I started as a trainee dressmaker with Gwen Gillam in 1968.

I have many memories of Brisbane arcade.

I started as a trainee dressmaker with Gwen Gillam in 1968.

Every morning we stood on the balcony in front of Swedas ballet shop or was it Paul Wright Dance Wear, watching the people walk through the arcade. Gwen Gillam had two workrooms at that time, both on the first level with a lunch room on the second level. Morning tea was purchased from The Rendezvous Tea Rooms. Occasionally, we even had an ice cream cone from there in the afternoons. No air conditioning in the workrooms—it was very hot in summer.

My Mum, who had also worked for Gwen Gillam in Brisbane Arcade about 1956, loved having her tea cup read at Rendezvous Tea Rooms.

Darrell Lea on the Queen Street end of the arcade was another favourite place to buy a treat.

The salon was superbly appointed with large mirrors a white chaise lounge and always flowers. A staircase went up to the mezzanine floor where alterations were done on Saturday mornings. The salon was the height of elegance at the time as befitting for Brisbane’s leading designer. I can still picture most of the shops that were in the arcade then in my mind.

I would love to see photos, particularly of Gwen Gillam’s salon. Much too expensive back then to buy film and have photos developed on my juniors wage.

I love visiting the arcade now and seeing how beautifully it has been restored.

We now have our cuppa at L’s Espresso Café, we love their mini caramel tarts, but I can still see the salon, Harvey Graham, high end jewellery shops, the lovely shop with the doilies, tablecloths etc for our ’glory boxes’, Bernina sewing machines, even the chemist where we did get our films developed occasionally. So wish I had more photos to add, this one I found is inside the salon back in the 60’s.

Dianne Preston