Emporium: Selling the dream in colonial Australia
National Library of Australia, $49.99 pb, 192 pp
Nowadays, with relentless advertising and a seemingly endless number of choices to confuse our every purchase, often only a click away from gratification, it might be tempting to imagine a time when things were simplerand retailing less pressured and more genteel. However, one would have to go a long way back in time to find an Australia without shops; indeed, to before 1790, when Sydney’s first recorded shop appeared. Indigenous Australians had traded commodities for thousands of years, but the European settlers brought thenotion of a cash transaction to the continent, even if, in the early days of settlement, a lack of liquidity led to bartering goods.