Monday, September 6, 2010

Roselands We (I) Love You!


The Fenwick Estate, 1800 (Lakemba, now Roselands)

When it was built in 1964 Roselands was probably the first, and was certainly the largest, shopping centre in the southern hemisphere. What has since come to be termed a 'mall' was a new phenomenon back then, an attempt to create a 'city in the suburbs', enabling south west Sydney residents, by a short drive or bus ride, to reach a retail precinct that offered more delights than they could have previously imagined. The original Roselands contained hundreds of variety shops and was dominated by a Grace Brothers department store. It had the country's first food court (Papa Guiseppe had his genesis there), a ladies rest room - the Rendezous Room - where one could relax and shower and even iron a frock before seeing a film at the Roselands Cinema Beautiful or dining & dancing at The Viking licensed restaurant. And of course, Roselands had the famed Raindrop Fountain (below left) a series of nylon wires down which a mixture of water and glycerin trickled into a faux rock pool at its base!

When the Premier of NSW, Robin Askin, opened Roselands in late 1965 (a view of opening day appears below), he declared that Roselands was a ‘million dollar spread of merchandise… bring(ing) the city to the suburbs in a glittering way that must rival even the fabled Persian Bazaars’. He also referred to it as the essence of 'the motor age' - a quaint description to use just 4 years before we landed on the moon! But however you looked at it, Roselands was the stuff of dreams! A quaint blending of nostalgic and futuristic vision*. It had contemporary art, CCTV coverage of the childminding centre, illuminated signage (mermaids & pirate ships that lit up on the seafood outlet), held massive trade promotions and civic functions and offered live entertainment as well as having its unique boutique cinema.

People flocked to its opening -
cars were bumper to bumper along the approach roads. Their interest was maintained and many developed an abiding loyalty and affection for the centre.


There were dozens of variations on it's signature tune the 'Roselands we love you/need you' jingle. The one I particularly recall from 1970s 2SM is - 'Roselands we love you - we think you're Christmas'. At about the same time Edna Everage (yet to be made a dame) went one step further and said she imagined heaven as 'one big Roselands'. Even if heaven was/is more delightful than Roselands in its heyday, Roselands could not have been much more heavenly! Apart from all the attractions I've mentioned, I remember the amazing animal sculptures for kiddies to climb on up in the Leopard Spot play area on the roof. My archive trawling reveals that the ground level boasted a wishing well/water wheel as well as the so 60s chunky copper the Rose Fountain (pictured below).

Roseland's funky Rose Fountain - the height of hip in south west Sydney in the era of Graham Kennedy, Charmian Clift and Bandstand.

Roselands had the most extensive and convenient parking lot a shopping centre had ever had (no customer need walk further than 100 metres from their vehicle to retail bliss) - it pioneered the colour coding of levels. And although praised for its compact 3 tier car park, Roselands had more than enough land around it for the additional parking lots that have appeared since the 1980s.

Roselands was built over (and named after) a 9 hole golf course (that was a sub-divided 18 whole golf course) owned by local mayor and business man Stanley Parry. Before that the area was known as Fenwick's Paddock recalling the Fenwick Estate (see top picture) established in the 1880s by a tug business operator. It's homestead Belmore House became the golf clubhouse and stood on the site until the 1940s. Before all that the region was the traditional land of the Daruk (or Darug) people.

Roselands was first refurbished only 5 years into its life
when it was damaged by a spectacular fire allegedly caused by fireworks Grace Brothers had in stock for the Queen's Birthday weekend. It has since been remodelled and 'made over' out of recognition with each passing decade. Most of the innovative features, including the fountains and the cinema, that made it remarkable when new have now vanished. I think the remnants of the Viking Restaurant remained until the 1990s as I vaguely recall eating schnitzel there when my kids were little.

Ironically Roselands has gone from being the biggest mall in the country to being one of the most human in scale. The extensive spread of land around it (which contains several houses, a bowling club, a memorial rose garden and an aquatic centre) contrasts pleasantly with complexes like Miranda Fair and Chatswood which loom too large, dominate their locations and where queues of cars can build up at the entry points. Entry to Roselands is via one of three leisurely stretches of road and I have never known it to run out of parking spaces (even at Christmas time).

Back in the 60s,
as a newly arrived pommy immigrant, Roselands enticed me with its scale and modernity. Now it has won me over anew with its proximity, manageable size, variety of goods and services (I went to Weight Watchers there and now I go to aquarobics at the Roselands pool) and its rambling setting that, with a little imagination, can still evoke Fenwicks Paddock (below) .


* chronicled in Michaela Perske's meticulous 1998 broadcast on the ABC radio program Hindsight, an MP2 of which the staff at the ABC very generously created and provided to me.


POSTSCRIPT:


Right is a lovely sharp focus picture (particularly for a mobile phone image) my daughter took of the ugly rusted sculptural evocation of a rose (?) that dominates the memorial garden in the grounds of Roselands adjacent to the pool and opposite the auto service centre. Circa 1960s I'd say.

It is in the centre of what must have been a pool of reflection but which is now an empty litter collector. Does anyone know anything about its history/origin? Will do a little more research.


53 comments:

Unknown said...

