Many years ago, I wrote two articles about what was likely my favourite hobby store when I was growing up: Yennora Hobbies in Sydney, Australia.
The few photos I had managed to find of the inside of the store didn’t actually show any of the R/C cars, which was a shame. But at long last, thanks to the store’s co-founder, I’ve finally got one photo that does.
This won’t be a long article. But I felt it deserved a special mention anyway.
Way back in 2012, I wrote two articles (part 1 and part 2) about a long lost hobby shop in the Sydney suburb of Yennora that I visited many times in the 1990s. The store was called Yennora Hobbies, and also sometimes known by the name Toyman Imports.
I discovered the store a bit late really. Perhaps about 1993 or 1994. I missed the golden 1980s when it would have been full of all the vintage R/C models we covet today.
But when I did visit, I’m pretty confident it was still in its heyday as a well-stocked store. And what always set it apart from other stores, to me, was its large size and ever-changing mixture of both second-hand and new stock catering to every hobby category.
As you can appreciate, finding any old photos of the inside of any old store (in the years before digital cameras) is considerably difficult. But the co-founder of Yennora Hobbies, Brent, recently got in touch with me once again to say that he’d found one more image. And this one actually shows a nice glimpse of the R/C shelves…
So without further ado, here it is.
The photo dates from 13th April, 1993, as the print indicates.
The view is as if you were standing maybe 5 metres inside the front door, and looking toward the back wall of the store.
To the immediate left of the camera, you can just see the edge of a counter. Under this counter there was a glass case that always contained R/C cars for sale that were on consignment (used cars). I bought several things from there, even things like partial cars – e.g., gearboxes or used bodies of old Tamiya Hotshots. I also saw many vintage cars inside that counter case that I had never previously seen in real life before (only in catalogue pictures!). So it was always quite a buzz to walk in, and see these things in person. There was no Internet back then. All I had (if I was lucky) was magazines and catalogues, as a way of seeing any photo of an R/C car.
Clearly visible in the photo, of course, are new in box models on the high shelves to the left, and on the centre shelf. On the left shelf I can see the boxes of the Panda Porsche 911 and Toyota Celica. Along with the Tamiya Bullhead, Tamiya Toyota Celica Gr.B (oh wow), Tamiya Top Force Evolution, Tamiya Avante 2001, and many more.
In the centre cabinet, there’s a Tamiya Rookie Rabbit, a Tamiya Midnight Pumpkin QD, and some Tamiya Thunder Dragon kits. What else can you see?
Oh… down to the left of the centre cabinet (on the floor) you can just barely see some open boxes full of early Tamiya spare parts with orange header cards. By the time I visited (not long after this photo), they were still fond of using this exact spot for lots of packets of spare vintage Tamiya tyres. So I am willing to bet that’s what they are in the photo. With my modest budget I was often able to buy spare parts, so I picked up quite a few tyres for cars like the Tamiya Supershot. Some of them were as little as $5 a pair.
In all likelihood, the tyres I bought from that box might have been the ones I fitted to a new-built Super Shot that I finished a couple of years ago…
Later, I took this brand new car for some (gentle) loops at the Castle Hill R/C track in Sydney, one day in 2019. As with all my cars, this Super Shot is 100% kit standard and vintage (right down to every last screw, bearing, decal, mechanical speed control, Mabuchi Technipower motor, and vintage AM radio gear). I wasn’t going to attack any of the jumps of course (I’ve always felt jumps were stupid to be honest😅)… Proper racing is about corners anyway 😉 And I had never driven this track before.
But, I digress!
If you can see anything else interesting in the old Yennora Hobbies photo, post a comment below. Better still, if you have any other photos from inside old Hobby stores back in the day, please send them through. It would be fun to put together more articles like this one.
And thank you Brent for sending this through, so many years after my original articles.
Thanks for this post as it brings back a lot of memories for me. I used to frequent the Yennora hobby shop in the mid to late 80’s, as I lived and worked in the area. I also used to be the Tamiya sales counter operator at Uncle Petes store at Auburn.
I would sell and build the R/C cars for the store. I worked with Peter, his wife and their four children which were all lovely. I especially loved working with his daughter Heidi as she was an earthly and empathetic person.
Regarding the Yennora hobby shop photo if I’m not mistaken, I can see a yellow multimeter in the left hand side second cabinet.
A multimeter was a necessary tool that all good R/C car builders, operators and maintainers would have in the kit for testing speed controllers, ceramic resistors, battery and chargers.
My closest hobby shop in my area nowadays is Family land at Chester Hill. A lovely husband and wife couple own and run store.
Thanks for the memories once again…
Thanks for your comment relaxavous – much appreciated. Always great to hear from someone who worked at the actual stores I remember! It’s been a pleasure not only to write these pieces about the stores, but to hear this feedback from the founders and staff. There are too few similar stores around these days, and many hobby stores have closed down over the years… glad to hear you still have a local one.