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Friday, 11 January 2013

Goulburn, City of Junk (and Lilacs)

Yesterday my sister and I took a trip to Goulburn
We wanted to visit the junk stores and op shops. My sister is a  swing dancer with a passion for vintage clothes, and I am always on the lookout for new fabric to make into dresses for my shop. I also thought I'd try and find a knick knack shelf or a shadow box, as I have nowhere to display my little treasures. Mary was after a wooden ladder to display in her living room.

We started the day with a coffee at Civic and left town just after 9am.
I had previously downloaded a brochure from the tourism centre giving opening hours for the shops, and my sister was tasked with directing us to them all. Here's a link to the website if you need it http://www.igoulburn.com/Attractions/Antiques-Art-Books-Collectables-2nd-Hand-Shops.aspx

Our first stop was an unplanned visit to the Big Merino, where there is also a petrol station.
Goulburn is Australia's first inland city, founded when the settlers in Sydney needed more room for grazing sheep. The beautiful old buildings in town date from an age when Australia rode to prosperity on the sheep's back. It is famous for roses, and lilacs, and it is also my sister's birthplace.

We stopped in at the cathedral to collect an order form for the St Saviour's rose, due to be released for the 150th anniversary of the diocese. I couldn't find a picture of this rose on the net, but it has been developed by Swane's and is a lovely 'bishopy' magenta pink. The rose festival is held in Goulburn each March, and I have heard it is a fun filled event so I might go this year. http://www.goulburnrosefestival.org.au/

Next stop: Tony's.
Tony's is a very neat and tidy junk shop. No dust in evidence. A very helpful lady directed me to the sewing supplies and I picked up about 20 metres of assorted bias binding for a few dollars, as well as some patterns and a jazzy blue sheet. I was suddenly seized with a strange desire to own a telephone table - and I kept seeing ones I really liked but I held off because really I don't actually need one.

We also stopped in at the Vinnies next door but found it was mainly furniture and some old men waiting for pies.

We drove round the corner to the aptly named Big Heart Mission Australia op shop. I found some more patterns here and a skirt. At the counter when I went to pay the shop keeper offered to show me some fabric she had seen out the back, so we went through the "staff only" door and had a sticky beak. I bought two metres of this lovely pink quilting fabric, as well as this awesome brown/green/pink elderflower fabric with an art deco feel. I am going to fashion a blouse out of this one. I also picked up a big roll of sew in interfacing, which I plan to use to trace my patterns onto. I am overrun at the moment with a pile of printed off PDF patterns that are unable to be ironed due to sticky tape, so this should really help. The shop lady was very funny and helpful and tried to give me things for free but I insisted on paying her.

We moved on to the main street and I visited two fabric stores in a quest to buy some twill tape to make into labels for my dresses. (My custom made shop stamps arrived from Japan this week). Luckily the sewing stores were just across the road from each other. I also picked up some ric-rac which always comes in handy. We stopped in to the Salvos store, where we found some really old patterns and my sister bought a kookaburra milk jug with a crack in its beak. It is the sort which has a hole in the beak for the milk to come out of and only cost her 50 cents. I also bought some lace for trimming dresses.

At this stage we were feeling a bit peckish so we stopped at the Bryant's bakery for a snack. (the Paragon, at right, was too crowded and pricey for us)

Vinnies was next, in the arcade nearby. Here we purchased some navy check wool crepe, some 80s fabric featuring postcards, and some more old patterns and cute little reels of Sylko thread. We walked up the street to the Red Cross op shop, but this one was over priced and did not have a haberdashery department so we left empty handed. I had two parcels to post so we visited the historic post office and mailed them off to the USA.

We stopped in at Belmore Park and enjoyed the peaceful surrounds. 

It was here that Mary spotted a shop which was not on our list, The Little Junk Shop located near the Soldiers Club. This was a very sweet little shop but I got a bit confused as it sold a mixture of old stuff and new knick knacks all mixed in together.