Hi Alice - How wonderful are your musings and recollections of Roselands in its Heyday...I grew up near Roselands - and spent much of my childhood there - it was truly a wonderland and a home away from home - in so many ways. I can remember every part of it in vivid detail - it was really beautiful. Thank You.
Martin Wood, Darling Point.

Unknown said...

Hi Alice - How wonderful are your musings and recollections of Roselands in its Heyday...I grew up near Roselands - and spent much of my childhood there - it was truly a wonderland and a home away from home - in so many ways. I can remember every part of it in vivid detail - it was really beautiful. Thank You.
Martin Wood, Darling Point.

Alice said...

Thank you, Martin, I am about to add a new photo.

Anonymous said...

Dear Alice, I also remember
(1) the carnival rooftop on the 3rd floor - outside the toyshop. There was a narrow gauge model train ride for children
(2) Grace Bros occupied the lower ground floor - electricals, hardware, a restaurant, bottle shop, deli and its own supermarket.
At the third level, Grace Bros occupied the area now occuppied by a travel agency, medical centre, Blooms Chemist and Target. I remember getting my school uniform in 1973 for St Pats Strathfield, and being served by Mr Wally Bostock.
(4) I recall the open space with the raindrop fountain where one could watch shows during the school holidays and get a special view from the cafeteria from the mezzanine floor. Now it's occupied by shops after the renovations in the 1990s.
(5) On staircases - (a) the staircase with dark brown wooden beams from the lower-ground floor to the 3rd level now occupied by two hydraulic elevators - I am sure I saw a movie on TV which featured the staircase and an action chasing scene, and (b) the spiral stair case from the 4th floor - furniture to the lower ground floor which was next to the elevators in the Grace Bros store.
(6) I also recall miniature ferris wheels either near the ground floor entrance to Grace Bros and outside near the Roselands Theatre Beautiful.
(7) I recall in the Roselands Theatre Beautiful watching Walt Disney movies during the school holidays. It was a single level cinema, with recessed flourescent lights. Was it economic factors that saw its demise in the mid 1980s?
(8) The "Four Corners" restaurant located where the Reject Shop is occupied, and the Coles variety store where Best & Less occupies the space. At the back of the Coles store was a 'restaurant'/coffee lounge.
Now finishing off a law degree
Regards
Anthony P of Belfield

Alice said...

I wonder if Martin and Anthony ever rubbed shoulders at the Theatre Beautiful or on the rooftop express?

Anthony said...

Dear Alice,
A few more memories of Roselands came to me at 0400 (while I am doing my essay).
(1) Grace Bros offered a parcel pickup on the ground floor level car-park. One could buy their goods in GB, request the cashier to deliver goods to parcel pick up area located on the ground floor car park level about 20 metres from the "steepish" exit.
(2) Grace Bros' hardware department had a timber department on the lower ground car park. They stocked and sold long beams of timber at least 3-4 metres in length and one could see them extend beyond the ground floor level. You could view the timber department from the ground floor car park.
(3) Ground floor of Grace Bros was known as "Fashion Square Level". Between the two escalators was the information desk which also played music. I remember (a) though not typical music, but heard the piano music of "Mrs Mills", and (b) occasionally but regularly over the PA system, the music would be interrupted with "operator 2, operator 2", or "operator 16, operator 16" - don't know what that meant.
(3) Recall Channel 10's children's marionette show "Owly's School" made an appearance in the "Jasper Room" about 1970. I believe it is now known as the "Community Room". I was disappointed with the show because the marionette's movements made very loud "clacking" sounds as they 'spoke' - it was louder than their voices. You never heard the "clacking" sound during the broadcast of "Owly's School". I recall Mr Owly was a well-dressed, bespectacled owl who spoke with a British accent who used to say "dear oh dear oh dear!"

Regards
Anthony P of Belfield

Alice said...

Anthony, I had forgotten about Owly's School. I think Owly may have owed a bit to Jimmy Edwards (of whom I have blogged elsewhere)and Mr Chips! We came out from the UK in 1968 and I think that program was on air then. Shows teh role sound engineers played at Channel 10! What is your essay about, not Roselands? I am struggling with 2 for my Masters of Education. We should correspond further!

Anthony said...

Dear Alice, if you want to see more pictures of Roselands, including attractions, early architecture, Roselands Aquatic Centre including its construction in the 1960s, Canterbury Council have a site called "Pictorial Canterbury" located at http://photosau.com.au/canterbury/scripts/home.asp (remember to copy the whole link starting at http:// to .asp and place that it the browser's URL thingy).

In the search engine, put Roselands and click "search":
There are over 315 images. You will other architectural features present in the 1960s which are absent today such as the wooden waterwheel.

Ooh I forgot, this won't be in the photos, but here is another thing I recall:

In 1972, as you drive along Roselands Drive from King George's Rd, on the left side near the shopping complex, before it was a car-park, the land was used to host circuses (Circus Royale in 1969), exhibit aeroplanes and so on. But what I do recall, in an era before IMAX and large screen cinema, could be described as a cinema where one was encircled by eight screens. That's right eight screens. You've heard of surround sound audio. This was surround video. This exhibition was housed in a large inflatable balloon. No seats, but standing room only. In front of each person was a horizontal bar - believe me it was of use. This was especially so where there was a sequence of the movie going through the steep and winding streets of San Francisco. Even though the earth did not move, one was left with perception that you "rolled" with rapid changes in road direction as the cameras went along the windy and steep roads. I think that exhibition was there for two weeks at Roselands, and I think that it was the Walt Disney organisation which conducted it. Admission was free, but don't understand the purpose of running such an exhibition. Market research for new kind of movie presentation? Was not asked my opinion and never heard of this kind of movie exhibition at all.

