Cardboard hat box from Myer Chadstone, with removable cardboard lid which is decorated with printed scenes of the shopping centre.

This hat box was produced for the Myer Chadstone department store soon after it opened in 1960. The lid is decorated with printed drawings depicting the shopping centre. It was supplied to customers who purchased a hat from the store, and was used to transport the hat home safely. Many customers also used it to store their hats, and keep them safe from damage. The original owner of this box did that, as she has written a description of the hat on the side of the box.

Physical Description

Square hat box, consisting of three sheets of cardboard which have been cut and folded to form a box shape. The pieces have been secured with numerous metal staples. It has a removable cardboard lid, taped at the corners, which is decorated with orange and white strips and printed scenes of the shopping centre.


This hat box is significant as it represents the earliest days of Chadstone Shopping Centre, which opened in 1960. It was Australia's first regional self contained shopping centre. It has been redeveloped constantly since then, and remains Australia's largest shopping centre. It is also significant due to its pictorial representations of the shopping centre on the lid, particularly in relation to its reliance of cars to bring consumers to the centre.

After visiting the USA in the mid 1950s to look at the developments in shopping, businessman Ken Myer (son of Sidney Myer) return enthused with the concept of shopping centres established away from the traditional city centres and suburban strip shops. They were reliant on the growth of the suburbs and the explosion in car ownership, both trends which were also emerging in Australia. A Herald Newspaper article reported him as saying to the Myer board `I am convinced of the future development of retail business in areas other than the centre of capital cities. We should be turning our minds to the possibilities of regional shopping centres of the kind making their appearance in America.'

In 1958 Myer purchased part of the Convent of the Good Shepherd land near East Malvern. In less than two years, the 30 acres of pastures was converted to the largest centre of its type in Australia. Chadstone Shopping Centre was opened on 3 October 1960 by the Premier Henry Bolte, and was advertised as 'a new era in suburban shopping'. It included 72 shops, a three-level Myer department store, a supermarket, an upper and lower mall, radio station 3UZ, exhibition hall, medical centre and child minding facilities.

The success of Chadstone heralded a transformation of shopping in Australia from the traditional focus on the central city and local strip-shopping precinct to the now familiar mall type shopping centre. Chadstone's success led to a proliferation of similar developments throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

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