemen’s Land, 1829
[v] Southern Star Newspaper21 August, 1992
[vi] Southern Star Newspaper 21 August, 1992
[vii] The Tasmania Post office directory serial 1890 – 1891