Thursday, 12 July 2012

The Allen Family Store

Walter Allen established a general store and residence in Addison Street Shellharbour and worked as a storekeeper from 1868 selling ironmongery and haberdashery. He conducted a Post Office from 1871 from the front room of his house.

Clothing and other goods needed by the residents of Shellharbour were ordered by catalogue through the post office and arrived by boat and later by rail. The Post Master had to deliver mail weekly on horseback to Albion Park.

Walter Allen conducted the store and post office until his death from typhoid, in 1876. His widow, Mrs. Charlotte Allen (nee: Dunster) carried on as storekeeper and post mistress until her death in 1882, when members of the family continued the business as Allen Bros.

A report from the Illawarra Steam Navigation Book 1912 describes Messrs Allen Bros ‘always ready to assist visitors planning excursions in the district’ suggesting the store met tourists demands for fishing tackle, bathing and boating at the turn of the century.

Allen’s store has had some modifications to the original building over the years, however, much of the original building still remains.

The original cash register from Allens store and a photograph album and bible  belonging to Kathleen and Gwen Allen (Walter and Charlotte's granddaughters) are part of the Tongarra Museum collection.

Allen Bros Post Office and Store c.1900
Shellharbour Images Shellharbour City Libraries.

Page from Kathleen Allen's photograph album c.1917, taken at Dunster's Hill, Shellharbour.
Tongarra Museum collection

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