I am now 45,000 words into On Jacaranda Street, novel #2 in the A Jack & Bea Mystery series. Thank goodness, Jack, Bea and Harold have now left New Guinea and sailed into beautiful Sydney Harbour.
On Jacaranda Street is set in the Sydney of 1923, and what fun it's been researching my hometown. Aside from some stunning buildings (that are sadly no longer standing), there were department stores and emporiums I vaguely remember my grandmother mentioning to me when I was a kid. Two of them I'm pretty sure I recall - Anthony Hordern's and Mark Foy's. I'm not sure which one my grandmother went into to try on gloves - she told me how she placed her elbow on a glass-topped display case, and the assistant rolled on a glove for her to try. Elegant times! I'm thinking of using this as a scene in On Jacaranda Street.
So, I've been researching Anthony Hordern's and was amazed to find it was once the largest department store in the world, with its Palace Emporium covering 52 acres in the early 1900s. The Emporium had tea rooms, public telephone booths, and a library and classroom for its 3000 or so employees. Imagine!
Naturally, Bea will need to go into Anthony Hordern's to buy some clothes for the modern woman of 1923. Or perhaps Mark Foy's, which took up a city block on the corners of Liverpool, Castlereagh and George Streets and boasted Australia's first escalator.
Anthony Hordern's was demolished in 1986 to make way for the World Square Development, which I vividly remember because it was a giant hole in the ground for years. Mark Foy's store lives on as the Downing Centre (courthouse). I have walked past that building so many times but never knew it had been a glamorous department store. It was known as the Piazza Store and had chandeliers and even a ballroom.
I'm pretty sure I had coffee on a patio of this building - from memory, steps lead up to the entrance on the Liverpool Street side.