Regards
Anthony P of Belfield

Alice said...

Fascinating memories, Anthony.I actually sourced some images from Canterbury Council's and the State Library's pictorial archives for my posting. Love discovering historical 'frozen moments' that you find trawling the archives, especially if they relate to a memory of there are vestiges left of whatever is shown. As I say in my blog. What other shopping centre has such extensive grounds? Surely we'll see some more development on the site(s) in the coming decades.

Anthony said...

Dear Alice, when I peroused your blog on Roselands again, I saw the name Michaela Perske. I was involved with radio 2SER (Macquarie/UTS) and recall a woman in the late 1990s (perhaps 1997?) called Micheala Perske who talked about doing/completing/editing a documentary about Roselands. I never knew when it went on the air.
Regards
Anthony P of Belfield

Anonymous said...

Hello Alice, I`ve just found this, absolutely love it. I grew up in Sydney 1960`s, so many great memories. I went back to Sydney to visit Roselands 1980`s but it was so different. I`m loving reading everyone`s comments. Take care folks, Jacqui Ridge Bundaberg ;-)

Elizabeth said...

I've just found this site and it bought back wonderful memories. I remember the miniature railway with it's level crossing and the trampolines, the ferris wheel, both the raindrop and rose fountains, 4 corners restaurant, even that dark staircase and the mezzanine cafeteria. I also remember a bookshop on the ground floor where my dad used to buy me books. Such lovely times. It was such a great place to go. Thanks for posting this.

Anonymous said...

Hi Alice, I grew up in Sydney & remember Roselands. My question is who actually built & owned Roselands originally? I installed an alarm system for the manager of Roselands at his very big home in Strathfield in about 1970. My Dad was a sales rep & Grace Bros were one of his biggest customers, we as kids always thought we must be related, but turned out we weren't.
Geoff Grace

steve said...

Who remembers the entertainment at the Raindrop Fountain ??? i recall Norman Gunsten , Pro- Wrestling with Steve " The Crusher" Rackman and Paul Graham , Cheetah , Buffalo ( signing Autographs) and the cast of Godspell.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Hi Alice, I worked in the Centre Maintenance team in Roselands for 10 years from 1978. The centre maintenance team was quite separate from the Grace Bros maintenance team and serviced all areas of the shopping centre.The team consisted of A manager, painters, electricians, carpenters and toolmakers. It was a great team and we all got on well. There were some great antics that went, I can recall a tightrope walker who fell of his tightrope 2 years running, when a camel took off with Santa Claus down Roselands Drive. It was never a dull place to work. Eventually the maintenance team was disbanded and and the work outsourced when Myers took over, and nearly let the place run into the ground. I have great memories from this time. One of the original painters still works there.
Barry Sims

Anj said...

The 'senseround' theater with eight screens played the movie called America the Beautiful. I attended it as many times as I could in the time it was there.
I spent every day of my school holidays in Roselands because we lived so close.
As for entertainment I think I also remember Norman Gunston was there. I remember talking to Graham Kennedy there after his show and I remember Jamie Redfern there a few times and probably some more of the Young Talent Team.
I also remember specifically the record shop on the ground floor which I used to visit each week to pay off a single David Cassidy record at a time with my pocket money, and an Indian clothing shop on the ground floor where I used to buy one plastic bangle at a time with my pocket money.
haha..it's a good thing the bus was cheap and I could wander around there on my own for hours daily amusing myself when I was just about 10.
Our school went to the pool every week to swim also.

Anonymous said...

Hi Alice,
Thank you for this great page as you brought back so many happy memories for me and after reading other comments I have tears rolling down! My Dad and his cousin owned both the fruit and vege shops there. Dad was there from day one until the middle 1980s. Dad was down where the reject shop is now and the other one is still outside Coles. We bought out dog from the Pet Shop that used to be upstairs on the top floor in the 70s. I loved going to lunch in the school holidays at the Coffee Roost! Or meeting friends at the Grace Bros Cafateria on the lower ground floor. Once again, thank you for this wonderful page.
Diane

Paul said...

Your write up and subsequent commenters really brought back some childhood memories from the late 70s and 80s.

My earliest years that I can remember all revolve around living in Lakemba, Roselands and Bankstown Square.

I remember the raindrop and rose fountains, the fibreglass animals and also the animatronics that used to be laid out for Xmas. Also the trampoline competitions, the farm animals in the car park and more.

I also remember it being a long walk from home to Roselands :) I also remember the timber Alice mentioned in the Grace Bros hardware storage area. Until now, I didn't realise GBs did hardware!

Anonymous said...

Great pictures.
Looks like Canberra's Monaro Mall which was opened in 1963 and was "Australia's first 3 level air-conditioned shopping centre."

Anonymous said...

