In the early I980s, plans were put in place for Westfield to develop the biggest shopping centre in NSW on the site of an aging General Motors-Holden (GM-H) manufacturing plant that had closed down in Pagewood, 10 kilometres southeast of Sydney. In a difficult economic climate, and facing high unemployment following the shredding of the industrial labour force through the latter 1970s, the Wran Labor government intervened to support the Westfield development. Public land was sold secretly and the site hastily rezoned. When the rezoning was challenged in the Land and Environment Court by smaller, competing retail interests, the government introduced legislation to retrospectively validate the rezoning, rendering the legal challenge obsolete. This paper explores the changing face of Pagewood in light of broader economic trends. It traces the site history of Westfield Eostgardens from the establishment of the GM-H plant through to the rise of the 'shopping paradise', contextualising the transformation of Pagewood's urban form within the decline of manufacturing in Australia, the politics of development, and the imperative of employment. The paper argues that the built environment at Pagewood reflected a transition in the Australian economy away from production and towards services, and that the Wran Labor government's intervention while requiring critique, must also be seen as a response to high and escalating unemployment problems in the state.