Doing the Block | State Library of New South Wales

Doing the Block

Half the pleasure of a day in town was the chance of encountering friends. On Saturday mornings, the block bounded by King and Market streets became a social meeting place – with the section of Pitt Street in between its lively centre.

Transport changed the way people shopped, and new forms of public transport prompted the
rearrangement of existing shopping precincts. After 1855, trains ran from Sydney to Parramatta.
From the 1860s horse-drawn omnibuses and steam trams conveyed shoppers into the city centre.
This altered patterns of passing trade. Mark Foy’s moved to Liverpool Street, while Marcus Clark and Grace Bros captured customers heading out west.

The opening of the City Circle Line boosted CBD shopping, encouraging retailers to build (or move) closer to it, or to extend and renovate their existing stores. David Jones opened two new stores in 1927 and 1938 but Nock & Kirby’s preferred to relocate.