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21 Railway Avenue
The land situated at 19-21 Railway Avenue was once a single block owned by Henrietta Calverley. In 1927, she sold it to Mrs Christina Grimwood, wife of Percy Lucien Grimwood. Mrs Grimwood sold the land in 1929 to Mr Charles Panoretto of Goulburn, a Restaurant Keeper. Mr Panoretto had taken out a mortgage with funds provided by Mr Grimwood and built the Paragon Café on one side of the land with the other part remaining vacant with some flourishing trees on it.
There is a report in the Moss Vale Post of 12 July 1929 that “Mr Will Clarke, contractor, is at present engaged in the erection of a new shop, fronting the railway station, to be occupied as a Cafe. The front of the structure will be of singular ornamental design “.
Dance studio and cafe
The Paragon Dance Studio opened in the upstairs part of the building in 1930. Over 100 people attended the opening gala night to experience how dances were run in Sydney. Dusty Booth’s Jazz Band and the ‘Electric Amplion’ (amplifier) provided the music. A Foxtrot competition and other novelties ensured patrons a memorable evening for an admission of two shillings and five pence. It is known from reports in the Moss Vale Post of January and February 1930, that there was ballroom dancing there during those months. Mr Harold Roberts coached people in “fashionable dancing”. The downstairs part of the building was run as a café.
From the mid-thirties, Mr Panoretto leased his mortgaged premises to Mr Gregorius Koutchavlis who ran the business, known as the Paragon Café. In the early 1940s, Gregorius Koutchavlis was able to buy the premises outright when Mr Grimwood exercised his power of sale to recover the funds he had invested.
It has been recalled that in the 1950’s, “Gregorius and his wife Epiniki operated their cafe in the grand manner, a kitchen out the back, a counter full of lollies, chocolates etc. down one side of the cafe, and seating down the other side for patrons to sit and enjoy a meal “. The family lived above the shop in the second storey, and had a Butcher shop constructed on the adjoining land about 1948.
The Koutchavlis family left Bundanoon around 1960 but the property stayed in the family. The shop was used as an Anglican opportunity shop for a period after they left.
From “Paragon Store” to “Ducky’s Diner”
On Anzac Day in 1958, Shirley and Richard Tebbutt took over the Paragon business. They continued to operate the cafe for about two years, but gradually built up the grocery, fruit and vegetables, confectionery and smallgoods stock, and phased out the meals. The business became known as the “Paragon Store“, which the Tebbutts sold in 1962, to Denis and Judy Kirk, who traded for about two years.
In 1970, the freehold of the property passed from Mr Koutchavlis to his son. Separate titles were issued for the shops on the land, and Alan and Beryl Ducksberry of Bundanoon bought the Paragon in 1973. (The Greasons had bought the butchery next door in 1970.)
The Ducksberrys operated a food shop called “Ducky’s Diner”, and also ran a taxicab business from the site during the 1970’s. Other food stores followed, including a pizza and pasta shop.
The freehold changed hands again in 1984 and there were several uses to which the shop was put, including a period when it was called “Mystery House” which local residents recall may relate to a shop selling magic goods.
The building became a Chinese Restaurant in 1995.
15 Railway Avenue
The land that this shop stands on was a conditional purchase taken out by Frederick Jordon who later sold the land to George Wilson Osborn.
In July 1901, George Osborn sold the freehold and his store to James Calverley. (The Calverley’s had been running the refreshment rooms on the corner of Railway Ave.) Osborne’s store was originally a weatherboard building and had presumably been rebuilt. It became known as Calverley’s “Bundanoon Emporium”.
Around that time, the Emporium was a brick and stone building standing on a site of over two acres. (It wasn’t until much later that the Railway Avenue streetscape became a continuous street of shops.) There was a veranda to the footpath with white painted picket fencing on either side. At some time during his tenure, probably quite early, Mr Calverley altered the front of the shop to the way it looks now, adding a more prominent veranda to cover the footpath.
The Calverley’s home delivery store
that sold almost everything
It is known from his announcement in the Scrutineer, (July 6 1901) that the Calverley’s stocked “Drapery, Grocery, Boots and Shoes, Ironmongery, Crockery etc“. From signs on the building, they also sold newspapers and journals.
The extensive collection of ledgers and business records held in the Bundanoon History Group Archives show that most of the people in Bundanoon were customers of the store. The business was a family affair. One of the Calverley’s sons, Charles William, acted as “carter,” presumably doing deliveries for over thirty years.
James Calverley died in 1947 and the property passed to his wife, Henrietta who sold the premises in 1950 to Marguerite Sarah Carlisle.
A new era for the store and a number of new owners
Mrs Carlisle, the new owner of the Emporium leased the premises for the next fifteen years . Mrs Carlisle’s first tenant was William Charles Glendinning, who established the “Courtesy Drapery” which was later taken over in 1956 by the Mills family.
In 1965, Mrs Carlisle sold the premises to Jean Belshaw of Croydon Park, and in 1968 ownership vested in Richard and Shirley Tebbutt. Meanwhile, the Mills had relocated their Drapery business further along the street to no 7 Railway Avenue.
The Tebbutts transformed the store creating a self-serve, supermarket style grocery with checkouts, no credit and no deliveries – all firsts’ for Bundanoon. This was the Tebbutts second retailing business in Bundanoon. They advertised widely and the new arrangements proved very successful.
In 1972, the Tebbutts sold the business to the Olds family, who ran it for four or five years before selling to the Baumanns.