One-Stop-Shop: Australian adaptations of the American shopping centre form

Date: 1-2 pm, Friday 4 December 2015
Venue: Room 4202 in Building H70 (New Business School Building, Codrington St), The University of Sydney

Matthew Bailey (Modern History, Macquarie University) will present a paper on “One-Stop-Shop: Australian adaptations of the American shopping centre form”.

Shopping centres provide a retail social infrastructure that most Australians engage with on a regular or semi-regular basis. They currently represent asset values of more than $126 billion and capture retail sales of around $122 billion, accounting for 47% of the country’s retail trade. Despite their social and economic significance, however, histories of this retail form have received little scholarly attention in Australia. This paper draws on archival research and oral history interviews with industry executives to explore the adaptation of the American shopping mall to Australian conditions, the unique features of the Australian model, and the reasons for its success. It argues that Australia’s planning regimes, the incorporation of a wide range of discretionary and non-discretionary retailers, the stability provided by a concentrated retail industry, and the capacity of retail property operators to adapt to change have provided the basis for a highly successful industry in Australia that is dominated by a relatively small number of retail property firms.

Bio: Matthew Bailey is a lecturer in the Department of Modern History at Macquarie University with a research interest in urban, business and retail history. He has published a number of articles and book chapters on retail and retail property history, and is writing a monograph on the history of shopping centres in Australia.

If you are interested in attending please contact Andre Pinto at by noon on Wednesday 2 December 2015 as a light lunch will be provided.

A Special Issue of Labour History, May 2017

Call for papers for a special issue of Labour History on the Labour Movement, Mutuals and Co-operatives.

The BLHG will be organising a symposium for the papers in November 2016 and successful refereed papers will be published in the May 2017 issue.