Guido’s Hair Care
In the 60’s Jim Hackett and his Bow Tie Boys barber shop was opened at 181A Queen St after moving from the front shop of St Marys Crown Picture Theatre.
Jim Hackett sold the business to Guido Piccirilli in 1982. The business moved to 183 Queen St in 1997.
Jim Hackett Hairdresser and Tobacconist Shop in 1967. Mick Hackett (Jim Hackett's father), Jim Hackett, Sid Barwick and Guido Piccirilli, 1967, photographer unknown
Source: Private Photograph Collection of Guido Piccirilli
The Original Barbershop
The original barbershop in this area was located at 181A Queen St. The owner of the business was Jim Hackett and it was originally called “Jim Hackett and his Bow Tie Boys”, as his barbers wore bow ties. Jim changed their uniforms after seeing the Television show “Ben Casey”, as he thought his barbers would look better in the style of uniform worn by Dr Ben Casey.
Jim Hackett Hairdresser and Tobacconist Shop 181A Queen St. Photo shows Brian Summerhayes, Guido Piccirilli, Sid Barwick and Jim Hackett standing outside of shop.
1968, unknown photographer.
Source: Private collection of Guido Piccirilli
During Jim Hackett's time as a barber he had 7 apprentices: Mick Codner, Denis Luxford, Sid Barwick, Guido Piccirilli, Brian Summerhayes, Tony Hughes and an unnamed female.
Guido Picarilli, Jim Hackett and Tony Hughes behind the counter in Jim Hackett's Barber shop 181A Queen St. At the time of this photo being taken Jim Hackett also sold fishing tackle, sporting equipment, guns and ammunition.
1971, unknown photographer
Private collection of Guido Piccirilli
Guido’s Hair Care, 181A Queen St, 1990, Photographer Gianrocco Piccirilli
Source: Private collection of Guido Piccirilli
Guido’s Hair Care after the name changed from Jim Hackett Hairdresser and Tobacconist The new owner, Guido Piccirilli, moved the business next door to 183 Queen Street in 1997. Previous known businesses at 183 Queen St were Bill Peard's Chemist shop followed by John Tait's Chemist shop, another Chemist shop (brought business from John Tait and changed name), Hairdresser and Children's Clothing shop, Paint shop, Finance shop then Guido's Hair Care.
Interview with Guido Piccirilli
My name is Guido, and I’m a hairdresser from St Marys. When we came from Italy I was nearly 14 years old.
We came to St Marys because my brother was already here. So he sponsored us, so we had nowhere to go expect here. Back where I came from, in Italy we use to have a barber shop that we used to open after hours. Because it was an old little village, and everybody worked through the day.
The friend’s son had a shop in Kempsey, and the idea was for me to come here and to work for him. But when we come to St Marys, to go Kempsey by train would take about two hours to get there. It was too far. That was the reason we went and asked someone from St Marys and likely I was offered the job here.
I changed the name because it use to be Hackett’s and a lot of people use to make fun of it because of the name Hackett. Oh, he was one of the best businessmen that was in St Marys. His name must come up all the time because he was really good and yeah because his grandfather lived here, his father lived here, so their family go back to 1800s. St Marys was his place.
When I got here, the fellow that was working for him, an Italian fellow, he left and went to Melbourne and I had to come two weeks after that. He ended up replacing him with another Italian so that’s why he gave me the job. He didn’t really need me, because the chairs were all full, but I just happened to be at the right place at the right time.
When I came here, like every place in Sydney had their culture, like the Italians in Leichardt and you had the Greek in Redfern, Haberfield, it was all different you know. But in St Marys it was pretty much a bit of everybody - in 1962 St Marys, it was very tiny little place and everybody knew everybody. Twelve o’clock on Saturdays everybody was shut. There was a gaming place and everybody talked about football and people.
Today people come for haircut and with ‘next please; everybody gets up quick, in those days they say “nah” you go I’ll keep on talking because there’s nothing to do. Life was like lot slower then and that’s why everybody knew everybody, you know.
We didn’t have the hair spray and the moisturiser, we just had, a lot of, you wouldn’t remember but we had this stuff called Brylcreem. It wasn’t a cream it was just like hard greasy gel. When the hair wouldn’t go down you would just grab some and just put it on. It was Brylcreem, Spruso, California poppy; they were all really hard and harsh which you wouldn’t use today, no, you wouldn’t even use it for your car.
Where those uniforms come about, you want to know they come about? There was a show on TV, and lot of people will remember that, it was called Ben Casey. He was a doctor and this guy wore that kind uniform and then they turned them to doctors, barbers and dentist. Everybody would wear the same uniform because they looked cool and we also got them today.
The chairs are the same, yes and the tills the same, yes. Now also I got clippers that we used to use years ago. They were really big and bulky and yes now they become really small, but yes we kept all that yes. We use exactly what we used 40 years ago, but different, in a different bottles, with different smell, you know no hair spray, all this stuff that today come out we didn’t use it then. But overall it’s the same thing as well as the haircuts.
Today as you can see, the kids ask for haircuts that we would make in the 30s and the 40s. They’ve changed a little bit but pretty much they are on the same level.
You could have a guy that will have a really short haircut, this much off it, or he would get longhair down his shoulders. Years ago you didn’t have that, in the 40s you have all short, in the 60s the hippies have the long hair, you got fellas with beards now and you know that’s how everything has changed.
Researchers: Paul Mills and Eric Kent
Paul Mills (left) and Eric Kent (right) examining an early map of Queen Street St Marys during a visit to the State Archives, Kingswood NSW, November 2017.
Paul was born in Griffith N.S.W. He moved with family to St Marys in 1954 when his parents decided to open their own business. Paul attended both local schools, St Marys Public and St Marys High School. He worked from a very early age in dad’s Menswear shop and after leaving school worked full time. Paul worked 44 years in the one job.
After retirement Paul and his wife Margaret joined St Marys and District Historical Society, Paul is also involved with the Nepean Men's Shed where he teaches Pyrography (Woodburning). Many examples of his work can be found in various places around the Australia.
Eric moved to St Marys from Kingswood in 1947 when he was 10 years old. Queen Street at that time was mainly residential with only a few shops spread out along mainly the eastern side of the street. Eric lived in the Duration Cottages and attended St Marys Primary School. He also went to Penrith High School as there was no high school in St Marys at that time. After he left school he started work at Ducon’s Condensers. The factory was part of the munitions area that was built during World War 2.
Eric was one of the original members of the Nepean District Pipe Band until illness prevented him from carrying on. He was also involved as Cub Scout leader in the 1st St Marys Scout Troop for a number of years. After working for Ducon’s (later known as Plessy's) for 14 years Eric went into the building trade doing waterproofing and building maintenance.
Eric has also participated in the Penrith Relay for Life for more than eight years and he is now an active member of the St Marys and District Historical Society.
- Written by Adam Gatt Penrith City Council (02) 4732 7777 (02) 4732 7958 firstname.lastname@example.org https://www.penrithcity.nsw.gov.au 601 High St Penrith NSW 2750 Australia
- Back to QSRT 2018 - Windows on Queen Project