Hi, I remember when Johny Farnham as he was known back then performed at the Raindrop Fountain and spent many happy summers in the pool. Back then it had beautiful lawns and plenty of room. I worked Thursday nights and Saturday mornings in Sussans and I also remember being caught in a blackout at the top of the spiral staircase.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anthony,

I also remember the "cinema in the balloon". I seem to remember it being all about stars and planets though and the circus in the same location.
i remember the night Roselands "burnt down" we could see the glow in the night sky from our back veranda and the sirens of the fire engines!

Memories, things I haven't thought about in years!

paul said...

Thank you so much for this post. We lived right by Roselands and I remember Roselands as such a big part of my childhood and teenage years. My father was the catering controller for Grace Bros. and was responsible for the restaurants, cafe's and food hall at Roselands.

The mid century interiors are now long gone but I am actively searching for photos of the original features if anyone can help.




Yes, the Four Corners was the very first international food court of it's type in Australia. I remember the seafood counter had a big lit oyster sign with glowing eyes.

Grace Bros. had a café called the Jolly Swagman in a corner on the ground level (I think where Medicare is now)and it was adjacent to the GB supermarket and deli. On that same level was small electricals, a chemist, an ice cream counter at the bottom of the escalators.

Just off the women's fashion area was the Rose Room which was an a la carte restaurant for the ladies who lunch. It featured a waterwheel outside, a pianist who played during lunch (his name was Les Sheen) and silver foil Florence Broadhurst wallpaper.
In the menswear department there was a very small coffee shop with a masculine, western theme but I can't remember the name.

There was a mezzanine floor that you could access via a spiral staircase to the men's suit department which looked very cool and exclusive at the time. Shag pile and leather chairs. Also on this level was the Coffee Roost which overlooked the raindrop fountain. It featured a wall of beautiful hand made ceramic tiles. This mezzanine floor no longer exists:-(

Upstairs, there was a fine dining restaurant called The Viking Room which was adjacent to the Carnival Rooftop childrens area. This is where you would get your chicken Maryland and prawn cocktails. Just opposite, where target is now, was a function room that was able to host weddings etc. All large Grace Bros. stores had these. I had my 21st at Miranda GB's!

They managed to get some big acts out to the raindrop fountain. I got an autograph from Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) when the original Star Wars was released, and didn't Tom Jones perform there once?

paul said...

Thank you so much for this post. We lived right by Roselands and I remember Roselands as such a big part of my childhood and teenage years. My father was the catering controller for Grace Bros. and was responsible for the restaurants, cafe's and food hall at Roselands.


Yes, the Four Corners was the very first international food court of it's type in Australia. I remember the seafood counter had a big lit oyster sign with glowing eyes.

Grace Bros. had a café called the Jolly Swagman in a corner on the ground level (I think where Medicare is now)and it was adjacent to the GB supermarket and deli. On that same level was small electricals, a chemist, an ice cream counter at the bottom of the escalators.

Just off the women's fashion area was the Rose Room which was an a la carte restaurant for the ladies who lunch. It featured a waterwheel outside, a pianist who played during lunch (his name was Les Sheen) and silver foil Florence Broadhurst wallpaper.
In the menswear department there was a very small coffee shop with a masculine, western theme but I can't remember the name.

There was a mezzanine floor that you could access via a spiral staircase to the men's suit department which looked very cool and exclusive at the time. Shag pile and leather chairs. Also on this level was the Coffee Roost which overlooked the raindrop fountain. It featured a wall of beautiful hand made ceramic tiles. This mezzanine floor no longer exists:-(

Upstairs, there was a fine dining restaurant called The Viking Room which was adjacent to the Carnival Rooftop childrens area. This is where you would get your chicken Maryland and prawn cocktails. Just opposite, where target is now, was a function room that was able to host weddings etc. All large Grace Bros. stores had these. I had my 21st at Miranda GB's!

They managed to get some big acts out to the raindrop fountain. I got an autograph from Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) when the original Star Wars was released, and didn't Tom Jones perform there once?

I am currently seeking photos of the original interiors and architectural features if anyone can help.

Anonymous said...

Great posts here, I was around Roselands back in the day, I use to climb a large tree in my back yard and watch the centre being constructed, I was around 7. Roselands became the place once it opened. Carnival Roof Top, Thursday Night Shopping Wow and make sure you don't miss the last bus at 9:15pm, the 35 destination Lakemba back in the day when Lakemba was just Lakemba. Once the shops closed at midday on Saturday the rest of the centre remained open and 4 corners became the place, riding scateboards in the empty car park opposite the pool was the best. I have looked time and time again at sites like this hoping to find a picture of the original Roselands Sign which sat for years at the King Georges Road entrance and a picture of that Giant sized Santa Clause that they use to crane into position each year.... I have never found these images anywhere... thanks for the memories and the IMAX dome I also remember.... A few others Skeeter the Paperboy broadcast cartoon connection from the rain drop fountain at one stage, I remember watching that from the colulm of stairs beside the fountain..I could go on and on but that is all

Brent

tagnew said...

I was hoping if anyone could help me, there used to be a doughnut shop i think it was called Puffin at Roselands in the the late 80's and 90's. I know there is a shop there now called Puffies, nit o remember one being either puffn or puffin doughnuts... any ideas

Alice said...

Dear tagnew, try Old Sydney Album on Facebook for your donut shop enquiry. There are regular posts about Roselands in that group. Good luck.

john said...

Hi Alice,Thanks for all the memories,10 years after it's opening my parents bought a home at Roselands to be near the Shopping centre.I Recall Mark Foys having a store on the top floor also the Nursery which adjoined the Bus Stops.In regard to the Rusty Rose Fountain this is built on Council Parkland and remained in operation for some years.Eventualy it was closed because kids used to purchase liquid soap and tip it in the fountain and watch while mountains of foam blew all over the park and onto the road. That together with political correctness as it now would need to be fenced off in case small children fell in and drowned and then blamed it on the Council and sued. I am glad this is not the case everywhere. Thanks, again.

john m. shaw said...

Hi Alice, I also remember MarkFoys and also the nursery located next to the Bus Stops.The Famous actress Katherine Grayson also appeared at the Raindrop Fountain. The rusty Rose Fountain is Located in the Coucil owned parkland opposite and operated for many years but kids used to pour a bottle of liquid soap into it and watch mountains of soap blow all over the park and road. I think that and also political thinking that if a child fell in and drowned it would be the Council's fault and they would be sued. Thankfully, Sydney does still have a few fountains. Thanks for the memory. John

Mark said...

Hi Alice,
I am interested in finding an image and info about the large artwork (?) which was high up to ceiling height above the mezzanine cafe.It appears in this image on top left:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/glenhsparky/5059459512

In that time, when Roselands was built, the thematic motifs were a mixture of market place/ medieval fair and civic square. Though Bankstown Square was the nearer centre, Roselands held a greater allure for me. There was just something more magical about it. In the 70's many of its original features remained, and because I was tiny, they seem to take on an epic dimension in my memory. Artworks sand fountains and the trappings of civil society are pretty far from contemporary malls concerns- its just a different time I guess.

Alice said...

That is a fantastic, photograph, Mark, Roselands ceratinly had an eclectic decor. It would be both surprising and delightful if that piece of art work still existed. Good luck with your quest.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering what famous acts or events people remember at Roselands. Some acts have already been mentioned. I remember Leo Sayer, Marty Rhone, Tina Arena, Margaret Urlich and Tom Baker (Doctor Who). I think also Tiny Tim appeared at the Raindrop Fountain stage. Can anyone add to the list. Roselands was a complete shopping and entertainment destination/ I wish the current management would recreate some of the magic and return some of the fantastic features such as the roof top area and the rain drop fountain.

Anonymous said...

Dear Alice,
A couple of points.
(1) Anonymous, October 12, 2015 at 11:26PM mentioned the various acts. I have seen an old newspaper advertisement on the web for the "Beach Boys" appearing at Roselands. I recall Normie Rowe, Jamie Redfern and Johnny Young performing at the Raindrop fountain. Personally, in 1973, I was a year 4 student at St Michael's Belfield. The school's 4th, 5th and 6th classes performed Christmas Carols on stage at the Raindrop fountain. At the conclusion of the performance every student received an ice-cream cone from "Mr Whippy" located on the lower ground floor between "Bob Pollard" discount store and the "Igloo" delicatessen and the staircase. The staircase was replaced by hyrdraulic lifts.
(2) The "Raindrop" fountain, as I recall before it was dismantled for renovations was not functioning for many years. When it was functioning, you could see the drops slowing dripping down the nylon strings.
(3) I stand corrected, I regret to say, that I doubt that we will never see the return of an 'open space' with architectural feature such as the "Raindrop" fountain in any future developments. According to the Roselands website, future development will include increasing the number of department stores and specialty shops. It will however, see the return of a cinema multiplex instead of the "Theatre Beautiful"/"Cinema Beautiful". Most likely with larger screens, better sound systems and more comfortable seating.
(4) If you think about the renovations made to the complex in the 1990s, the open space was two floors. That was empty space not return revenue to the landlord. That empty space was considerable in potential floorspace. This is a trend you will find in many shopping centres. For example, the former Westfield shopping centre at Burwood, 1966-1998, had a large open space. Remember the silver balloons suspended in the air by air? The new Westfield at Burwood (1999 onwards) does not have any open space for large concerts. Perhaps Roselands does have a much reduced 'performance space' in the food court and does cater for smaller childrens' concerts during the school holidays. In the end, the days of shopping malls REGULARLY attracting big acts to its premises are over. When the 'numbers are crunched' attracting such acts may not be that economical.

Anthony P of Belfield, LLB(UNSW)2012
PS I have contributed before to this post.

Alice said...

Welcome back, Anthony. That is a good explanation of why public spaces in malls have chnaged over the years. I am not a local anymore but am glad to hear that Roselands may be getting a cinema back. Like you I have vivid memories of the Raindrop Fountain once it was past its prime with those gooey droplets running down the nylon strips. There was a short lived replacement up in the food court as I recall. I wonder how long the centre will continue to have such vast 'paddocks' of space around it? Last time I visited the adjoining Canterbury area apartment blocks were under construction on almost every possible site.

Glen said...

