Memories and Mementos
Op shopping in Ipswich
Everything old is new again! Growing up I was surrounded by beautiful old things, and I don’t just mean my parents! My childhood home of 37 years is still an eclectic mix of grand old antiques and unusual artefacts collected on my mum’s global travels. Divine.
My stylish mother isn’t the only one obsessed with the thrill of the hunt. Every old is new again and vintage is certainly in vogue. Second-hand stores are busier than ever. Ipswich is leading the way when it comes to the second-hand shopping scene, with a tremendous range of shops, from non-profit run charity stores through to top of the range antiques shops as I recently found out when I spent a morning with my own personal shopping tour guide, aka Mum!
With my two-and-a-half-year-old in tow, we hit the shops, not sure of what we would find, and with an open mind and money burning a hole in our pockets. Who knew what we would discover? That’s part of the excitement … you never know what amazing little vintage dress or divine piece of furniture you’ll stumble across.
The Vintage Advantage
We simply had to make a stop at my mum’s favourite local vintage store, The Vintage Advantage, at 185 Brisbane Steeet in the old Lutvey’s at Top of Town. The gents that own the store, who, incidentally, are utterly fabulous, have created a mecca for vintage vixens. Mum almost scored a pair of red velvet armchairs, but decided to sleep on it (and similarly suffered in the ‘you snooze you lose’ department) and we spent a good 20 minutes exploring.
Their vintage cocktail hats are divine, and if it’s an old-school sailor or original flapper costume you’re after, you’re in luck. Tick on both fronts. But my Grace fell in love with a delicious little timber rocking chair that simply had to come home with us. Said chair now has pride of place in our lounge room and is often called on for baby or teddy rocking duties. That’s $18 well spent, if you ask me, and one happy little customer.
Ipswich Antique Centre
Ipswich Antique Centre is nothing short of amazing, even just the building itself! The main building was designed by George Brockwell Gill and built in 1895. It has stunning stained glass windows and an incredible collection of furniture, clothing, collectibles, jewellery and many miscellaneous items like taxidermy animals.
Upstairs, the dress up section will have the ladies busy for hours. The collection of retro dresses, cardigans, hats (oh, the hats!) and handbags are brilliant. Wonderful partitions, crockery, jewellery and furniture can be found downstairs and are all well worth an individual gaze!
Booval Secondhand Store
Next stop was all about the furniture … two oversized rooms of it at the Booval Secondhand Store at 4 S Station Road, near the train station. Mum immediately fell in love with a stunning cabinet with the most stunning leadlight doors, but it was sold, and I was dangerously close to snapping up a silky oak hallstand of my own but resisted.
Off we trotted to the Salvation Army store at Bundamba next – another massive set up filled with everything you could need or want. Mum grabbed some plants, knowing the money will help the Salvos, and a silver gravy boat, as you do.
Lifeline Superstore, Booval
Lifeline Superstore at 80 Jacaranda Street in Booval is a large premises with everything from office furniture through to antiques, clothing, shoes, books and bric-a-bra. Within precisely two minutes mum had spotted a gorgeous rose pink fringed lamp for the bargain price of $15 – perfect for her floral-inspired bedroom, and not three minutes later I had fallen in love with an antique sideboard that was snapped up and now lives in my office.
Best we don’t mention the two, yes I said two, leather chesterfield couches that I um’d and ah’d about for too long … just $480 each (honestly, even on Gumtree they are $2000 used). I learned a cruel lesson in op-shopping – you snooze you lose! I still cry into my wine each night about missing out on these. Next time I’ll buy first and think later.
Mum trawled the racks of clothing and while she didn’t snap up any crisp white linen shirts or raw silk dresses this time, like she often does, we spied some really lovely bits and pieces. Who doesn’t love a vintage find? At least you know you won’t walk down the street and see someone else in it.
A good time to point out that these stores are there to make money to support incredibly worthy causes, so when you drop a dollar at a shop like Lifeline, you’re not only hip and happening on the recycling front (the environment says thanks), but you’re also supporting those who need it the most. Yay you!
Off we trotted to the Salvation Army store at 133 Brisbane Street, Bundamba next – another massive set up filled with everything you could need or want. Mum grabbed some plants, knowing the money will help the Salvos, and a silver gravy boat, as you do.
Keeping Up Appearances
While my little girl was nearing the end of her pre-sleep tether, we decided that we simply had to check out one of Mum’s usual little haunts run by a couple of local ladies, Keeping Up Appearances on the corner of Glebe Road and Macquarie Street. What an experience! There isn’t a vacant piece of wall – every possible nook and cranny is jam-packed with vintage and secondhand goodies, from clothing to antique dolls, party costumes, fine bone china, artwork and kitchenware.
This business is all about giving back, with a sign on the wall proudly listing the three causes supported by sales at the store – Caring for abandoned and disabled children in China, supporting volunteer Australian health care professionals to work with these children in China, and Ipswich Regional Community Church Projects. It’s a treasure trove for vintage lovers and op-shoppers alike! I could have spent hours in there … but Grace had other ideas.
Unfortunately, we ran out of time and didn’t get to mum’s other favourite haunts, like the Animal Welfare League in the Top of Town, and there are so many other stores I haven’t mentioned. So, next time you’re heading out for a spot of shopping, I urge you to consider the local second-hand scene. Save a dollar, do your bit for recycling, support a local charity (or business) and score yourself a unique treat, all at the same time …