Christopher Menz reviews 'Emporium' by Edwin Barnard

Christopher Menz reviews 'Emporium' by Edwin Barnard

Emporium: Selling the Dream in Colonial Australia

by by Edwin Barnard

National Library of Australia, $49.99 pb, 192 pp, 9780642278685

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.

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Published in March 2015, no. 369
Christopher Menz

Christopher Menz

Christopher Menz is a former Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia. He has published on the design work of William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, and is a regular contributor to ABR.

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