Hi Alice, I really enjoyed reading your article and follow up comments. Like so many others the childhood memories came flooding back. I grew up in Hurstville, and was frequently at Roselands with my family. I was born the same month that Roselands opened back in '65 and have always felt a connection for that reason. Most things have been mentioned, but I also remember seeing Joe the Gadget Man there, doing a promotional show probably at Nock & Kirbys. Christmas time brings the strongest memories. The walk through the Grace Brother's Christmas diorama's were like being transported to magical place for a little kid (similar feel to the old River caves at Luna Park). As other's have mentioned, I'd really love to see a photo of the giant Santa they used to put into place through the main entry sign on the KGR entrance. The Roselands page on Facebook were going to search their archives but no result yet :)

Jo said...

Hi Alice, Thank you so much for the memories. We lived in Fenwick Ave, right near the pool. I remember before the pool opened, our Dad snuck us in for a first swim. I remember the first Thursday night late night shopping, Roselands was packed. If anyone remembers the Sharpies from the 70's,they were all over that night. I remember the Town Hall Sharps leader - named Sparrow haha made a grand entrance. Roselands had fans from even the weirdest peeps it seems :) My Mum ran the Nut Shop which was located under the stairs opposite the escalators, then it moved opposite the chicken shop and Jimmy's Kitchen. I used to work there on Thursday night's and Saturday's for years. I remember seeing a show at the Raindrop Fountain one Christmas - it was a group from Hawaii - one of the dancers called Brother Hohu was very sweet and friendly to us. He even corresponded with my sister after they returned home. There were also lots of fashion shows at the Raindrop and I remember Johnny Farnham, Jame Redfern and others. The Christmas Parade was also a favourite. The Carnival Rooftop, Four Corners were our regular hangouts. Favourite shops were the record store on the first floor and the pet shop on the top floor. Really enjoyed reading all of the posts :)

Anonymous said...

If you wish to get a copy of the cool Roselands "We Love You" Red Flexi disc..there is one currently for sale on EBay..looks like its in pretty good nick..
Here's the link: http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=222333073026

Danielle Gee said...

I have very vivid memories of Roselands as a kid. Catching the 8 am bus from Bardwell Park direct to Roselands every Saturday morning - on my own or with my cousin. I'd spend hours there, especially in the record store or at the raindrop fountain, where ironically I later performed there on a few occasions. The first dancing competition in the area outside the complex near the bus stops, put on by 2SM at the time. A makeshift stage set up with kids picked from the audience to dance. Hysterical but magical memories. I managed to get to the final where the song we had to dance to was a shocker. It was 'Goin up the Country'by Canned Heat. Then in late 70's entered the disco dance competition at the Raindrop fountain. My father took grainy photos from the second level staircase looking down on the fountain. I still remember the outfit I had on, dancing to the Jackson 5. And later after becoming a dancer, performing with a host of celebrities of the time at the Raindrop Fountain including Deborah Gray, Johhny Farnham and the dance team from Saturday Night Fever and Thank God It's Friday TV show we were part of - my dance partner and I danced the Robot, dancing to The Dancin' Machine'J5 - we were dressed as robots in black lycra body suits with huge white afro wigs and silver boots and silver logos, the costumes of which I made myself. I used to have wonderful photos of these in my folio book, but it went missing and disappeared for good in 1990. I am still distraught over losing all those magnificent original photos. I loved the Chinese mini store in a corner of the 1st floor between the staircase which had beautiful pieces made of cork and other wonderous Chinese oddities. I remember I was obsessed with the Harlem Globe Trotters and on their first trip to Australia were performing at Roselands one Saturday afternoon - in the car park!!!! There was no where else they could put them. Hysterical. I made my dad take me and I got to meet and 'play' with them. I was about 12. I was in awe. And the jewellery store on the right hand side of the entrance as you entered Roselands. I would gaze in their for ages, wishing I could buy something in my early years. Many wonderful hours spent at Christmas shopping for my family. Yes, great memories of Roselands always will be with me.

Anonymous said...

Dear Alice,
I may have made a mistake in reference to directing the viewer in viewing the 'open court' behind the "Raindrop Fountain". I referred to the staircase where people could view the 'open court' and the glass panels of the "Viking Restaurant". I should have referred to the left of the photo, not the right. The right of the photo was a walkway that included a flower shop and a travel bureau.
My apologies.
Regards
Anthony P, LLB(UNSW)(2012) of Belfield

Anonymous said...

Dear Alice,
The reference to the photo from behind the "Raindrop Fountain", is from page 139, and pages 128-144, “Leisure Space, The Transformation Of Sydney 1945-1970”, Paul Hogben and Judith O’Callaghan, NewSouth Publishing, ISBN 9781742233826 (pback), 9781742246802 (ePDF).

You could write a thesis on on the topics discussed in these few pages. For example the idea in designing open spaces and architectural features to engage the shopper, a visual 'Disney Land' seems to have been gone in today's Roselands or in fact today's shopping centre designs.

In an earlier post, the bottom line of removing or not incorporating open spaces means that potential rental revenue could not be generated. However the feeling of community, watching those shows is missing.

Regards
Anthony of Belfield, LLB(UNSW)(2012) of Belfield

Anonymous said...

Great memories guys. I am interested in your thoughts on what future actions current Roselands centre management could do to bring back the memories by trading on Roselands great heritage? For example, bring back the fountains, water wheel in the front, etc. Anthony P, I think your right. A thesis could be written on the memories here. If you write it, I will read it.

Keep the memories coming guys. It takes me back to the great old days of Roseland's Golden Era!

Michele Bowden said...

