The Courier, Thursday, December 11, 1969: More than 200 people were waiting in Maitland Street this morning for the initial opening of Woolworths $400,000 supermarket.

Within 10 minutes of opening, more than 150 shoppers were in the store.

Executives of the company entertained about 30 representatives of the local government and the Narrabri business community at an official preview last night.

Woolworths supermarket manager of NSW, Mr Col Gale, and Narrabri store manager Mr Ken Iceton were hosts for the evening.

An inspection of the store last night showed it is a most worthy addition to the commercial section of the town.

A very large variety of goods were well displayed, and very wide aisles are obviously designed for shopper comfort.

While planning and forethought have been given to all sections of the store, special attention appears to have been given to fruit and vegetable and meat displays.

A novel opening special was provided in the form of strawberries, specially imported from New Zealand for the occasion.

“These strawberries were picked in New Zealand less than 24 hours before going on sale here at Narrabri, and were flown in specially for the occasion,” store manager Mr Iceton said this morning.

At last night’s preview, Mr Gale said the company was very proud to join the thriving Narrabri community.

“We have been planning to build a store at Narrabri for some time.

“Woolworths has a most competent research department, which compiles facts and figures of growth patterns and development potential of towns throughout Australia.

“From this department’s report on the tremendous growth rate of Narrabri and district in recent years, we decided we must build a store in this thriving centre.

“This decision is reinforced by our belief that Narrabri will continue to develop at a rapid rate in the years ahead.

“The opening of our store at Narrabri has also contributed to the future growth of the district.

“We have opened with a staff of 35 employees, and for the opening, this staff has been bolstered by a number of our head office staff brought to Narrabri for the occasion,” Mr Gale said.

Extending an official welcome to the company, the Mayor of Narrabri, Ald W Heath, congratulated Woolworths on its decision to construct such a huge store.

It is most reassuring to see that Woolworths obviously shares our views.

“The building of such a large and modern store is tangible proof of the company’s faith in the future of the district.

“On behalf of the citizens of Narrabri, I wish the company well in its latest venture,” Ald Heath added.

By 11am there was an almost incredible sight inside the store, as shoppers waited near checkouts for shopping trolleys, while the more adventurous ‘booked’ trolleys from other shoppers standing in queues by checkouts.

At that time, about 150 shoppers were queueing for checkouts, while as many again were in the store.

It was not all one-way traffic however, as other Narrabri retailers reported increased trading.


The opening of Woolworths’ new supermarket at Narrabri today was an occasion for double celebration from Mr Theo Gavrily.

Mr Gavrily is the company’s head office perishables supervisor.

He was born in Narrabri 45 years ago today.

Mr Gavrily is the son of the late Mr Archie Gavrily, a former proprietor of the Crystal Palace Cafe.

He reflected last night that his father had sold the business to the Aroneys more than 40 years ago.

Mr Gavrily’s name was perpetuated in football circles for many years, as he was the donor of a cup for the inter-town competition.

Some of the specials on the day were 15oz cans of beetroot 8 cents (limit of two per customer); two cakes of Palmolive soap for 20 cents (limit of 4 per customer); Bang! tray of six bon bons for 35 cents; Christmas stocking 43 cents; 12oz Christmas candy 25 cents; 14oz tin Milo or Ovaltine 41 cents; 2oz jars of Harris Coffee 29 cents; Number 6 chicken $1 (limit two per customer); 1 lb pack of frozen beans 23 cents; 12oz can Big Sister plum pudding 25 cents; 4oz bottle Clinic shampoo 43 cents; box of three men’s hankies 50 cents; box three women’s hankies 69 cents; girls’ baby doll pyjamas $1.40 and men’s sports shirts $1.99.

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