As Sydney grew around the arcade, it changed very little inside and soon became a refuge from increasingly crowded, noisy streets. The early 1900s are remembered by people who travelled to the city from the suburbs by tram especially to see the electric lights in the Strand Arcade – one of the first places in the city to be lit by electricity.
Most of the action in the Strand during the fifties seemed to take place in the basement. The scene was Chequers Night Club, owned by the infamous Wong family who lent a touch of the Orient to the arcade and came complete with a fierce six foot tall Chinese manageress.
The Strand Arcade remains a majestic beauty in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Sydney's CBD. Many retailers including The Nut Shop, Elie's leather Repair and Strand Hatters have traded for decades, becoming well known Sydney institutions. Today the centre is a unique mix of Australian designer fashion and specialty stores catering for a discerning, sophisticated clientele.
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