I remember going in being so excited never to have seen or experience anything like this then was truley amazing.. i loved Roseland it was my home away from home.. a place i could hang abs be safe and comfortable..The model shows at the fountain. .The circus's,the point rides... iceskating in the car park... The pool. .The movies..i grew up there. .And worked there..

Anonymous said...

Dear Alice,
I found a site conducted by the Cinema and Theatre Historical Society of Australia. They have a searchable database of historic cinemas at http://www.caths.org.au/venues/venue_search.html. I placed the search term "Roselands" under the "VENUE LOCATION" field and came with interesting information about the "Roselands Theatre Beautiful".

The "Roselands Theatre Beautiful" was operated by Grace Brothers, and ran between 1965 and 1985. It had a seating capacity of 420 ('65-'69) and 412 ('70-'80s). The current status is "Beyond recognition". I understand that when Roselands was renovated in the 1990s, the 'cinema' was gutted and converted to retail space. The current is JB Hifi.

In comparison to other multiplexes and suburban theatres of the time, it was one of the most comfortable and modern cinemas I have been in. It would be nice to see photos of the auditorium as it was. I recall the blue carpet leading to the entrance of auditorium, the hidden lighting in the ceiling's recesses, the wooden side panels, and the large red spotlights towards the front of the proscenium.

The plans for future redevelopment includes a multiplex, probably much better than than the "Theatre Beautiful" but I understand the plans are on hold

Regards
Anthony P, LLB(UNSW)(2012), of Belfield NSW

Anonymous said...

On April 24, 2011 at 3:11PM, I made a remark on point (5) about the wooden beams of the staircase starting from the lower ground floor to the second flloor. In that point I also recalled a movie involving a chasing scene.

It comes from the movie “Colour Me Dead” made in 1969. It was filmed mainly around that staircase and escalators. The film clip is 3min 48sec and is located at https://www.facebook.com/thewinnerissydney/videos/1618231858305367/ .


Also note the movie clip has some scenes of the ground floor without viewing the Raindrop Fountain. Also note the arrangement of the escalators then (1960s-1990s) to now.

In the 1960s, one side was dedicated to one escalator coming down from the higher floor and one escalator going down to the lower floor. Today, one side has two escalators from the floor above; for example on the current floor one escalator on the way up and the other escalator on the way down.

To illustrate here is a clip of the escalator arrangement of then at https://www.facebook.com/thewinnerissydney/videos/1928456360793038/

Regards
Anthony P LLB(UNSW)(2012) of Belfield

Unknown said...

Can someone tell me the lyrics of Roselands we love you?

Jennie, Newtown said...

Hi everyone!
Thank you Alice for recording your memories. I'm hoping you or someone else might be able to help me. I just bought a coin purse in a vintage shop in Enmore. Inside there are two old ticket stubs (printed on a light-weight card) for Roselands Theatre Beautiful dated April 14. I'd love to get a gauge on year. They're obviously older than 1966, but does anyone know when the theatre closed down?
Thank you,
Jennie

Anonymous said...

Not sure if I am a bit late with this or not but had to say at least a few words considering I grew up around this shopping centre as kid with mum and the 2 brothers (lived back in those days of the 90's in Beverly Hills so Roselands was our main hub)...

We moved in mid 1997 up the north coast and then again returned to Sydney years later for a short period and funnily enough by then was working at the place (The Reject Shop) in 2005 to mid 2006 as a 20 year old at the shopping complex.

Have left Sydney again in the years after but still try to get back and get to Roselands whenever I/ We (the family) can and have a look around and see what has changed.

Older brother also worked in the 90's at the Lowes store there as a young guy. I remember many of late Thursday nights we would go with mum and wait in the back of the old XF ford wagon waiting to pick him up in the carpark (blue level) (great times)...

can also still remember that old Four Corners food court, wish that had been left as it was... last memory I had of that place was maybe early 1997 before we left Sydney, by 2000 or so I know it had gone and almost that whole side of the building had been renovated to accommodate the new (then Rain Drop) area...

also miss the huge middle area down the escalator from the food court they had for entertainment features/ Santa every year at X-Mas etc etc etc... that was great and should have been untouched also but anyway can't help that I suppose. I don't remember the upstairs mezzanine area, was told about it by parents, older brother... and went there as an infant I think maybe...

I could go on and on really but yeah am just more than happy I was able to share what I know and remember of the place as a younger guy so many years ago, I am 34 now.

kitt said...

Hi all my name is Kitt Hiscott i used to work at Mr Whippy after school and on Thurs nights and Sat mornings..From there i was snapped up by Igloo Deli and was with them for about 12 yrs i transferred to Sth Australia with IGLOO DELI ..I have been trying to find out what happened to them but keep drawing blanks Any help would be gratefull ty

Anonymous said...

Dear Alice,
I went to Roselands on the 29th April 2020 for the first time in over a year to buy essential groceries. Since then, there has been a renovation to the lower ground floor. The renovation was priced at $100 million.

Indeed it is quite impressive. My perception is the Woolworths and Aldi stores would have to be the largest Woolworths and Aldi stores I have visited compared to the size of both stores at Chullora and Ashfield Mall.

