In 1909 German company Telefunken formed a subsidiary in Australia to market a new-fangled technology called radio. Four years later the company merged with the Australian subsidiary of the British-based Marconi company to form Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Ltd, better known as AWA.AWA provided the equipment that picked up Australia's first radio broadcast from England, in 1918. It became Australia's de facto international telephone carrier in the 1920s when the Hughes government brought a majority stake and used it to set up an "Empire Radio Telephone" service to connect Australia to Europe and Canada in competition to privately owned submarine cables.AWA’s tower in Sydney's CBD, emblazoned with the company's distinctive logo was for many years the tallest structure in town. Despite its long and illustrious history AWA very nearly ceased to exist in the 1980s. A young currency trader nearly sent the company bankrupt when he lost $50 million in foreign exchange transactions. To recover its position the company went through a number of restructures and many of its divisions were sold off, until it was left with not much more than its computer services division and some very profitable gaming operations.The gaming technology saved AWA. It had a long history in providing totalisator machines to racing clubs and that evolved into the computer systems that ran Lotto and Keno operations.
From a modest start in the Sydney suburb of Newtown in 1883, Marcus Clark & Co rose to become one of the city's largest department stores with a network of branches in towns and suburbs across Australia. Henry Marcus Clark (1859-1913) established the company when he purchased the drapery business of his former employer, John Kingsbury. The business quickly expanded, trebling itself within five years, and soon opened new stores in Marrickville and Bondi Junction. In the Sands directory for 1894, Marcus Clark was listed as a "wholesale and retail draper, tailor, milliner, boot warehouse and fancy repository; the largest, best lighted and most comfortable establishment in Newtown, the floor space covering nearly an acre."In 1896 Marcus Clark & Co opened a store closer to the city on the corner of George & Harris Street near Railway Square. It was, however, a slightly different concept as it stocked less expensive wares than their other stores and was given the name Bon Marche, a reference to the famous Paris department store. The success of the store led to a larger building being constructed on the site in 1909 but also influenced Marcus Clark to build more stores around Railway Square. Marcus Clark & Co made arguably its biggest and most lasting mark on Sydney in 1906 when the James Nangle-designed Central Square building, known as the flat-iron building, was erected on the corner of George and Pitt Streets, Railway Square, on the site of an early toll-gate. For all visitors entering the city from the south it was an impressive sight: a landmark nine-storey structure of 150 feet in height, the tallest in Sydney at the time. It was probably also about this time that the company became a true 'universal provider', and a catalogue from around 1910 (TCQ 749.20491 CLA) lists departments ranging from manchester to ironmongery, musical instruments to stationery.