The Waltons chain was established in 1953.
On 22 October 1964 Waltons opened 12 stores around Melbourne, including three department stores (City, Prahran and Brunswick) and nine 'Home Lovers' stores (including Footscray, Collingwood, Camberwell and Croydon), giving Waltons over 60 stores across the eastern states. A medal was issued to staff who worked on opening day of the Waltons store in Bourke Street, Melbourne (NU 42191). It expressed the appreciation of company principal J.R. Walton.
Bourke Street (reported as the city's first new Department Store for 40 years) was the chain's flagship store in Victoria, costing over 3 million pounds to construct and boasting '53 different Departments'. It owed its overall design to the American retailer Sears Roebuck, who were in partnership with the Waltons family. It particularly marketed itself to young people, promoting itself to 'Young Melbourne' as 'a store you can call your own. A smart new place to meet - and eat - and shop for new trend setting styles from leading fashion houses, and the latest in transistors.' It also offered Waltons All Purpose Charge Account, 'ideal for young shoppers', as a way of delaying payment for merchandise with only a 'small accounting charge'.
The store was officially opened by the Lady Mayoress of Melbourne, Mrs E.L Curtis, who cut the ribbon to let in the thousands of eagar shoppers waiting to enter. The Chairman of Waltons, Mr J R Walton, reported that the day's trading far exceeded expectations, and that 'staff were taken out of our offices and put to work on the selling floors'. Even so, advertisements were taken in the next day's newspapers thanking customers for 'one of the greatest days in Melbourne shopping history' and for their 'patience and uncomplaining even though services were strained beyond capacity, and it was not possible to offer the prompt and efficient attention for which Waltons are famous.'
Waltons traded until the late 1980s, a victim of the recession and bad management, having passed from the Waltons family to Alan Bond in 1981, then to the Venture Stores company. In 1985, during Alan Bond's ownership, the Bourke Street store was closed and the building sold off, eventually being demolished as the site of the new Village Cinema Complex.