Maitland’s antique stores can satisfy your collectable urges, antique whims and memorabilia desires. Whenever I visit one of the many vintage fashion, furniture, bric a brac or curiosity stores I feel like an explorer. Stepping through narrow passageways with objects from the past teeming around me, I could even be a time traveller or archaeologist. Always eccentric, especially with their opening times, it’s an adventure when I get the urge to go antiquing.
Junkyard Gypsies at East Maitland is one of my favourites for vintage clothing, accessories and homewares anywhere in Australia. Located in the loft of The Country Brewer you climb the artwork dotted stairs and go from a world of hops, yeast and barley to a room with rack upon rack of retro, glam and utterly fabulous clothes. Priding themselves on sustainable shopping, Junkyard Gypsies have done your shopping for you proving true the adage that ‘what’s old can be new again’ with new life breathed into inspiring fashion ensembles. I’m constantly having to tear myself away from their amazing collection of colourful and unique homewares and sometimes I can’t. I really did need the irresistible tea and saucer set, really…
My next stop when I’m on an antique-a-thon is Vintage on Melbourne. I first learnt about this place from seeing their green Morris Minor proclaiming the shop around town. Located within a beautiful heritage terrace, a variety of furniture items meet me outside. The abundant shelves are always full of old world treasures from lace tablecloths to quirky salt and pepper shakers. They even have a café. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is served on a shabby chic collection of antique crockery and cutlery. I suggest sitting in the shady courtyard to be inspired by the creative repurposing of antique finds. It’s amazing how things can be reused in new and exciting ways.
Walking down Melbourne Street you’ll find another essential stop, Rustic Antiques, which is a delectation of tools, books, tins and toys. The shop is very thoughtfully laid out guiding me through the abundance of items. It is a joyful experience of ordered sifting and I completely lose track of time rummaging through shelves and baskets. On one of my visits a chalk board declared ‘when I go shopping rust and dust are a must’. When I saw that, I knew this was my kinda place.
The antique excitement continues at Morpeth Antique Centre with a number of dealers providing an abundance of bygone era items. You’ll definitely find yourself walking down the antique yellow brick road with dolls, nautical and garden gear. This antique treasure trove within the 180 year old building never disappoints. I’m always finding unique gifts for friends and family which I know no one else at the party will have found. Collectable ceramics, vintage clothes and chintz wonders have all made their way into my home too. This refuge provides items for those seeking the individual and unique rather than mass produced, run of the mill items. Be sure to also explore the multi award winning Campbell’s Store for fantastic collectables like novelty teapots, war memorabilia and Teddy Bears. As well as collectable branded products there’s also original artworks and gourmet goodies. These goodies provide the perfect treat to nibble on as you enjoy your antique find in its new home.
There are also many wonderful op shops in Maitland. My mum and I regularly enjoy second hand shopping quests and never come home empty handed. There are four in the heart of Maitland that are always on our list. The first of these is the Lifeline Shop at The Levee. I’ve found numerous treasures including records, kitchenware and clothing amongst their huge selection. Every time we visit, the children’s toy section always has at least one child enjoying the preloved playthings with vigour. Just down the road is Op Shop Haven for all things furniture. Perfect for those seeking to spruce up their home décor. Next is Father Riley’s Op Shop, where you’ll find stacks of kitchen goods, furniture and books. I particularly love looking through the electrical section which often has fantastic lamps and kitchen appliances at very affordable prices. We always finish off our second hand shopping quest with Vinnies back on High Street. I remember coming here as a child and shadowing my mum. She would peruse the books and always find fantastic cards for any occasion in the box on the counter. Something she and I both still do.
There are a score more of old wares sellers in Maitland. The past is never too far away and what’s more I can take a part of it home with me. There’s nothing like the smell of old wooden furniture and the excitement of not knowing what I might find.
Story by Genevieve Graham