Business patriarch

David Cusack

2018 marks the 100th year in business for the Cusacks furniture store—the oldest operating family business in Canberra that continues to be a household name.

The 87-year-old family patriarch, David Cusack, can remember his father Stan, riding a pushbike from Yass to Manuka to buy the block of land for their first Canberra store (now the location of Public Bar in Manuka) in 1927. They already had a chain of stores throughout the region, but this latest store meant that David and his family had to move from Yass to Canberra before it opened in 1928.

”It was my mother, my father and my sister in the front of the truck and my brother and myself and all our worldly possessions in the back of the truck.

“Of course, Manuka in those days was very quiet. You could sit on the front doorstep of the shop and watch the sheep grazing in front of you.

Ten years later, my father opened the Cusacks store in Kingston. But, as with any business, we had our ups and downs. During the Great Depression businesses were hit very hard. By the time war was declared in 1939, my father had to close all our stores except for those in Canberra. And in 1976, we had a fire that completely destroyed the Kingston premises—the main store was completely gutted.

Throughout it all, people in Canberra have been so kind—they’ve always offered a great deal of support. Having such a cross-section of people to call upon is really helpful when you’re in business.

I think Canberra is a great place to live, raise a family and have a business. And I feel very proud that my family has been part of its pioneering days—and its ongoing development.”

Play Video
David Cusack