Instead of stairs and ramps linking the lower ground floor to the car parks, there are travelators linking the lower ground to the shops. In addition to the outside of the Reject Shop, there is an elevator that takes you from the lower ground basement carpark level to the highest level carpark level. No need to take the hydraulic elevators where the former staircase.

The space of the lower ground (shopping) floor is certainly an improvement of the previous lower ground floor improvement in 1991.

However, it does not match the grandeur of the former Grace Brothers which included the escalators from the "Fashion Square Level" ground floor to the lower ground floor and the spiral staircase along side the elevators from the lower ground floor to the highest floor (furniture and the former accounts payable).

On my visit to Roselands on the 29th April 2020, due to the legal social distance requirements of the covid-19 virus, I felt I had the shopping centre to myself.

Thank you,
Anthony P, LLB(UNSW)(2012), Belfield NSW 2191


backcreek said...

Anthony, I think it was called America the beautiful and was a travel promotion for the US. I remember going in there every afternoon on the walk home from school. I particularly liked the flight down the Grand Canyon.

Anonymous said...

To "kitt" December 6, 2019 at 1:51PM, "backcreek" June 2, 2020 at 7:59AM and Alice. I hope I can answer "kitt"'s and "backcreek"'s questions.

To "kitt", Mr Whippy was near the former staircase now hydraulic lifts. Mr Whippy was almost opposite the Igloo deli. The Igloo deli occupied the corner. Both Mr Whippy and Igloo Deli are gone long time ago.

Before the lower ground floor renovations, the space occupied by the Igloo deli was a jewelry shop. Since my last visit, I have not paid attention to what is the space of the jewelry shop and former Igloo deli. I checked all jewelry stores at https://www.roselands.com.au/stores/ . Each jewellry store shows a map of the location of the shop. There is no evidence of a jewellry shop occupying the former space occupied by the Igloo deli.

The space occupied by the former Mr Whippy was a stall selling brand-compatible printer cartridges. It's no longer there.

If you understand that before the hydraulic lifts, there was the staircase from the LG to the top floor as shown in the 1969 movie "Colour Me Dead". “Colour Me Dead” made in 1969. It was filmed mainly around that staircase and escalators. The film clip is 3min 48sec and is located at https://www.facebook.com/thewinnerissydney/videos/1618231858305367/

To playback the movie clip, highlight the whole address and copy from "https" to "....367/" and paste in address bar of your browser.

However, I do recall my primary school, St Michael's Belfield performed some Christmas carols in front of the Raindrop Fountain. At the conclusion of the performance we were all 'rewarded' with a Mr Whippy ice-cream served on a pink ice-cream cone.

To "backcreek", June 2, 2020 at 7:59AM, to confirm, the movie with the eight screens housed in an inflatible baloon with a print of the globe was the movie "America The Beautiful" as replied earlier by "Anj said...." May 29, 2014 @ 2:17AM. I recall the inflatable balloon was located in the carpark to the left as you drive up Roselands Drive.

You remembered the flight down the Grand Canyon, and I recalled the fast drive along the winding streets of San Francisco. I don't know if you recall the sensation in your body in the Grand Canyon segment. For me the drive along the long winding roads of San Francisco had a physical effect on me such as feeling dizzy.

Reflecting on the various methods of film projection, the 8-screen "America The Beautiful" was shot in 'Circarama', the brand for 360 degree vision achieved by encircling the auditorium with screens in front, side and behind you. The other projection technique was Cinerama whose screen was designed to extend the field of vision of the projected image to the side of your retinas. The early versions of Cinerama required three cameras to record and three projectors to playback. This was replaced by 70mm film presentations marketed as Cinerama. Today we have Imax which has an extremely huge screen. The former Darling Harbour's Imax (to be replaced) had the largest screen in the world.

The feature "America The Beautiful" was produced by the Walt Disney organisation, and the Walt Disney organisation filed for a patent for the recording and projection methods. This page, towards the bottom contains the designs for the auditorium which is the exact arrangement as shown at Roselands. The other illustrations toward the bottom of the page show the eight cameras located on top of a station wagon.

Reference: https://www.yesterland.com/circarama.html

Finally "America The Beautiful" was a movie exhibited between 1958 and 1984 with revisions. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/America_the_Beautiful_(Disney_film)

Thank you Alice for allowing people to share one's experience at Roselands.

Thank you,`
Anthony P, LLB(UNSW)(2012), of Belfield

Anjali said...

I went to that sensoround cinema too.
It was open in school holidays I think.
We lived walking distance from Roselands so I could go there alone in school holidays at age 9 and 10 but remember going to the cinema with my brother and others.
It did have a name. America the beautiful?? Something like that.
School swimming day once a week was at Roseland pool.
I saw Jamie Redfern and also Graham Kennedy perform under the raindrop fountain.
Got Graham's autograph and told him everyone said my Dad looked like him. Lol
But mostly I liked to go and pay another 10 cents on my David Cassidy record Cherish which I had to pay off weekly with pocket money. Lol
And buy cool plastic Indian bangles at the Indian clothing shop and eat the same yucky thing each time in the cafeteria.
So why am I on this page??
The memory of the song Roselands we love you and its funny red plastic 45 rpm single came to my mind and I couldn't resist searching.
I like to stretch my memory far back

Allison said...

Hi there, the donut shop down near Franklins was called Puffies. My best friend worked there from 1989 for about 2 or 3 yrs