“I remember window dressing was a very important feature in
attracting the ladies to come inside.”
Reg Barter, son of owner Charles Barter.
Charles Barter’s department store was a huge part of 20th century life in Hurstville. It evolved from humble beginnings when Mr Barter purchased Hurstville’s first drapery store on Forest Road from Ralph Dornan. To keep up with increasing demand, Mr Barter moved to a vacant allotment adjoining the stairs to Hurstville Station in 1926. He erected a grand, modern building to capitalise on the foot traffic, which would be known as ‘Barter’s’ to residents for the next 60 years.
Barter’s became the epitome of modernity in 1957 when Charles Barter installed the first elevator to be incorporated into a retail establishment in Hurstville.
The staff at Barter’s were a tight knit group who referred to themselves as ‘The Bartonians’. They organised activities and outings such as ‘physical culture’ classes for recreation and an annual ball to raise funds for charity.
Window dressing became a key method of marketing for clothing stores in the beginning of the 20th century. Local drapers started to expand their stores, absorbing haberdasheries, tailors and mercers into one stop emporiums catering to their customers’ every cloth based need. Retailers were encouraged to take on new, open display methods with the resulting window displays catching the attention and imagination of potential customers passing by.
The Georges River Local Studies collection holds a number of images depicting Barter’s window displays. Many of the displays depict a narrative, creating intrigue. Others rely on the clever, artful arrangement of products to bring them to the attention of the shopper and brighten up the street. Barter’s ran an integrated marketing campaign, reminding customers to take a look at the special window display for whatever product they happened to be advertising in the Propeller that week.
Search fore more Barter’s images on the Georges River Libraries online catalogue.
This blog post depicts content from the Snapshot Gallery exhibition, Window shopping, which was on display at Hurstville Museum & Gallery from 27 February – 19 June 2016.