Hawkers and roadside stalls selling food items – including fruit, vegetables, seafood, pies and peanuts – were a part of the fabric of Sydney’s streetscape from its earliest days.

By the 1920s, the locations where fixed barrows could set up in the city, and the hours that they could operate, were regulated by the City Council. But there was ongoing ambivalence to the existence of these types of fixed stalls from the outset.

But despite complaints about ‘racketeering, rudeness and traffic obstruction’, fruit and nut stalls remained extremely popular through to the 1950s.

Today, fruit and nut stalls in the city are few and far between – and are no longer as popular as they once were. With tighter regulations, they’ve got a uniform look, and with competition from large grocery stores, they no longer offer the cheapest options…

Here are some pretty picturs from days gone by:

Woman in fur coat buying fruit from stand on Lawson Street in Redfern, 1954 (City of Sydney Archives NSCA CRS 47/236)
Fruit and nut stall on George Street (City of Sydney Archives NSCA CRS 51/1636)
Fruit and vegetable barrow out the front of Customs House, 1932 (Photograph courtesy Irene Inley, City of Sydney Archives SRC17784)
Fruit stall and Springfield House mansion behind, 1933 (City of Sydney Archives NSCA CRS 51/1588)