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Dirty Janes Bowral

Home > Bowral > Escape the City | Markets | Shopping | Unusual Things to do | Vintage and Retro
Published January 26th 2022
It was the best of times; it was the worst of times…

I know, it's been used before but it's a great opening line and I'm going to recycle it.

In the middle of the biggest pandemic since the Spanish Flu 100 years ago lays an elegant town surrounded by rolling green hills and gum trees, an oasis off the Southern Expressway between Sydney and Canberra. A place to escape the confines of isolation even if it is just for a day.

Like many towns in country NSW, their genesis derived from land grants to early explorers. Sheep and cattle roamed pastures and as roads were carved through the properties, huts were built, and villages sprung up.

Bowral began as a land grant to John Oxley for his explorations of the Lachlan Rivers and Macquarie Rivers in NSW, as well as the exploration of the Brisbane River. For several years, the town was a backwater being bypassed by the Old South Road leading to Bong Bong and the New Line of Road leading to Berrima. This all changed with the arrival of the railway line between Mittagong, and Moss Vale and a station, enabling fresh produce to be shipped to markets in Sydney.

The town flourished bringing with it schools, churches, civic buildings, stately homes and tourism. It soon became the retail and service centre of the Southern Highlands.

With a vibrant history, a multitude of attractions from Tulip Festival to the International Cricket Hall of Fame and Bradman Museum and Vietnam War Memorial and Cherry Tree Walk. Bowral is renowned for its wineries, cafes, restaurants and antique stores.

With the worst of times due to covid 19, shelves in supermarkets becoming increasingly bare of bread, meat and vegetables. New homewares and furniture are in short supply, this is the best of time to visit Bowral. Locally sourced meat, fruit and vegetables are available in many stores. As international supply chains are increasingly drying up, a change in attitude from the throwaway mentality of items is slowly gaining ground and the realisation that items from the past are worth recycling or for a better term, reclaiming.



Dirty Janes, in the southern end of Bowral, is an emporium that houses all manner of antiques, vintage, clothing, furniture and collectables from Australia and abroad. Named after an Irish lass, Jane Dumphry, who fell foul of the law, she was transported to the colony of New South Wales in 1840. Nicknamed "Dirty Jane" due to the muddy state she arrived at a general Store in Gundagai, with a kind heart and good business sense, she reclaimed her life and built a thriving business in the Gundagai region buying trading in items from the local and outlying regions.

Strolling along the aisles to the sound of Bruce Springsteen's "Glory Days" playing through the store, you are transported to a time when furniture was built with care and quality. Lamps, glassware and tableware had an elegance that made their owners proud to have them displayed not just for guests, but for themselves.


Exploring the military medals brings you to a time when people were rewarded for their deeds, not just for watching. The slight scent of sawdust draws you to an ancient workbench covered with chisels, planes and hand drills. All have a story to tell of what they had built, mended and sworn at after stubbing fingers.


With 90 individual styled stalls to scout, there is so much to discover. From handmade jewellery, clothes, restored furniture, collectable toys, old vinyl records and cameras to secondhand books, there is something to enthral everyone. You'll need to walk around 3 or 4 times to see everything….. while Bono sings "I still haven't found what I'm looking for." As with each loop, something else is captured from the corner of your eye.



Some are caught by the nostalgia of their parents or grandparents' homes, children are caught by the idea they can walk through a museum and buy things to take home. Each piece has a history or a story of its own. Others love the idea of finding something unique, one-off items to be displayed at home with pride.



Dirty Janes caters for everyone from interior decorators, shop owners, collectors, mum and dads to new homeowners that want an individual look to their home.



The friendly and helpful staff are more than happy to assist you in finding the item you are looking for. If the item is not in stock, it can be placed on the "wish list" for you to be notified when one becomes available.


As we may feel we're in the worst of times, we can make it the best of time by experiencing the Southern Highlands and discovering the art of reclaiming fascinating old wares.


Phone 02) 4861 3231
Instagram #dirtyjanes_bowral
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When: Trading hours: 10am to 5pm 7 days a week.
Where: 13 Banyette St, Bowral NSW 2576
Your Comment
The shop is a nostalgic walk through time.
by Neil Follett (score: 3|4476) 315 days ago
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