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Sidney Myer

Portrait of a man in a suit and tie with a moustache
Sidney Myer, 1918. On loan from the estate of the late Sidney B Myer

Businessman and philanthropist

The Myer Emporium opened in Bourke Street, Melbourne, in July 1914.

Sidney Myer, a Russian Jewish immigrant, began as a hawker before establishing a successful drapery in Bendigo. He opened a store in Melbourne in 1911 but as his success grew he needed a much larger space, one modelled on American department stores.

Myer was an innovator. He put merchandise on open display, held regular sales, and provided a creche for customers’ children.

When the outbreak of war disrupted international trade, Myer opened a London office to deal with European suppliers, sourced more products locally, and began in-house manufacturing. Despite the difficult conditions, the war years were a boom time for the Myer Emporium.

A black and white photograph of a corner of a shop’s toy department
A corner of Myer’s toy department, 1920s. State Library of Victoria
Newspaper advertisement for the opening of the Myer Emporium with a drawing of a woman outside of a building lined with six flags
Advertisement for the opening of the Myer Emporium, Argus, 10 July 1914. National Library of Australia
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