Westfield Marion was one of Adelaide’s first suburban shopping centres, built in 1968 on a large expanse of land bordered by Sturt, Diagonal and Morphett Roads,
Marion was not the huge, very modern, state-of-the-art shopping centre that we know today. In fact back in the early years it was a relatively small complex that I always felt had a wonderfully strong sense of community
I vividly recall the old entertainment area, the Quarter Deck, where any promotions for the centre were presented, and as a young radio announcer at 5AD, we were often called on to compere various events on stage there, ranging from fashion parades to pop groups .
John Martin’s store was the main department store in those early years and many people still remember the old shopping centre with fond memories.
When I posted the photo above last year on the Adelaide Remember When Facebook website, it created an enormous response from those who recalled the early days of Marion Shopping Centre, comments also were posted about how it has changed so much in the past 5 decades and memories of some of the old stores and shops.
Kerrianne Springford remembered how her school band at Mitchell Park High School performed concerts there with their baton twirlers every Christmas. “The Quarterdeck at the top of the escalators had back-lit wall panels embedded with sand and shells and bubbles. Netting and glass floats hung from the ceilings and very basic food outlets sat around the edges of the area, fish and chips, sandwiches, roasts etc, not a sushi, pappadum or Maccas in sight.
She also remembered the florist on the corner to the right beyond the escalator; “and the pet shop next door tucked in the corner. There was Witchery and Sussan’s on the opposite corner. And of course, John Martins on the ground- floor. Thank you so much for bringing back my childhood. So many memories in just one small photo.
Shaun Bruce also remembered those less complicated times; “Who remembers the cocky out the front of the pet shop. Ahhh simpler days! You could even drink a beer on the stage in the centre and the quaterdeck restaurant provided great value. On a Saturday afternoon and on a Sunday the car park often hosted dads and mums teaching kids parking skills, and then there was the old robo car wash at the corner of Diagonal and Sturt road, you could push start the thing. Soo many memories of that place when it was a community place.”
Claire Thomas worked at Johnnies in Marion from 1978-82; “I lived in walking distance to Marion Shopping Centre. There is still a memory of JM’s at Marion, something special that most people are unaware of. I will let you find it if you ever shop or visit there. I have shown it my kids, the next generation.”
Great memories indeed. The comment about learning to drive in the car park will strike a chord with lots of people. Back then you didn’t pay anyone to teach your kids to drive, you took them to Marion Shopping car park!
What are your earliest memories of Marion Shopping Centre from that era?