If you lived in Melbourne in 1900, and you wanted to buy a watch, some jewellery, a cutlery set, glassware, or a wedding present, you would most likely have visited Edments’ Melbourne Supply Stores, opposite Myers in Bourke St.
The three-storey shop was full of delightful things imported from Britain, America and Europe and it was a great place to browse before buying.
In 1903 a journalist wrote: “The business reminds a visitor of one of the bazaars in the East, so varied and attractive is the display of wares which meet the eye at every turn.”
Alfred Edments had arrived in Australia without much money and he learnt his merchandising trade through working in a wholesale drapery firm in Sydney.
He established his first store in Bourke St in 1888 and his fancy goods business became the largest in Victoria, with stores in Geelong as well as many suburbs of Melbourne.
He was a good employer, training his staff well, paying them half-yearly bonuses and also paying holiday and sick leave and hospital expenses – unusual for the time. He died in his forties, leaving much of his estate in trust and his philanthropy still supports charitable activities in Victoria.
The Royal Historical Society of Victoria is the peak body for local history in Victoria.
Open Monday – Thursday 10.00 – 4.00; Friday 10.00 – 3.00pm we welcome visitors.
Further information www.historyvictoria.org.au
239 A’Beckett St, Melbourne