Book Arcades

    On March 20, 1923, Henry Williams, a Cole employee and Trustee of Cole’s estate, assembled a book as a gift to his ‘Chief’ showing photos of the various departments of the Melbourne Arcade, and exteriors of the Adelaide and Sydney Arcades. The bulk of the images in this gallery are from this collection, unless otherwise noted, and can be recognised by their distinctive sepia colouring. Williams prefaced his collection with the following, before lodgment with the State Library of Victoria:



    This book will give a fair idea of the different Departments in the Arcade some of which have disappeared on account of the maturity of long leases.
    Mr. Cole was very pleased with his copy of the book, which a member of the family took on a trip to the old country and it has not been heard of since.
    This present book is a collection of surplus photographs, and those produced to make a collection similar to the aforementioned.
    Mr. Cole has since passed away, I may add that he was a unique and solitary character. He was a man whom some said had not a commercial education of a technical nature; but one thing is certain, he had a commercial diplomacy, a versatility of ideas, and an intuition which gave him a keen knowledge of human nature – indeed Mr. Cole (My dear old Chief) was endowed with qualifications that enabled him to tower above us all, as the Himalayas tower above the Stars. He started unaided without a Shilling, he educated himself, and finished with an estate proved at upwards of £100,000. He was not only a successful man, but a good man.
    Mrs. Cole for many years ably assisted him in the business, and when he left on a trip to the old country he gave her power of attorney during his absence of six months. She fully justified his confidence. Some years subsequently he sent her a telegram from a Sister Colony stating that she was a good business woman, wife and mother. Mrs. Cole predeceased him by seven years and when she died he had the following printed: “On behalf of my Family and Self, allow me to return my sincere thanks for your kind expression of Sympathy at our recent great bereavement.
    My dear Wife for many years was a great Sufferer from Several ailments, but she bore them with patient fortitude. She was a loving and sympathetic Wife, Mother, Sister and Friend, and “good company” whether among friends or strangers.”
    It but remains for me to say concerning Mr. Cole, that in the Bankers Ledger opposite the account of E. W. Cole were these words of undoubted integrity and business ability – may you reach the altitude of rectitude to which he climbed and win that commercial confidence which he commanded.

Henry Williams
20th March 1923


Adelaide Arcade

1. 1916: Interior of Adelaide Branch of Book Arcade.


2. 1916: Side View Adelaide Branch of Book Arcade.


Melbourne Arcade Exteriors

3. Pre 1896: An un-roofed Howey Court, then known as Cole’s Walk.


4. 1897: Bourke Street looking East, photo taken from GPO tower.
Pearl Cole collection.

5. 1897: Bourke Street looking east, from Cole’s New Advanced Atlas. Photo by G. W. Wilson & Co., Ltd.


6. 1910: Collins Street, looking west – postcard. ‘COLE’S BOOK ARCADE’ can be seen on extreme right hand side. Pearl Cole collection.


7. 1912: Collins Street, looking west – postcard ‘The Block’. Note that ‘Sears Photography’ sign on building in centre of photograph has a rainbow-shaped ‘Cole’s’ sign underneath. The same view on the previous postcard shows the same ‘Sears Photography’ sign with ‘Lambert & Sons’ underneath. Pearl Cole collection.

8. 1916: Bourke Street looking west – postcard. Pearl Cole collection.


9. 1916: Bourke Street looking west. Photograph by the Kerr Brothers., negative with the State Library of Victoria. Edit by Richard Conn.


10. 1916: Collins Street looking east – postcard. Pearl Cole collection.


11. 1916: Collins Street looking west – Bird’s Eye View postcard. Pearl Cole collection.


12. 1916: Howey Court/Cole’s Walk.


13. 1916: Howey Court/Cole’s Walk.


14. 1920’s: Bourke Street looking west. Southern Cross Series of postcards No 11. Negative held by the State Library of Victoria. Edit by Richard Conn.


15. August 21, 1921: ‘Old printing factory in Howey Building vacated June 1921.’
Rupert Rudd collection.


16. December 9, 1924: Bourke Street entrance. Rupert Rudd collection.


17. 1939: 255 Swanston Street Closing Down. Pearl Cole collection.


Melbourne Arcade Interiors

18. 1895: Main Arcade illustration. Pearl Cole collection.


19. March 24 1906: Main Arcade – postcard. Pearl Cole collection.


20. 1910: Main Arcade – postcard. Pearl Cole collection.


21. 1910: Printing Department. Rupert Rudd collection.


22. 1916: Arcade Band.


23. 1916: Cole’s Circulating Library, Collins Street.


24. 1916: China and Ornaments Collins Street.


25. 1916: Picture Framing Department Collins Street.


26. 1916: Picture Framing Department Collins Street.


27. 1916: Book Arcade Collins Street.


28. 1916: Theatre Box Plan at Arcade Collins Street.


29. 1916: Confectionery Department Arcade.


30. 1916: Aviary of The Arcade.


31. 1916: Fernery at The Arcade. Cole Family from left: Edward William Charles, Ivy Diamond, Ada Belinda, Valentine Francis, Eliza Frances, EW and Pearl Adelia Cole.


32. 1916: Advertising Men Bourke Street Entrance of Arcade.


33. 1916: Advertising Men Bourke Street Entrance.


34. 1916: Main Arcade.


35. 1916: For Childrens Entertainment Monkey House.


36. 1916: Children Absorbed in Monkies Antics.


37. 1916: Music Department.


38. 1916: Music Department.


39. 1916: China and Ornaments Top Floor Bourke St.


40. 1916: Portion of China Department.


41. 1916: Portion of China Department.


42. 1916: Portion of China Department.


43. 1916: Stereograph of Portion of the Ornament Department. Pearl Cole collection.


44. 1916: The Laboratory.


45. 1916: Perfumery Department.


46. 1916: Photographic Studio Arcade.


47. 1916: Window Display Funny Picture Book.


48. 1916: Portion of Printing Department.


49. 1916: Portion of Printing Department.


50. 1916: Portion of 2nd Hand Book Department.


51. 1916: Stationery Department.


52. 1916: Stationery Department.


53. 1916: Stationery Department.


54. 1916: Welcome Home to Mr. and Mrs. Cole on Return from Japan.


55. 1916: Tea Salon.


56. 1916: Toy Department.


57. 1916: Crinkle Paper Department.


58. 1916: Wonderland by Electric Light.


59. 1916: Wonderland by Electric Light.


60. 1916: Main Arcade – as included in Williams commemoration booklet for Cole’s 84th Birthday.


61. August 29, 1921: ‘Binding Room and Paper Racks’. Rupert Rudd collection.


62. January 15 1924: ‘New Printing Machines and Comps Park St off Little Lon.’
Rupert Rudd collection.


63. December 9, 1924: ‘Main Arcade from Band Enclosure’. Rupert Rudd collection.


Sydney Arcade

64. 1916: Sydney Branch of Book Arcade.