By Cathy Jones
I received an email from John McClean about Toy Fisheries, a shop at Homebush. I have a photo (see above) dated 1962 but don’t know much about Toy Fisheries. So if anyone has some information, please add in comments:
I thought I would contact you about the now forgotten, but once immensely popular pet shop of the 60s/70s located at Homebush named Toy Fisheries.
It’s motto was “The Largest Pet Shop In the Southern Hemisphere” and was located at 127 Parramatta Rd, Homebush. The building still survives as part of the ‘Pauls Warehouse’ building.
It is difficult to describe how busy the premises would become on Saturdays and particularly Sundays with many people travelling from the Central Coast, South Coast and further for a day out. (This was prior to cinemas and other venues opening Sundays.)
The owner was Mr Col Lewis who began keeping and selling imported and self bred gold and tropical fish from his house from the 1920s in Ashfield and then Concord and Homebush.
There was a small factory located at 127 Parramatta Rd that Mr Lewis purchased in the 1950s, and then proceeded to build a new double story showroom in front of the original. The original factory was used partially as a pet sales area and also for the building of fish tanks, stands etc.
In the early 70s the building was again extended at the rear for the purpose of breeding fish, but times had changed and the large crowds began to wane with other entertainment now available. Toy Fisheries became ‘Pets Paradise’ and seemed to be linked to Grace Bros, with small stores opening in shopping centres.
I worked there for several years as a school boy and the memories above are as I recall them.
Mr Lewis’ son-in-law was the General Manager of the operation, and is Mr Alan Whelpton A.M. Mr Whelpton is very prominent in the surf lifesaving field being the ex-president.