The Mark Foy's building
|Founded||Sydney, New South Wales (1885 )|
|Founder||Francis Foy, Mark Foy|
|Headquarters||Sydney, New South Wales, Australia|
Mark Foy's Limited or Mark Foy's was a department store in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, founded by Francis Foy (1856?–1918) and his brother Mark Foy (1865–1950). The department store was named after their father, Mark Foy (senior) and traded between 1885 and 1980.
After first establishing their store on Oxford Street in 1885, the Foy brothers opened "The Piazza" in 1909 on Liverpool Street. This was a three-storey store (two floors plus basement) designed by architects Arthur McCredie & Arthur Anderson with a turreted mansard roof. The building partially modelled on the Parisian Bon Marche department store. premises in 1909; and its piazza, chandeliers, marble and sumptuous ballroom made it a Sydney institution and one of Australia's foremost fashion stores. The store had Australia's first escalator. The store stretched around a whole city block and gave rise to the colloquial saying, when referring to a person of overweening confidence, "You've got more front than Mark Foy's." The store was remodelled in 1927. The store was linked in 1926 to the newly opened Museum Railway Station by underground subway.
The company had their most profitable year in 1954/1955. With the decline of the Liverpool Street area in the 1950s and 1960s, Mark Foys began to experience financial decline declaring their first financial loss in 1966/1967.
A store was opened at Rockdale in 1963 in the Southside Plaza (now Rockdale Plaza). The Rockdale store was extensively damaged by fire in 1967. Rebuilt, it became a McDowells store and then was rebranded as Waltons in 1972. In 1964 Mark Foy's opened a store in the Sydney suburb of Eastwood and in 1966 at Burwood in the Burwood Westfield Shopping Town. The Eastwood Store became a McDowells store and then a Waltons. It is now the IGA supermarket/Eastwood Village Shopping Centre. Other stores were opened across Sydney's suburbs at Chatswood, Northbridge, Double Bay and Bankstown.
In 1968 Mark Foy's was taken over by McDowells Holding Ltd. IN 1972, McDowells was in turn acquired by Waltons. After Waltons was split in 1987, six stores were sold to Mr George Bloomfield of Australian clothing manufacturer Wraggs. The stores still trading as Mark Foys, were sold again to Clothing retailer Richards in November, 1986.
In 1980, when it ceased trading after going into receivership, the City Piazza building briefly became "Grace Bros Piazza" until 1982. The natural shift of the retailing hub further north of the CBD, around Pitt Street Mall, led to its closure.
The City Piazza building is now used as a complex of state courthouses known as the Downing Centre. However, its former role is preserved in the ornate tilework on the facade and surroundings. The Mark Foy's warehouse is a heritage brownstone building located in nearby Goulburn Street, which has been converted into residential apartments known as Sydney Mansions.
Mark Foys and Sectarianism
It is claimed that the Foy family, Irish-born Roman Catholics, would only employ Catholics and stocked uniforms of the major Catholic schools, in an environment when government organisations had a policy to not employ Catholics, and David Jones specialised in Anglican school uniforms.
Other business interests
Entrance sign on the building now known as the Downing Centre
Signs on the side of the building now known as the Downing Centre
Sydney Mansions, former Mark Foy's warehouse, Surry Hills
- Walsh, G. P. (1981). "Foy, Mark (1865–1950)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
- McInnes, William (2010). The Making of Modern Australia. Hachette Australia. ISBN 978-0-7336-2780-4.
- Museum railway station
- The Age, 31 July 1962, Page 6
- Bastians, Kate: Swinging sixties shopping in suburbia: Video shows how much Eastwood has changed NORTHERN DISTRICT TIMES SEPTEMBER 19, 2014 5:25PM
- Richards Buys last Mark Foys Stores, The Sydney Morning Herald, 25th November, 1986, Page 28