Singer swan song

• Port Sewing Centre owner Julie Munro is putting a brave face on things, despite her business closing down. Photo by Stephen Pollock

SINGER’S 137-year legacy in Fremantle will come to an end on Tuesday (February 5) when the Port Sewing Centre closes down.

The Adelaide Street business is the last main authorised repairer/dealer of Singer sewing machines in the city, a legacy that stretches back to 1882 when an agent from the American sewing company walked off a boat with a machine under his arm and opened an office on High Street.

The shop may even be a direct descendent of that original business.

When the Chook went up to visit the owner of Port Sewing, Julie Munro, the 70-something was hunched over a machine in her workshop, listening to Benny Goodman on her 80s ghetto blaster.

“Overheads have killed us,”
Ms Munro says.

“I’ve gone on for as long as I can, but it’s just not viable anymore.

“Tuesday will be a sad day.”

Ms Munro joined the business in 1972 and took over from the previous owner, Ken Bailey, about six years ago.

She says at the height of the sewing boom there were about 12 Singer outlets across Perth.

Her life has been sewing and she isn’t ready for retirement, but despite the sadness, she’s putting on a brave face, and like many of her generation, is stoic in the face of adversity.

“There’s nothing planned for the day we close, but it will be emotional and I’ll need to start thinking about what I do next.”

Port Sewing Centre are having a closing down sale, so if you are a keen sewer, or just want to take a gander at their classic Singer machines, head down to the shop at 58 Adelaide St, just down from the old Spotlight in the East End.


The report in the Daily News when the first Singer agent arrived in Freo in 1882:

“Singers agencies have for some time been established in almost every part of the civilised world, with the exception of this, until lately neglected and comparatively speaking, generally unknown portion of Christendom.

“At last this reproach has been removed from us and the present representatives of the original Singer have determined to afford our wives an opportunity of procuring these highly appreciated machines at prime cost.”

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