Plenty of history in store

Plaque unveiling in Grey street 2003: Helen Christoe, left, granddaughter of Murdo Mackenzie, Harry Christoe and Historical Society president Lex Ritchie.

Plaque unveiling in Grey street 2003: Helen Christoe, left, granddaughter of Murdo Mackenzie, Harry Christoe and Historical Society president Lex Ritchie.

The nucleus of the town of Glen Innes is noted in a little plaque by the footpath in Bourke Street behind Coles.

In 1852, surveyor Galloway took his bearings to survey the town of Glen Innes from Archibald Mosman’s Furracabad Station store. 

It was the first store for the area, and it was managed by Mather and Gilchrist.

Bill Cameron’s manuscript Glen Innes & District Stores – a History of Settlement from 1987 tells us: “Later Colin Ross became manager of this store and when he left, he went to Inverell, then known as Green Swamp.

“Being a man of outstanding ability Colin Ross started a store there and it was through his efforts that the town of Inverell came into being.

“James Martin took over from Mather and Gilchrist in 1865 and he on sold to Samuel White Burridge in 1876.

“When John Frederick Utz bought the store in 1880 it was the start of a new era.”

Then, much of the town business was transacted in the northern end of the town but by 1890 a shift had taken place.

By astute business methods Utz was able to draw the flow of business southwards.

Much of the town business was transacted in the northern end of the town but by 1890, by astute business methods, Utz had drawn the flow of business southwards.

Utz had travelled to Europe and while abroad he had purchased a large quantity of goods. He had also studied merchandising while in England.  

His business strategy involved taking out much advertising in the Glen Innes paper.

Prices around that time included: Flannels 1/1d, Ladies’ kid boots 6/-, Men’s coats 7/6 to 30/-, candles 3d, sewing machines £4.4.0.

Other goods offered for sale were wines and spirits, furniture and Liverpool salt [refined common salt].

In 1885 Utz commissioned Alexander Hutchison to erect a two storey building on the corner of Grey and Store (later re-named Bourke) streets.

Murdo Cameron Mackenzie and Sons bought the store in 1913, and since that group sold the  general store  in 1982 it has been a supermarket, known as Shoeys, Bi-Lo and now Coles.

The store managed by Mather and Gilchrist.

The store managed by Mather and Gilchrist.