Coles Myer archive

Find documents, photographs and objects in the Coles Myer archive at State Library Victoria. Coles and Myer are two of Australia’s most iconic retailing brands.

Your Librarian

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Lois McEvey
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What is the Coles Myer archive?

Coles and Myer are two of Australia’s most iconic retailing companies. These two companies were one 'Coles Myer Ltd' from July 1985 to March 2006. The Records of Coles Myer Ltd. and its predecessors, circa 1840-1990 consist of company and business records and a rich array of artefacts. The collection represents a corporate history of Coles Myer, and an economic, social and cultural record of Australia over a 150-year period. Sydney Myer and his brother Elcon opened the first Myer store in Bendigo in 1900 and in 1914 G. J. Coles opened the first Coles store in Collingwood. It includes information about companies that Myer and Coles have acquired and established. Myer has acquired these companies over the years: Allan & Stark Ltd, Bairds Company Ltd, Boans, Brownwells Limited, Fosseys, Grace Bros., Hicks Atkinson, James Marshall & Co., Lindsay & McKenzie name changed to Target, McWhirters Ltd, San Remo, Red Rooster and Wright & Neil. Coles was active as well acquiring these companies: Mac The Slasher, Manton & Sons Ltd, Thompson Matthews, Neway Cash & Carry, O. Gilpin (F & G Stores), Pennys, Rhoades & Co., Selfridges, S. E. Dickins, Claude Fay Cellars, and Katies. Coles established Kmart as a joint venture with S. S. Kresge Company USA and their liquor units became Liquorland. Coles Myer Ltd acquired these companies: Bio-Lo, Big Rooster, Farmer Bros. and Shoey's.

The archive includes share registers; minutes; reports; correspondence; speeches; catalogues; advertisements; press cuttings; photographs; architectural drawings; film reels; video tapes; audio tapes; store fittings; clothing; and samples of wares.

There are over 30,000 items in the collection, stored across 1 linear kilometre of shelving.

Accessing the collection online

With the financial assistance of Coles, the Library has digitised 6000 items in the Coles Myer archive. You can browse and search these digital copies. The digitised collections relate to Coles and historically associated companies and brands such as Kmart, Embassy, Starlet and Farmland.

Accessing the collection at State Library Victoria

While a selection of Coles items from the collection have been digitised, more of the collection can be accessed in person, if you order items for viewing ahead of your visit.

To help you find items in the collection, we have created a series of finding aids. For more information about how to search these lists, visit the Search archive tab of this guide.

For information about viewing collection items in person, visit the Access collection items tab of this guide. That page also includes a step by step guide to accessing the collection through our catalogue.

Why are the records of Coles Myer at State Library Victoria?

State Library Victoria collects Victoria’s documentary heritage, including records of businesses.

In October 2000 Coles Myer Ltd announced the donation of its archive to the Library. The donation formed part of the company's program for celebrating the Centenary of Federation. Coles Myer Ltd also provided substantial financial support to assist the Library with the identification, organisation, cataloguing, and conservation of the collection.

Coles staff journal

Coles staff journals from 1928-1986 are now available online. They include company news as well as staff social events, engagements and weddings. Issues also feature articles on overseas trips by the Coles Brothers and staff.

Coles badge

Button badge printed in black reading 'A PLEASURE TO SERVE YOU' on a blue background and with a portrait of a staff member, Records of Coles Myer Ltd. and its predecessors, MS13468, COMY11075.