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Pickers Paradise.

You'll never guess where Lisa found a nirvana of secondhand goods - a collection of 'diamonds in the rough'...

Nov 21, 2017

Words: Lisa Northover

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Over the past 10 years, the demand for seeking a secondhand ‘diamond in the rough’ has skyrocketed. It may be due to the growing population of the ‘non-conformist millennial hipster artists’ that are struggling to make rent each week, yet still, consider looking fabulous and quirky a high priority. You’ll never guess where I found their nirvana... —

Maintaining the aforementioned image with limited funds is a very real struggle and I can relate to based on my own history of constantly needing to look fashionably unique on a minimum wage. Dating back almost a decade ago, I stumbled across the wonderful, magical and affordable world of ‘Savers’ op shops, which made these dreams a reality. For those unfamiliar with these stores; picture fluorescent lights offering two stories worth of colour coded racks of preloved, mothball-scented threads for a fraction of their original price. From taffeta dresses straight out of a ’80s formal to knitwear featuring embroidered tulips - this place was a poverty-stricken uni student’s paradise. These fossickers managed to provide a business opportunity to wealthy eccentrics who apparently enjoy supporting enthusiastic scavenging? So what does this have to do with our humble home of Gippsland? Well, apart from offering some of the finest and most affordable op shops in the country (trust me, I’ve explored). Hidden away in the south there’s something more inviting. Often we travel to the serene South Gippsland coastal towns to indulge in the pure tranquillity of crashing waves and picturesque scenery. However, I recently discovered amidst the green rolling hills an abundance of vintage stores and markets - in fact, you’ll need a solid day to get through them all. Surprisingly, the home of many of these secondhand finds was tucked away in Wonthaggi, of all places. Through further research (shopping), I soon learnt that a large handful of these gems have popped up within the last two years, giving a ‘vintage makeover’ if you like, to a town that has previously copped a bit of an average rap. Perusing through these gold mines of antiquity I felt my eyes widen and my heart rate increase a little as each new nook was revealed. Each store and market offered a feel of organised chaos that any second-hand lover would swoon over. The presentation of each space, although cluttered and somewhat pandemonic, radiated aesthetic pleasure and pride. An artwork in itself; the displays ranged from colour coded homewares to replicas of your grandma’s bedroom — crawling with delightful fur coats and a few too many creepy-eyed dolls for comfort. As winter has comfortably set in and the beach is a little too icy to enjoy, an outing slightly more inland, with a takeaway latte in hand (conveniently available at the cafés that are attached to most of these venues), could be the perfect way to spend your weekend. You may even find your own glamorous piece of priceless fashion history tucked between John Farnham VHS tapes and a Singer sewing machine. Gippslandia #4 - Travel - Picking WonthaggiThe Wonthaggi Market 17 Korumburra Rd, Wonthaggi 9:30am – 4:30pm Open Daily — This double storey shed of dreams offers everything from crocheted cardigans to antique children’s trikes not to mention the largest spread of colour-coded bric-a-brac and a cosy library corner. If you happen to visit on a Saturday you may be as pleasantly surprised, as I was, to discover the sound of gentle jazzy blues was not, in fact, coming from the pretty gramophone in the corner, but the quirky live brass duo hidden under the stairwell. - Accompanying café - Live music The Funky Pickers Shed 134 McKenzie St, Wonthaggi 9:30am – 4:30pm Closed Tuesdays — Set just off Mckenzie St in Wonthaggi, The Funky Pickers shed seemed to have something to offer everyone. Although there is a ‘man cave’ focus, offering things such as vintage service station signage and tractor seat stools in immaculate condition, there is also a vast collection of vinyl records, old-school typewriters and even a glass case filled with crystals and gemstones. It is obvious business owners Gavin and Jody take great pride in their work, given the display of the exhibits and the quality of what is on offer. Factory Seven 120 McKenzie St, Wonthaggi 9:30am – 4:30pm Open Daily — Not far from Funky Pickers, Factory Seven is tucked away and can be easy to miss. However, once people discover it, they will return on a regular basis. Featuring predominantly vintage furniture and trinkets, you can score yourself anything from a framed three-dimensional cat picture to a signature Mauri ornament. This pristine garage inspired lounge room is tied together with a glass cabinet filled with antique jewels and a few threads to match. - Accompanying café - Live music Southern Bazaar 58 McBride Ave, Wonthaggi 13 A’Beckett St, Inverloch 10:00am – 5:00pm Open Daily — Southern Bazaar has successfully combined a stunning mix of locally-made preloved and new furniture. Browsing through these pieces, it was difficult to separate the recycled from the modern. Featuring cowhide rugs and a feel of French chic in the air there is an array of artwork to complement each display. The mix of old and new creates a feeling of a city showroom with flawless character. Gippslandia #4 - Travel - Picking Wonthaggi Murray St Bazaar 1 Murray St, Wonthaggi, 9:00am – 4:00pm Closed Tuesdays — With their sistering store located in Cowes, Murray St Bazaar is set behind their café in the heart of Wonthaggi. My attention was stolen immediately by the Aztec rugs and cushions - creating a feeling of Mexican Bohemia. This gigantic space sells anything from shed treasures to taxidermied animals. While illuminated dolls can create a sense of gothic (creepy) ambience. Featuring a mixture of Japanese kimonos, handmade tie-dyed apparel and adult-sized fairy costumes (I know, I am just as excited as you are!) this place was just like stepping into a grown-up fairy tale. - Accompanying café Kongwak Market Korumburra Wonthaggi Rd, Kongwak 10:00am – 3:00pm Every Sunday — Set in the heart of, well, Kongwak, there isn’t much else in this quaint and otherwise secluded township. Connected to a few eclectic retro furniture/hippy attire stores, the shed space holding the famous market of trinkets, carries with it a strong community vibe of eccentric locals that are happy making any outsider feel right at home. Predominantly famous for its pre-loved glitz and glam, an array of plants, preserves and delicious local produce are also on offer. - Accompanying café - Live music — Special thanks to photographer Lauren Murphy in her first (but hopefully not last) contribution to Gippslandia: Gippslandia #4 - Travel - Picking Wonthaggi

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