Skip navigation
Skip navigation

Marcus Clark and Company : [2]

Search Marcus Clark and Company
Browse Marcus Clark and Company
Browse by:

The drapery and general merchandise business was founded by Henry Marcus Clark (1859-1913) in 1883, when he bought the drapery business of his former employer John Kingsbury. The first store opened in Newtown with a staff of six.

Within a short period of time, Marcus Clark opened stores in Marrickville and Bondi Junction and the chain rose to become one of Sydney’s largest department store chains with a network of branches in towns and suburbs across Australia.

In 1896 Clark named his new store on the corner of George and Harris Streets in Sydney, Bon Marché, a reference to the famous department store in Paris. Its success led to the construction of a larger building on the site in 1909 (The Hub) and also influenced Clark to build more stores around Railway Square. The most impressive of these was the iconic ‘flat-iron building’, erected in 1906 at the corner of George and Pitt Streets.

By 1906 the company employed 600 staff. A key to its success was that by offering both mail order sales and well developed credit facilities, it could greatly expand its customer base. By 1913 the company had 100,000 customers on its books. In 1905 the company had established a Gradual Payment System, now more commonly known as lay-by or after-pay. They promoted the service with the line 'if you had to wait until you saved enough money to pay cash, you might never be in a position to furnish a home'.

Following the death of Henry Clark in 1913 his son Reginald (1883-1953) took over the business. The Company continued in family hands until it was taken over by rival department store Waltons in 1966.

Collection's Items (Sorted by Submit Date in Descending order): 1 to 2 of 2
74-57-33 (K749).tif.jpg

Window shopping at Marcus Clark store in Newtown, Sydney

Author(s)Photographer: not known
Date Published-
Date Createdcirca 1905
74-51-40E (K494).tif.jpg

Victoria House Cash Stores, 216-222 King Street, Newtown

Date Published-
Date Createdc. 1890s

Updated:  19 May 2020/ Responsible Officer:  University Librarian/ Page Contact:  Library Systems & Web Coordinator