The suburb of Lyneham was developed in the 1950s and is named after Sir William Lyne, Premier of New South Wales 1899–1901. Lyneham’s street names commemorate Australian artists of the early 1900’s (with the exception of Archibald Street which is named after JF Archibald, the editor of The Bulletin, who gave a bequest in 1919 for the Archibald art prize) and people associated with the development of Canberra.
The Lyneham shops were developed in the late 1950s, when the suburb was in its infancy. It was modelled on ‘The Lawns’ area at Manuka shops, with 10 shop sites on either side of a central courtyard, service lanes behind each row of shops and two other blocks of shops outside of that.
Tilley’s is one of the iconic businesses at Lyneham shops. It opened in 1984 as a ‘unique and elegant place for all women and their guests’. It was a safe gathering place for women and a venue for live music at a time where public bars often remained unfriendly places for many women, with women only having been able to enter and drink in public bars since 1970. Prior to this, women were relegated to ‘Ladies Lounges’ where drinks were more expensive.
For the first two years that Tilley’s operated, men were banned from entering unless accompanied by one or more women. The policy of regulating the entry of men was relaxed after two years as its non-threatening atmosphere became entrenched. The venue was originally located in a long narrow space that had been a dentist’s clinic and has been extended five times since 1984. It hosted fantastic live music until 2005 and since then irregular live performances.
Other iconic shops include the Mee Sing restaurant, opened by Mr Wing Quan in 1965 to cater for Australians’ growing taste for Chinese cuisine. Book Lore was opened in 1984 by Lithuanian migrant Rimas Keraitis, and specialises in second-hand quality non-fiction and academic literature.
4. Lyneham Shops-Canberra Tracks Sign