Some places live on in people's memories long after they've closed down. George's Department Store would have to be one of those places. For years it was the place to frock up and be seen and to shop at the Paris End of Collins Street in Melbourne's CBD.
The store first opened in the cashed-up Melbourne of 1880 and after a couple of moves made its home in the George's Building in 1889. And there it stayed for 105 years until it closed its doors in October 1995.
The George's Building circa 1912-1920. The building was designed by John Grainger and Charles D'Ebro and built in 1880. Public domain image.
Mary Dalmau is the owner/operator of Reader's Feast, the bookstore which has operated out of its new premises within the George's building since 2011. In that time she has been amazed at the amount of people who come into her store reminiscing about George's and the connection they still feel to it. Hence A Night at the George. Come along and have champagne and finger food, listen to a quartet and reminisce with former George's employees and customers.
Mary says, "I have my own memories of my mother and grandmother 'window-shopping' in the glove department of Georges, never imagining we would locate our bookstore in this lovely building. I am fascinated by the warm feeling Melburnians have towards the old Georges store, not least because it comes from people of all ages and all socio-economic backgrounds. To have the chance to hear their stories of Georges is our nod to living history".
If ONLY there was still a store like dear Georges now. What a wanton waste to remove such a glorious icon from Melbourne - a place of pure class in every way.
I was little when first taken there - magical and it never lost that magic feeling.