It was time to leave the main street and head off in search of more junk stores, so off we went. We stopped at Trish's Trash and Treasure, but it proved more trash than treasure. It was not nearly as clean as Tony's but everything was double the price, and all the prices had been written on with a texta which made things look a bit nasty. Just down the road was the Old Wares Shop (on the right) but there wasn't much of interest in there.
I did like the free stuff parked outside the door, and we thought it was funny that they were giving away the same sort of junk that Trish was charging through the nose for down the street. I really liked the pepper trees in the middle of the street so I took a photo of those. I have two of these in pots, waiting for the right place to plant them.

The last shop on our list was The Argyle Book Emporium, located in the old Police station just behind the Court House near the station. There were books, books and more books. The proprietor asked what I was looking for and I said "Sewing books please" so he led me down a corridor and into a cell. Yes, the hobby books on cooking, craft and gardening were all in a cell. Meanwhile Mary went off to find the records and she was happy to find some lovely old favourites.


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We decided to take the scenic route home, and headed off to Braidwood via Lake Bathurst and Tarago.

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Braidwood is a lovely little heritage town where all the buildings in the main street have verandahs. It's on the way to the coast.
Mary really wanted to go that way so she could visit HoolaHoop 50s style clothing store and milk bar.

We stopped in at a very expensive antique store in Braidwood, selling all sorts of Danish high faluting designer furniture. Way out of our league unfortunately.

But all was not lost as there was a Vinnies nearby. I picked up a white summer top with lace and birdies, Mary bought an old fashioned cotton lace petticoat and up the back we found "The Linen Cave" - a whole section dedicated to sheets etc. I bought a baby cot sheet and some more patterns, as well as a Cornelia Funke book for my daughter.

We had a snack at the milk bar (which was not anything like I expected a milk bar to look, taste or feel like) and found an eatery where we wished we'd eaten at instead called "Pay Dirt".   

Then we headed off into the sunset back to Canberra. Overall it was a very enjoyable day out, driving through the countryside with my sister to chat with was pleasurable enough on its own and then there was all that lovely op-shopping. If you count the antique stores and sewing shops we visited fourteen all up.

It was very smoky around my place when I got home :( But just because the wind changed and blew it in from the South where fires are still burning in the bush.

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In shop news, I sold the lovely New Year's Day dress featured in my last blog post to a customer in the UK, and made another one which I called 'the Blue Rose dress'. This one is modelled by my reluctant daughter. (she's pulling a face which says you can make me smile Mum but you can't make me look like I mean it)

I hope it finds a happier little girl to wear it soon.

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Following are some more photos of the lovely town of Braidwood as well as some of the goodies I bought.  



  1. Really neat to see all the pictures of your country. Love the old buildings. And I remember that reversable skirt pattern. My grandma and all her sisters made them.

  2. I really enjoyed this post. Thanks for taking us on the tour. Loved seeing all of the old buildings and hearing about your day with your sister.

  3. Ally Jo I am totally addicted to wrap skirt patterns - I have about 12 but I can't seem to stop buying them!!!

  4. Looks like a lovely, enjoyable day!

  5. Looks like my kind of day, digging through this and that and coming home with treasure. I think I have that same reversible skirt pattern. Love taking this road trip and seeing all of the old buildings.

  6. My heart be still....this is EXACTLY my dream kind of day. How much fun! Another reason I have to get to Australia, to visit all these great thrift stores!

  7. This sounds great! I love reading your posts :)

  8. Some of your pics made me want to have been with you and your sis on that trip. Please tell your sister I loved her dress.

  9. Looks like a fun time with your sister.

  10. I feel like I have taken that mini vacation with you and Mary. This is my idea of "almost heaven" and I do it as often as I can. I have two friends that are my cohorts and we call these "girlz day out" and even scrapbook about it sometimes.

  11. Thanks gals. Nelly I will convey your compliments. She loves that vintage dress and wears it well, I think.

  12. Wow - what a fun day out- I would love to do this with my sister. She lived in Goulburn for many years, but has since moved elsewhere. You cant beat op shopping! Really enjoyed your article.

  13. Great pictures! It looked like it was so much fun and I really like that skirt pattern.