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Posted 4 years ago


(675 items)

The Kodak Austral card is unused and is perhaps a memory of a trip by Maude Lankester to the far north of New South Wales. No address, no date, just the name on the verandah of the store: “Geo. Mallam & Co.”.

At first I had no idea of the town. But the name of the store was enough to lead me to Mullumbimby - The Biggest Little Town in Australia. It lies 628 km (390 mi) NNE of my home in Sydney. That's a hell of a long war from Emu Park - Maude Lankester's home (1,317.7 km or 818.78 miles)!

The store was built in 1910. The building pictured no longer exists but was situated at the corner of Burringbar St. & Studal Lane, Mullumbimby NSW 2482. At that address these days there are the remnants of an Art Deco style building that replaced this store in 1939. But the name “Mallam’s“ persists in Mullum!

The card looks like it dates to the years of World War I.

"God Speed and Safe Return", “Welcome!” "God Speed and Safe Return"

At the moment I still do not know the event for these festivities. But on the veranda you can see some servicemen in uniform and someone on the left that I believe is the shopkeeper George Septimus Mallam (1874 – 1937).

“In 1910 Mr. Mallam foresaw the business possibilities of the district and built the present brick building of George Mallam and Co. Ltd., which was destined to play a great part in the establishment of the Mullumbimby of today.” Northern Star (Friday 26 February 1937)

This store became part of the life of the town. On the net I was able to find references to the store in both poetry and prose!

HOME DELIVERY - John "Jack" Bird.
(circa 1940)

"Pop delivered for God and Mallam's Store.
He stood up, stood up for Jesus
in the tray of their grocery cart –
Salvation soldier,
upright as the Cross,
balanced by a fingertip of rein,
tapes of his flannel long-johns tied around his braces.
He sang God's praise to horse and town,
both loved him for his Joy
and honest delivery of songs and their groceries.

Mallam's kept their horses in a Stuart Street barn
(the place became Mitre 10)
It reeked of leather, grain, and horse piss,
home to a lumpy old carpet snake."

BOY WITH DOG - John "Jack" Bird.
(circa 1940)

“The word whips through Mullum, empties Mallam's store.
In Burringbar Street the Middle Pub yardman rests his broom
Rising from her midday nap, the gate lady gapes and asks what's up.
The sawmiller stills his docking saw, word is passed round,
"Come'n see there's this boy, about thirteen, dragging his dog through town."

Since the 1970s and 1980s Mullumbimby aka 'Mulla' and the surrounding area have became a centre of alternative or counter culture:

“Walking into Mallam’s Grocery, Mullumbimby, you can buy Byron Bay Chai tea, packets of gluten free hippie biscuits, thick mosquito coils, incense, tea tree oil, tins of tiger balm and rennet-less organic cheese. The soya chips and tofu burgers come with mango milkshakes, do you want sprouts with that, or grated beetroot?”

The family business became a ‘cause célèbre' recently when family members sold out to Woolworths. The town revolted!

The people of Mulla loved their “General Store”.


  1. AmberRose AmberRose, 4 years ago
    Love this photo! The stars are such a clever decoration/signage.
    Package in the mail today! Finally!
  2. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Many thanks Amber. I'm still holding off on my one for you. It will be soon promise!
  3. SEAN68 SEAN68, 4 years ago
    stunning postcard!!!! and I love the the stars and the boy&dog!!!! very nice:) great info for the posting:)
  4. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Many thanks Amber, MustangT and to you too SEAN!
  5. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Many thanks Mani!
  6. SEAN68 SEAN68, 4 years ago
    Your very welcome KevinG!!!!!
  7. austrohungaro austrohungaro, 4 years ago
    Such a pity the building doesn't exist (but the Ard Deco one replacing it isn't such a bad buiding either... I confess I am addicted to GoogleMaps' Streetview :) )
  8. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Thanks austro. Love Google maps too! That deco building is not bad for a country town in Oz!
  9. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Many thanks mikelV, Eye4 and to you too AlfredoV!
  10. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Many thanks TedStraub!
  11. scottvez scottvez, 4 years ago
    Love the image!

  12. toracat toracat, 4 years ago
    Love the poems! But Reno is the Biggest Little City in the World!! haha Great story from Mullimbimby!!
  13. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Many thanks Geno, mattyG, the Moirs, Phil, Scott, rniederman, walksoftly, toolate2, ho2cultcha and to you too Don. Thanks so much to you all!
  14. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Many thanks TTomT!
  15. inky inky, 4 years ago
    Just love the old buildings and that signage is a work of clever!..great photo/card!...:-)
  16. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Many thanks inky!
  17. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Many thanks blunderBuss!
  18. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Many thanks gargoylecollector!
  19. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Many thanks petey!
  20. ozmarty ozmarty, 4 years ago
    I just love the research you you do on everything . You bring... like this an unknown place on a PC to life again .
    perhaps Brunswick Valley Historical Society might be interested in a copy of this or may provide info on who the Diggers were??
    Thanks once again .

  21. ozmarty ozmarty, 4 years ago
    Just came across this
  22. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Thanks Marty i just emailed the Heads Museum with this post on their facebook page. Thanks for input too!
  23. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Hi marty i had not seen the abc site. Those photos are really great!
    The second history page on the milk bars I had seen. It is totally pertinent to Mallams. In the first photo on that page you can see the Mallam building on the corner. This shot helped me confirm the identity of the site during my research.
    Mullumbimby is a great Greek enclave and they took over some shops there a few doors along .... That weird "White Australia Cafe" became the Feros Cafe. I never knew that the Town had such a long history of Greekness 'Ellatha'. It is a great read.
  24. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Many thanks musikchoo and Tonino too!
  25. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Many thanks AEON!
  26. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Many thanks the Roper!
  27. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Many thanks VintageFran!
  28. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Many thanks MANIKIN & HO2CULTCHA!
  29. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Many thanks VANESSA 'n FORTAPACHE too!
  30. vetraio50 vetraio50, 3 years ago
    Many thanks again AGHCOLLECT!!!!
  31. vetraio50 vetraio50, 3 years ago
    Many thanks AMPHORAPOTTERY !!!!!!
  32. Radegunder Radegunder, 3 years ago
    Thanks for that interesting story!!!
  33. vetraio50 vetraio50, 1 year ago
    Many thanks belatedly RADEGRUNDER & to you too THOMAS !!!!!!!

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