Significance of the Ocean Grove Corner Store

The iconic Ocean Grove Corner Store has been a focal point for residents and visitors to Ocean Grove for more than 100 years and was probably responsible for the location of the central Ocean Grove shopping centre today.

The original builder and owner, Marcus GUILLE, was deeply involved in the establishment of the first settlement of Ocean Grove.  He built the first church and most of the houses in the first two years of the settlement.  He was also Church Keeper for the Methodist Church in a predominantly Methodist community.

There were four major families who were owners and operators of the corner store; the GUILLE, FOYSTER, MENZIES and SKINNER families.  Each of these families were heavily involved in their local community, providing essential services as well as being active in community groups.  There were other owners for lesser periods of time.

Aesthetically, the corner store welcomes locals and visitors by its location, diagonal corner door and visual image.  It is located near a curve in the main road through Ocean Grove leading to the nearby town of Barwon Heads and is a pleasant and dramatic contrast to the other buildings on the corner of The Terrace and Hodgson St; the new Post Office, the service station (now various shops and bar) and a partly burnt out group of shops (in 1996).

In  May 1996 Susie Zada used the Ocean Grove Corner Store as the basis for her assisnment ‘Heritage Conservation in Australia’.

At the time, the complete assignment was lodged in the Ocean Grove Library – it is now available here as a PDF file for any people interested in the history of the Ocean Grove Corner Store.  Of particular interest are the interviews conducted with many of the key characters at the time, documenting an oral history of the Store and the town to complement the detailed primary sources for the history of the Corner Store.

4 Responses

  1. Roger Guille

    Hello, Thank you for spending the time to document the wonderful history of this area. For accuracy, the original builder and owner of the General Store was actually Martin Guille, my great-great grandfather. He also built the first Methodist church in Ocean Grove. I notice is says “Guernsey Store” above the entrance of the store, in your photograph. Martin arrived in Geelong in July 1854 from the Channel Islands, Sark specifically, however Guernsey is the most populous.

    • admin

      Hi Roger – thank you for your input. We have done extensive research into your great great grandfather from original sources and I can confirm the following.
      Martin was the Anglicised version of his first name. His full name was Marcus Nicholas GUILLE. He was born 26 August 1819 at La Ville Farm, Sark, Charnnel Islands, and was baptised 12 Sep 1819 at Sark, Channel Islands. He used the name Martin except when he was charged with bankruptcy and required to submit numerous forms – then he used his legally correct name of Marcus Nicholas GUILLE and not Martin GUILLE.
      As you said, he arrived at Point Henry (not Geelong) on 11 July 1854. He was accompanied by his second wife, Elizabeth nee ROUGET, who he married 1 August 1852 at Ebenezar Chapel, St Peter Port, Guernsey. They also had 3 of Marcus’s children from his first marriage to Betsy HAMON with them. Elizabeth died in 1882.
      Which wife and child are you descended from? Do you have a photograph of your great great grandfather?
      I did my thesis on the Ocean Grove Corner Store for my Diploma in Local and Applied History – you can download a copy from my blog on the Corner Store.

  2. Brent Allan

    I just have the best memories of Skinners corner.
    Ice cream , cloths , everything you could ever want as a 6 year old in 1966 was in skinners corner store , the phone box opposite to call mum and dad in Melbourne to say hi having the best holiday every year with Auntie Enid

  3. Ross Johnston

    Martin (or Marcus) is also my 3 x great grandfather via his son James, who was born not long after their arrival in Australia. I have no photos of any of them this far back. The oldest family photo I have is of Alfred Guille, my great grandfather (Martin’s grandson).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *