WHEN Innaloo shopping centre opened in 1967, Maurice Fawcett said “people came from everywhere” to visit.
The Mirrabooka resident has been reminiscing about his time as inaugural centre manager ahead of its 50th anniversary on November 13.
Mr Fawcett was in the Australian army before working in promotions at the centre and rose to manager within six months.
Known then as Innaloo Centre, it was Perth’s largest suburban shopping centre and comprised 30 stores across 104,00sq ft, anchored by Boans department store.
It also featured Woolworths, Betts and Betts, and Sussan.
Mr Fawcett’s focus was on celebrities and events to draw shoppers in and managed to secure appearances by Lionel Rose, Johnny Farnham and Don Lane. He said Rose’s visit was a big success.
“You couldn’t get a parking spot for 5km around the shopping centre. The main things were the promotions… and the celebrities we brought over,” he said.
“People would come from miles around as they didn’t have the opportunity to see them in Perth usually.”
During Mr Fawcett’s time, the centre’s neighbour was a horse training track. Now Westfield Innaloo has 128 retailers and, as an occasional visitor, Mr Fawcett described the difference as “cheese and chalk”.
“I go there once a year to have a look; it’s really different now,” he said.
Stirling resident John Molinaari lived with his family next to the centre when it opened.
“I would visit the centre every day after school – most often than not to head to Boans, it was a first of its kind for the area,” he said.
“I never moved far away and in fact, brought my kids up in a house on the same street that I grew up in so we would often pop into Innaloo for all our wants and needs as the children were growing up.
“Now I visit the centre every morning to meet my two friends for a coffee.”
The centre is celebrating the milestone with a range of events and current centre manager Maeve Foley said it continued to be a “pillar of the community”.
There will be discounts, prizes, live entertainment, complimentary drinks and a 19m long history wall at the centre on Saturday, November 10 from 9am to 5pm and Sunday, November 11 from 11am to 5pm.
Innaloo shopping centre timeline
November 13, 1967 – Innaloo Centre opened
April 18, 1971 – Burger King expanded to Australia but became Hungry Jack’s, opening its first drive-in restaurant at the centre
1983 – Coles Myer Properties bought the centre and extended it from 9930sq m to 27,500sq m
1992 – Name changed to Innaloo City Centre and expanded again to include Kmart and a food court
December 23, 1996 – Westfield Trust Group took over ownership and changed the name to Westfield Innaloo in October, 1997
2002 – Westfield Trust Group bought adjacent centre, becoming Innaloo Megacentre
2005 – Third expansion, increasing the centre size 25 per centre
2017 – Centre’s 50th anniversary