Keary’s Corner, an iconic lolly shop and milk bar, once stood on the corner of Redmyre Road and The Boulevarde, Strathfield. The Keary family operated the shop for nearly eighty years, with furnishings and fitout dating back to World War I. When it closed in 1990 after the death of its proprietor Vic Keary, it was described as ‘the shop where time stood still’. Though there is a sign on the first floor of this building which states ‘Keary’s Corner’, the shop has been extensively altered since it was ceased trading.
Keary’s Corner sold a wide range of local and international sweets as well as milkshakes and ice creams. Vic Keary lived on top of the shop and opened the shop 12 hours a day, 7 days per week until his death aged 83 in September 1990. The interior of the shop contained an amazing variety of posters, mirrors and memorabilia. A large mirror hung over the shop door advertising mineral waters and cordials ‘as supplied to his Majesty the King’. Opposite was a 1914 poster for Schweppes Palato – ‘the drink that pleases the palate’. The store contained a huge organ, which was often played by Mr Keary.
The ledge above the counter contained 150 old fashioned lolly jars containing rainbow balls, milkbottles, cobblers, hats, red and green frogs, hats, teeth, buttons, Love Hearts, Jaw Breakers and many other traditional style lollies. Many lollies were imported from around the world including England, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Japan and America. Many of these jars were bought after Keary’s death and are now housed with the Powerhouse Museum, and the collection forms part of displays on 20th century shopping in NSW.
Keary’ s Corner (longer article)
Mr Keary was absolutely fantastic. I first went to Mr Keary’s shop with my father and sister when I was about school at St Martha’s Strathfield in late 1967. At age 4, every Monday morning I would catch the 414 bus to go to school. I was given $1 dollar every Monday and I would get off at Strathfield station and walk to Mr Keary’s store to get $1 dollar worth of lollies. I would select many different varieties of lollies and chewing gums. He would give me a brown bag filled almost to the top and these lollies and chewing gums would last for several days.
Mr Keary would take the time to employ his time and knowledge to educate you about the lollies, life and the world from where they all came from, as well as treat you as a person not just a child. He would serve several customers at a time and if adults came in to buy things he would make them wait until he would finish each young customer.
My favourite lolly was a particular chewing gum called Bell Boy chewing gum. The gum taste and flavour would last for hours, so you could chew all day by adding a second Bell Boy to top up the sensation. It was the best gum I have ever had My orther favourite gum was Black Cat chewing gum.
His 5 & 10 cent soft drinks was also a great thrill. His milkshakes were also to die for. He had everything down pat, his knowledge on most things were fur nominal, including past and present life events. Talking to him when it was not busy in the shop, particularly on the weekends was great. Bear in mind it always had people coming in to buy things and then he would come back to you and continue from where he left off prior to serving the other customer or customers.
i used to go too mr kierys shop just too drool over all the fantastic lollies he had, he also had a old piano tuck away in the back cnr that i heard him pkat once, he was pretty good at piano too, …
my best memory of that shop was going in there getting a 5cent glass of lemonade, he poor it into a little glass, i think they are called 7 ounce glass it was bit smaller than a middy glass u get at a pub….
i would get that glass of lemonade and sit at the counter that was like a bar in a pub, and i would sit and look at all the lollies in the jars, i did that most days on my way home from burwood public school back in late 70’s early 80’s…….it certainly was a shop where time stood still, when i saw it was gone i had a tear in my eye, mr kiery was the nicest of the nicest old people i have ever met, alot of people that own shops these days could learn alit from mr kiery, kind helpful gentle old soul…..loved that shop its the best shop ive ever been in …..
It is one of my fondest memories as a kid, it was like kids paradise, he never rushed you and didn’t care if he had to open ten or more jars. I loved the choc, white and caramel buds, frogs and many others. He was such a caring man and I have never come across anything like this store and will never forget this shop or this great man, thanks 👍 for all the great memories, Sharon