Albury's Abikhair Emporium Collection

When the Abikhair store was closing in the mid 1990s AlburyCity was fortunate enough to acquire the complete merchandise and stock from this iconic Albury store for the collection.  This included original merchandise and advertising material from previous decades, especially the 1950s.

The store owners and operators; Saad and Betro Abikhair immigrated from Mount Lebanon and opened their Swift Street store in Albury  in 1928 after arriving in 1895 as hawkers from Melbourne. At first, Abikhair relied on Melbourne manufacturers and wholesalers but eventually began importing and supplying goods himself. Goods on offer included: girdles, stockings, clothing, household supplies, beauty supplies, toiletry supplies, sewing supplies (haberdashery), shoes, hats – and much more in the style of the emporium.

Although Saad Abikhair had been running a haberdashery business for many years, nothing like the new store had been seen on the border before. The purpose-built store had two entries, one each for men and women, which navigated patrons to appropriate sections of the store. As it was considered inappropriate for men to see, let alone purchase, women's unmentionables, the entry for men took them through sporting goods and men's supplies. Women were directed past the women's, children's, men's and household supplies counters before reaching the register.

This collection celebrates Albury's own version of the 1950s beauty myth. Stylised 1950s women promote toiletries, women's garments even vacuum cleaners! This stunning marketing material demonstrates the context of the 1950s woman and the society they lived in.

  • See more of the collection on Flickr