Arcade Hair Design celebrates 70 years of Benalla hairdressing


Current owner Kym Biddle, who bought the salon in November 2015 from Amelia Gall, is celebrating her 70th birthday.

“I was also Amelia’s apprentice,” Ms Biddle said.

With Benalla being the tight-knit community that she is, Ms Biddle was able to uncover most of her story, but may need the public’s help to fill in the gaps.

“Amelia bought the salon in 2007 from Debbie McGuffie,” Ms Biddle said.

“Debbie bought the salon from Loris Day in 1986, and Loris bought the salon in 1975 from Helen Tipit.

“Amy Ellen Tippet, known as Mardi, bought the salon in 1957, I think, from Rene Sheply.”

Mrs. Biddle needs this element of her story confirmed. She also thinks there might have been an owner before Mrs. Tipit.

Blast from the Past: Lois McCabe, Lorraine Thomas and Alice Love outside Arcade’s hair — date unknown. Photo by contribution

With such a rich history, Ms Biddle regularly learns more about the show.

“(I know) Rae Spencer was an apprentice at the salon in the 1960s and has an original certificate and photos from then, which are just fabulous,” Ms Biddle said.

She also has a photo of three ladies taken around 1952-1953 which shows Lois McCabe, Lorraine Thomas and Alice Love at the salon.

It was brought by Mrs. Thomas’ son, Tony, who wanted to show it to Mrs. Biddle.

“Tony came to the show about a year ago,” Ms Biddle said.

“I had never met Tony before and he had his mother’s picture when she worked at the salon. That entry is still the same entry that is there today.

“Tony’s mother was hoping to visit the salon before she died, which didn’t take long before Tony bought the picture.

“They had no idea the salon was still there, or that it was trading, until they visited Benalla.

“When Tony called (he) told me his mum’s story and showed me the picture.

“I was immediately drawn to the history of the company and felt so privileged to learn some of the history of the show.

“I had the photo enlarged…and had it on a canvas on display at the show.”

In addition to his ties to former owners and apprentices, he also has very long-standing customers.

“We still have clients who are over 90 and still getting their hair done today who came to the salon in the 1950s and 1960s,” Ms Biddle said.

The living room survived the 1993 floods in Benalla and Debbie has some great photos from that time.

If you can help Mrs Biddle find out more about the history of the salon, you can call the salon on 5762 2036.


Comments are closed.