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May 22, 2024
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Iconic family store sale sign of the times

Tulley General Store for sale - Ian Tulley

Ian Tulley is selling two Chiswick family properties that have been in his family for over 110 years, including a much loved old school general store. Picture: Tim Hunter.

After 110 years as a cherished cornerstone of the community, an iconic family general store and home are hitting the market for the first time.

With the rise of retail giants and suburb expansion, this sale marks the end of an era for the Tulley family, a cherished piece of local history and one of the last of Sydney’s old-school general stores.

“It’s a sad thing really, but there isn’t a great deal we can do about it.”

Ian Tulley is selling the two Chiswick properties, 92 and 94 Blackwall Point Rd, both which have been in his family for over a century.

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Tulley General Store for sale - Ian Tulley

Ian Tulley in front of his family’s longstanding Chiswick General Store established in 1928. Picture: Tim Hunter.

His grandparents, Lewis and Emily Tulley, first purchased the land back in 1912 after emigrating from the UK. Back then, they paid around 25 pounds for land in Chiswick, according to Mr Tulley.

Today, recent sales in Chiswick and surrounding suburbs show homes selling between $3m-$5m, with the median unit price over $1m.

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Mr Tulley said at one point, there were six different Tulley residences on the road.

“Blackwall Point Rd is kind of like a family street,” he said.

Listing agent Laing+Smith property Principal Megan Smith said there has been inquiry from developers interested in purchasing both properties.

Both Tulley properties, 92 and 94 Blackwall Point Rd are set to sell under the hammer.

“I understand how things work and what may happen, it is going to be what it is, as much as it would be horrible,” Mr Tulley said.

“But the change in Chiswick has been quite dramatic for us.”

Now busy with apartment blocks, duplexes and double storey homes – Mr Tulley remembers when the road was made of dirt, the park once a tip and when he and the local kids would chalk up the street to play tennis on the road.

Ians grandfather Lewis Tulley, standing in the doorway of the store.

“We would play and stand out there for hours on end without having to worry about being hit by a truck or a car up and down the road,” he said.

“Nowadays I don’t think there is any time of day or night that you could throw a tennis ball across the road and not hit a car.”

The shopfront was added to number 92 in 1928, when Ian’s grandfather decided it was time to semi-retire but still needed an income, creating the local grocery store.

Bill and Jim Tulley in the Chiswick general store.

The late Anne Tulley, sister of Ian, had begun restoring the general store before an unforeseen cancer diagnosis prevented the completion.

“My sister Anne was the last owner, it was her passion, she wanted to bring the old property back to its original condition,” he said.

Mr Tulley, who now enjoys a quiet life on The Central Coast, said although he was a realist, he hoped the shopfront would be preserved.

“It would be nice to see it as something, a coffee shop or a bric-a-brac store, even a small office for tax accountants, its quite possible that could be done,” he said.

Tulley General Store for sale - Ian Tulley

Ian Tulley said he is a realist and knows progress must happen, but is sad to say goodbye to the two properties. Picture: Tim Hunter.

The original home from 1912 is still attached to the shop on the property today.

Mr Tulley said he often has locals telling him about their fond memories buying from the store calling it “the end of a dynasty.”

“They remember being able to buy lollies at the shop or buying bread and milk for their parents, and of course in those days shops on Saturday afternoon and Sunday would close, so people would come knocking on the side door of the home if they’d run out,” he said.

Open from 1928, the shop closed in the late 1980s, with the beginning of grocery store giants impacting the store.

“It started to get a bit harder as my uncles got older and by that time people were starting to go into Woolworths and Coles and able to get their groceries at a cheaper price and that did knock a lot of corner stores around,” Mr Tulley said.

Original photos of the general store.

Ms Smith said it was early stages, but there was a mix of both developers and owner occupiers interested, with scope to improve both properties.

The shop front did however have a level of heritage listing.

“Even incorporating the shop front though you can get some pretty cool designs,” she said.

“Its quite unique, most properties in the area are double story and 92 is single level,” she said.

Both Tulley properties, number 92 and 94 Blackwall Point Rd are set to sell under the hammer on May 4.

Some of the original interiors and cabinetry in the store.

Mr Tulley reflected on how different the area was from when he grew up there.

“It’s the population in the place, the amount of growth, the units that are there now used to be a timber mill that as kids we would go in and play around, all you had to do was stay away from the watchmen who often would be sleeping there.”

According to PropTrack, just nine houses have been sold in Chiswick in Sydney’s inner west in the past 12 months.

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