By Sam Watson
LAST year, the Plaza Arcade in Wonthaggi officially brought up 100 years of existence.
But the pandemic hit local businesses hard so there was no time to reflect on the rich history of the building.
Now the darkest days are behind our local businesses, and the Plaza Arcade is thriving once again.
All the shops are full and with some renovation work from Phil Studham, Wonthaggi Floorworld and Exclusive Painting, all is looking well.
When it first opened in 1920, the Plaza Arcade opened as the Crystal Palace Picture Theatre.
In the ‘50s it was turned into the Adelyn Factory where Ted Mison ran the floor as the machine mechanic.
Then from the ‘60s through to the ‘80s it operated predominantly as Marshall Shirt Factory and Danny Orr was the predominant machine mechanic.
Bill Marshall owned the factory, where shirts for Pelaco and Arrow were made.
When the factory closed, Jack Clancy built badminton courts through the building and in the foyer of the building three half size ten pin bowling lanes were installed.
Must’ve been a good place to practise because Jack Clancy’s son John represented Australia in badminton in the 1994 Commonwealth Games.
Then in 1988, John Liddle and Alan Brown purchased the building and fitted it out with shops.
In 1993, the building was ravaged by a small tornado that came through the town, but it was rebuilt into what we can see today.
Peter Liddle, who now owns the building, said he’s proud to see the building in action once again.
“It’s got character and it’s a beautiful building,” Peter said.
“It’s good to see that it’s full, and it’s back up and running after COVID-19.”
Peter would love to see the building operate as is for as long as possible and he hopes it stays in the family.
“It’s been in the family a long time now, me and my sisters want to keep it in the family, and it’s a nice old building so hopefully it keeps going.”