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Daylesford tells you it is the place to relax. Shop signs beckon you inside It seems every third place promises a heavenly head and shoulder massage, every second a chocolate indulgence and there are so many gift shops with scented soaps and candles that one could easily stock up with a year's worth of pampering products.
But while there is plenty of new stuff for sale, another side to Daylesford is the bevy of op shops and the townships's absolutely colossal-sized second-hand market.
I start with the MS shop which is just behind where I am staying at the Daylesford Royal Hotel (They offer an excellent accommodation and food package which I have written about here.)
The MS Opp Shop is an old house. It looks a bit remodelled Art Deco from the outside but not in an elaborate or fancy way. There are four rooms jam-packed full of stuff. I love country op shops and their country prices. This particular day they are doing a deal. Fill a bag for $5.
A young mother is in the shop with her unwieldy pram. She is looking for pure silk items which she plans to use as material when she dips eggs in dye as an Easter activity to do with her children.
While it seems a bit of a waste of "pure silk" there are certainly a couple of such items when I start looking around to help her find something. This would be unusual in Melbourne as pure silk anything would either disappear as soon as it was put out or be so expensive the price might be off-putting.
I also eye off a cushion that would go perfectly on my couch but as there is only one I leave it be.
4 Duke Street, DAYLESFORD, Australia 03) 5348 3988 Mon - Fri 10:00am - 4:30pm Sat 10:00am - 1:00pm
The next op shop is only a short walk away. It's a Vinnies and a bit like every other Vinnies I have ever ventured into; nicely displayed goods and all arranged in their various colours. Although this one did have a dedicated fancy dress section where you could hire the clothes as well as buy them which was a bit of a novelty
As always in a Vinnies shop you pay for all this organisation and I didn't find anything particulary cheap.
Then I spotted them. The three matching cushions to the one I had seen in the MS shop. Someone must have cleaned out their stuff in stages and given it to various op shops. Only in a small town would you be able to find matching cousins to your first find so quickly
I bought them even though they were well over twice the price to the original one I had seen. I then raced back to the other shop to retrieve the first one. Thankfully it was still there and I achieved my matching set.
28 Howe Street, Daylesford VIC 3460
(03) 5348 3862
Hours: Mon - Fri 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Sat 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
The Community Op Shop
This op shop is out of town on the industrial estate. It is a new warehouse sized building. Unlike the orderly Vinnies there is a tangle of stuff here however there are basic categories such as pants, skirts, dresses and so on. So you just have to show a little patience.
Prices are excellent. I gingerly took a couple of items up to the counter to see how much they were. When I was told a $1 each I went back into the fray and really loaded up. I didn't bother trying many things on. When I got home I found that some didn't fit but that was okay as I took them down to my local op shop where they will probably charge $5 an item when they sell them. The thing I love about op-shopping is that what goes around comes around. Half the fun is in the finding and yet the items keep going round so that someone else can have some fun.
Daylesford Community OP shop
Address: 6 Mink Street Daylesford 3460. PO Box 627
Hours: Mon - Fri 10.00am-4.00pm
Amazing Mill Market
The mother in the first op shop, who had been looking for silk, kindly told me about the Mill Market or else I probably would not have bothered to go there. She said that sometimes they have some really cheap stuff.
I did notice as I was doing the Olympic sized circuits around the Mill Market that there were any number of bargains including retro clothes at $5 each. They even have a large civilised change room where you can try things on.
I guess there are so many stalls here that there is heaps of competition which keeps prices reasonable.
There seemed to be about 300 stalls in a place that seemed about the size of South Melbourne Market! Mostly the stalls are unmanned so you can mosey around to your heart's content.
This stall specialised in skeins of woo/. I couldn't resist taking a photo.
This market has everything you could imagine, vintage upon vintage. This included furniture, jewellery books, vinyl, kitchenware, dressmaking patterns, crockery, industrial kit as well as lots of funky clothing.
Some of the stalls specialised in specific eras but others were amalgamation of all kinds of stuff.
Months ago I bought a great stand and have been searching in vain for a reasonably priced typewriter to display on it. At the Mill Market I found four of them so I could take my pick.
The cafe is supposed to be good, but on this particular Wednesday, it seemed to have shut early. I know it was good because a lot of disappointed people kept turning up and looked very dejected when they had to go away again and find somewhere else to eat.
Amazing Mill Market is at 105 Central Springs Road, Daylesford. It is open 10am to 6pm, 7 days a week, everyday of the year except Christmas day.
I had to take a photo of this car. It is in a two hour parking spot and if you notice underneath it has grass growing underneath it. I think it was quite indicative that Daylesford really is a secondhand kind of town"