Chadstone Shopping Centre
1341 Dandenong Road, Chadstone 3148.
- Constructed in stages commencing in 1960.
- Original design by Welton Becket & Associates (USA) and Tompkins & Shaw (Australia).
- Not listed on the Victorian Heritage Register
Chadstone Shopping Centre opened to much fanfare in 1960, having cost the Myer Emporium £6 million to construct and more than 10 years to plan.
Chastone Shopping Centre was not the first shopping centre in Victoria (Bell Street Mall in Heidelberg West was opened in 1956) but was certainly the most substantial and the only one that accommodated a department store. In the late 1950's, 'flagship' department stores were only found in large cities and Australians either went to the city centre or their local strip shopping centre for purchases. The director of Myer Emporium, Kenneth Myer, had taken a considerable interest in the development of shopping centre in the United States and was convinced that the concept could be applied to Australia in the early 1960's where car ownership was rapidly increasing and the suburbs expanding.
A site was selected in the eastern suburbs that was deemed suitable for a shopping centre. After some negotiations, the Catholic Church agreed to sell 30 acres of land belonging to the Convent of the Good Shepherd. Working with American firm Welton Becket & Associates, local architects Tompkins & Shaw developed the concept, making various "Australian" modifications to the Welton Becket design.
The original Chadstone Shopping Centre consisted of a Myer department store at one end, a Dickens supermarket at the other and a long open mall between. It is not quite understood why Chadstone Shopping Centre's mall wasn't enclosed. In 1956, Victor Gruen's Southdale Shopping Centre in Minnesota was fully-enclosed, but this was still not the norm even in the USA and perhaps Myer felt that it was unnecessary and excessively expensive in Australia. (A photograph of Chadstone above, taken in 1962, shows the open-air mall).
The new Chadstone Shopping Centre was an immediate success and by 1967 a bowling alley had been built and the mall enclosed with a lightweight translucent fibreglass.
In the early 1980's, Chadstone was sold by Myer to the Gandel Group which maintains ownership of the centre. In 1984, the centre had its first expansion whereby Coles New World was relocated and a Target store opened. In 1986 a Hoyt's cinema complex was added and the number of shops almost doubled. By the early 1990's only 20% of the original mall remained (albeit much altered) with the Myer department store being the only portion remaining in its original condition internally and externally.
In 1999, the shopping centre was again expanded and the original Myer store was demolished to make way for a David Jones store, with Myer moving into a newly constructed store. Further additions were made to the shopping centre in 2007 so that it is now recognised as Australia's largest shopping centre.
Despite being completely rebuilt and substantially expanded in the past 50 years, Chadstone Shopping Centre is of major cultural and historical significance to postwar Melbourne.