1949 Fostars Shoe Catalogue

A nice chap who collects vintage catalogues has lent us several choice publications for use as archival material in the Book.

Here’s one of my favourites – a very high quality catalogue filled with beautiful illustrations of shoes that can be ordered by the discerning customer.

Fostars was a Sydney establishment. I’ve found other catalogues from the ’50s, but nothing else about them although it looks as if the National Film and Sound Archive has an old cinema advertisement from 1940: that would be worth seeing!

Can you imagine receiving something as beautiful as this in your letter box in 1949? See below for the treats inside….click on an image to see in full, click again for the full size. Oh, if only it were this easy to find beautiful shoes nowadays.

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13 comments

  1. My Dad Edmund Albany Moran was a director of Fostars shoes until he passed away in 1952
    I have a lot of info about shoe manufacturing factories and techniques in Abecrombie St Chippendale.Fostars had their own retail outlets. My mother Thelma worked there as well as my Auntie and uncle Jim Burnett. The major shareholders were the McEvoy family Jim and Andy(son)

  2. my mother and sisters norma smith, joyce smith and marjorie smith worked at fostars in the late 1930’s. there was a manager reg swinbourne at the sydney store.

  3. My parents Ron O’Connor & Beryl Collins both worked at Fostars shoes where they met and the rest is history – Dad was a clicker and Mum worked in the office.

  4. The catalogue is just gorgeous and a real celebration of the years immediately after WWII – when life was just beginning to look so good in Australia. I do remember those years, and some pretty hard times for many, but by comparison to some other parts of the world we were living in a paradise. We still are, just by the way.

    However, rather than a comment, I have a question…
    I have some old, quite high quality, movie film of a parade that I am trying to date. It shows, amongst other things, a neon sign for a Fostars’ store somewhere in Sydney. I suspect Oxford Street 1947 and just maybe Easter for the opening of the Royal Easter Show. Do you know where Fostars’ main store would have been about that time?

  5. Hi Geoff, I’m not sure of the location of the Sydney shop but I still have the catalogue: it should have an address on it so I’ll let you know once I’ve found it.

    By the way, if you have a link for the clip I might be able to help you date it.

  6. Hi Nicole
    Thanks for the reply!! I do not presently have a link to the film – but I will find a way to create one. The film originated in my father-in-law’s papers but we do not have any history to it. It is 16mm black and white film, clearly in Sydney. I had it transcribed to video two or three years back. (there is no sound). You would probably be able to date it from the fashions in it.

  7. I was looking up Fostars as my mother worked there around 1950. I also remember her talking about Mr Swinbourne who was a manager there. I think the store where my mother worked was in the Strand arcade. The catalogue looks great and the shoe styles haven’t changed a lot over the past 65 years.

  8. Hi Nicole, came across your page whilst trying to glean some info on Fostars, it has answered some questions, thank you.

    My Auntie, Kathleen(Kay) Doolan, worked at Fostars factory. I know for sure it was in Chippendale, but am only guessing it was on Abercrombie St. She was there from the early 50s through to closure in the early 60s, I think. She operated the switchboard on her own.

  9. Interesting Greg: thank you for your comment. I did a bit more digging and found this article from the Sydney Morning Herald in 1952 – it looks like (at that point at least) Fostars was the biggest shoe manufacturer in Australia, with no less than four Chippendale factories and three more workrooms on Sydney’s fringes. Abercrombie St is likely to be one of them, I agree. If your aunt was on switchboard, that suggests she might have been working at the head office, as the smaller factories will have less need of a switchboard if they’re close by.

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