Gwen's Den

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Brief History of Dimmeys and Forges

In 1853, the drapery store known as Dimelow & Gaylard was established in Swan St, Richmond, an inner Melbourne suburb.
Locals soon nicknamed the store Dimmeys and by the turn of the century the popular name had stuck so the owners registered Dimmeys Model Stores as the trading name.

The Richmond shop was extensively damaged by fire in 1905 but was repaired and trade on.
The existing store was built in 1907 incorporating the magnificent clocktower, (there are no
numbers on the clock, but the letters "Dimmys Stores" represent the numbers).

The dome on top of the tower was originally made of ruby coloured glass and each evening candles were lit inside the dome making a red orb that could be seen for miles.

However, with the threat of attack by the Germans, blackouts were strictly enforced in Melbourne and the Dimmeys dome could no longer be lit up.
Due to deterioration the glass panels were replaced with the present day copper coverings.

Recognised by the Melbourne "Age" Newspaper in 1998 as Melbourne’s No. 1 icon, Dimmeys has been a beacon for bargain shoppers for 147 years.

Dimmeys current day owners have maintained the original owners simple philosophy and that is to "Give the Customer a Bargain" so you can look forward to buying national brand and imported menswear, ladieswear, childrenswear, manchester, homewares, giftware, footwear & hardware at huge savings off recommended retail prices because at Dimmeys "You get more than you bargain for".

How do they do it?
Dimmey’s buyers are expert at finding national brand over-runs, end of ranges and goods with slight imperfections in large quantities which enables them to sell this merchandise at 40–70% off recommended retail price.


The great thing about working for Dimmeys is the fact that we work for a company that is part of Australia’s retail history.
It is arguable as to whether Dimmeys, David Jones or Gowings (a Sydney menswear store) is Australia’s oldest retail store, but regardless which one it is (I think it is us) just think of the changes the world has seen since Dimmeys has been trading.


  • Hi Gwen I love Dimmeys, there is one at Gympie that I used to haunt when I was there. I knew they were an old Melbourne store and that there is a Forges still in Footscray I think, I did not know however just how long they had been around.Very interesting to learn the history.
    Cheers Margaret

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 04, 2006 12:10 am  

  • We don't have those stores here but I always enjoy hearing the history behind a successful business! It's nice to know that the current owners are keeping up with the old philosophy!!

    By Blogger PEA, at December 04, 2006 1:06 pm  

  • It sounds like a great place, I bet its busy at this time of the year. Same about the red glass no longer being there I bet it looked great when that was all lit up by candles.

    By Blogger UKBob, at December 04, 2006 9:30 pm  

  • Hi,

    Nice history on your store, I always love hearing about stuff like that.

    I'm with ukbob, it's too bad about the ruby glass. It would have been nice if the current owner would replace the glass, and use electric lights for the candle light that had been there before.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 05, 2006 5:48 pm  

  • Gday Mate
    Great history on Dimmeys
    gees I used to take Nan.D to dimmeys sales in Richmond. She wouldn't miss it for Quids also come home with a lot of bargains from their.
    Take care mate see u soon xoxox

    By Blogger Jeanette, at December 05, 2006 7:43 pm  

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