The Lolly Shop (former site) – 2 Stephens Street, Annerley

Looking lonely and unloved at the corner of Stephens and Waldheim Streets at Annerley is a tiny corner shop, officially known as the “Tuck Shop”. But to thousands of children who attended Junction Park State School in the two decades following World War Two, it was the “Lolly Shop”. Strategically placed opposite the school, it had the Stephens Scout Hall, now a private residence, behind. It was also close to the Junction Park Drill Hall (1914) in Dudley Street East and could service that market of reserve military forces.

The first owner was a Mr Jones and the Page family rented the shop for a time. In January 1955, Kenneth McPhee and his wife Glenda managed the premises for a short period until on March 11 1955 Frank Akehurst and his wife Dorothy came for four years. Moving into a business can be a daunting task and so carpenter Fred Rousell and his wife Elizabeth rented the shop from 1959. The Rousells had migrated from Scotland in 1957, to start a new life in Australia. After two successful years, they purchased the freehold with adjoining house in 1961.

Opening hours were set, to suit their young clients 08:00-16:00. There was little passing trade. Elizabeth worked full time and her young son Alan assisted before and after school as well as during lunch time. Up to two women worked at peak lunch time (“Big Lunch” only). Fred had his own business as a carpenter/ builder. Alan Rousell attended Junction Park State School 1957-1959. He remembers skate boarding down Waldheim Street. Hundreds of bicycles were parked on the old split hardwood fence of their property and under their house. Fred replaced the fence when it collapsed. He also concreted the floor and renovated the shop.

Hot food consisted of pies, hot dogs, hot chips and potato scallops. “Mushie peas” were popular. ‘Be Wise, Choose Tasty Hot Nysa Pies, They’re Delicious’ stated the folding street sign. Fred helped prepare food in advance. After cutting his finger several times on the potato cutter, he did away with potato scallops! Fred also had an electric rotating potato-peeling machine (abrasive). The hot dogs were supplied from BCC, a wholesale meat factory next to the Mater Hospital in Annerley Road. The Crown pie heater still in the family’s possession was made at the Greenslopes foundry on the Greenslopes Shopping Centre site.

Cream buns, cream doughnuts and jam doughnuts cost two pence (2¢) and were supplied from Daisy Dell Cake Manufacturer in Fortitude Valley. Tristrams, Kirks, Coca Cola and Fanta soft drink were popular. Fred had to hide the returned (deposit refunded) recycle bottles under his house as the school was collecting bottles as a fund raiser. The school pool filtration system was purchased using these funds. Coca Cola Bottlers held Yo Yo competitions in the late 1950s with demonstration outside the shop by two American champions. These novelties were made of porcelain or white glass and sold for two shillings and sixpence (25¢).

Alan was in charge of drinks and ice creams. “Peters Ice Cream – The Health Food of a Nation” and “Streets” were offered in packet items only, no cones. “Sunny Boys” and “Satellite” were tops!  “Satellite” ices were named after the Russian Sputnik flights and used as a promotion with DUX books at the shop. “The man inside the Danny Dux space suit was sweating profusely” recalls Alan. Leading children’s radio station 4BH did the promotion.

Lollies came in boxes and large jars and sold in paper packets. Being close to the school, Dux writing pads, pencils and Radiant pencil sharpeners were big sellers. No fruit was sold but an orange was left in the freezer by mistake. One boy wanted it and for a short period created a huge demand.

Orders were taken in the morning on cardboard or on order sheets which were marked ‘paid’ together with the student’s name. It was chaotic at lunch.  “Children would tap the glass with their pennies and yell. It was amazing the counter was not broken” as it creaked against the press. The shop was arranged as a ‘horseshoe’. Alan described it as “The Witching Hour”.

Cigarettes, Vincent APC and Bex analgesics were popular with teachers who needed stress relief. Teachers often sent children with money to buy them. Fireworks from China were sold legally. “Tuppeny bungers went off like a stick of dynamite” (Alan). Sales were for two weeks before Guy Fawkes Night on 5 November. Alan got the unsold items. Revenue came mostly in coins and were rolled in paper for banking. The only notes came from teachers – ten shillings ($1) only.

Competition came in the form of a visiting pie cart at the western end of the school yard and Lunn’s Bakery in Ipswich Road. In the 1960s, the school developed its own tuck shop, first two days per week, then five days and finally banned children from leaving the school grounds and entering the shop during school hours. The Lolly Shop operated into the late 1960s before and after school. The family artefacts include ice block signs in decimal currency (post 1966). The shop is now used for storage.
Trevor McKell 07 3892 2975 – Information based on oral history interview with Elizabeth & Alan Rousell.