Pamela: In her own right
Hardie Grant Books, $49.95 hb, 330 pp
Our retail establishment has never received the spotlight focused on its predecessors, the miners, pastoralists, makers and land boomers. The next wave, the shopkeepers – the Foys, McLellans, Treadways, Nathans, Morans and Coles – are mainly remembered by fading signs above grand buildings occupied by others. (For a wonderful example of history in pressed cement, stand in Prahran’s Cato Street car park and look east.) Melbourne’s glittering exception is the Jewish-Anglican Myer dynasty.
Sidney Myer, the nation’s greatest retailer, together with the electrification of our suburban train system, changed Melbourne’s shopping habits for sixty years. His memory has been carefully perpetuated in many philanthropic institutions and in no fewer than three biographies, each of increasing veracity. His grand-niece Pamela Myer Warrender has written a good story of her part in the family empire. She is the daughter of Norman Myer, who ran the family empire from 1934 to 1956, and who has somehow been written out of the spectacular family history.