Mockler’s was a department store in Bathurst in the grand tradition of Edgleys and the Western Stores.
In 1904, Laurence Mockler resigned from John Meagher’s shop and, with his brother M.D, set up his own general store in George Street. This operated near the Kings Hotel until 1919, when M.D. retired and Laurence bought out Meagher’s and moved his business around the corner into Howick Street, approximately opposite where today’s Post Office is.
This traded as Mockler Brothers until 1959 and was a major business in town in much the same way as Webb’s was and Western Stores/Myer became.
They had various departments and were advertised as a ‘Universal Provider’. Among other sections, there was menswear, womenswear, groceries, electrical and hardware.
Laurence was active in civic affairs and the store sponsored many community activities. For instance, they donated a significant amount of money for the children’s parade in the ‘Back to Bathurst’ week in 1924.
They published home help booklets such as the ‘Housewife’s Guide and Recipe Book’ which contained a handy list of stain removal tips.
The first radio station in Bathurst (2MK) operated out of Mockler’s. It began broadcasting on 31 October 1925. At one stage, the shop also offered a ‘cash bonus’ scheme which discounted prices to the extent of 1 penny per shilling, obviously for cash sales.
They were also the first in town to offer home delivery (by lorry) and amongst the first to have an electrical plant to illuminate the store.
In December 1959, Mockler’s was destroyed by fire. This was a major disaster for the town. Woolworths bought the site and began trading out of their new building there on 20 September 1961.