Home - Chermside & District History

Store to Office Block and Drive-in

G Conradi Polsloe Store General Grocer & Co

George Conradi Senior's shop was the one-stop shop of the 19th Century; he would have carried just about whatever the local people needed. If he did not have an item in stock he could send to Brisbane Town and have it delivered within days, provided the road was not flooded or otherwise blocked.

His notice says Groceries but he probably also sold hardware, produce, fresh fruit, explosives, guns, footwear, clothing, tools and a lot of other things the local farmers needed. The people were a hardy lot, very self-reliant, made do with what they had and simply did without the rest.

Other shopkeepers followed Conradi on the site, one of the last being Joe Fisher who took over after he returned from World War I and continued well into the 20th Century.

George Conradi's Polsloe Store on SW corner Latham & Gympie 1890
George Conradi and his Polsloe store on the South West corner of Latham Street and Gympie Road. After World War I Joe Fisher had his store on the same site. Conradi may have been the second store in Downfall Creek after John Patterson who was located near Banfield Street on the site of the present Green Motel.

A Modern Office Block


This modern office block is very much in the late 20th Century mode and is an example of professional services replacing the earlier small business with the office in the back room or at the home of the owner. This type of business sells professional services, not goods as the Conradi did.

The office can be occupied by a very wide variety of professionals including legal, financial, banking, medical, dental, town planning, engineering, etc. It is representative of the great change that has taken place along Gympie Road in the late 20th Century and is continuing into the 21st Century.

Office block SW corner of Latham and Gympie
The anonymous office block is typical of its type, often built and owned by a person or firm and then leased to an occupier. The lease holder then puts up a sign and furnishes the office to suit the business.

Conradi's Replacement, the Drive-in


The one-stop shop of the 20th Century which replaced George Conradi and his successors was based on the widespread ownership of the automobile. Cars for the customers and trucks for the suppliers; the horse was gone and smell of exhaust fumes was the new perfume replacing the scent and sight of horse manure.

Allan & Stark Ltd brought the inner city to Chermside and other entrepreneurs quickly followed in other suburbs. The supermarket of Brisbane Cash and Carry, the department store of Allan and Stark Ltd and twenty six smaller shops were all under one roof, while the lot was surrounded by a large parking area for cars. "An island of shopping in a sea of cars" became a reality and small businesses like Conradi's joined the new bandwagon.

Opening of Alan & Stark 1957
In 1957 the firm of Allan & Stark opened the first drive-in shopping centre in Australia. This was a revolutionary step in shopping and heralded the end of the small corner shop era. The motor car had come to stay and revolutionised transport. Customers had wheels and would travel. The crowd was treated to a helicopter display which included dropping numbered ping-pong balls for prizes. There must have been hundreds of photographs taken and this one was by Jeff Campbell.