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An annual paradise for hunters and collectors
It's on once again; one of the biggest and best antique fairs in Australia. This mega event is on every year, usually on the Australia Day weekend. For opening dates and times see below. Fryerstown is a small community minded hamlet south of Castlemaine in Victoria.
Something cute perhaps? It's all here at the Fair. Image by Out and About.
This event covers a large area mostly outdoors under the gum trees. With over 150 stalls of dealers from many States who bring a wide range of goods for sale. Items include; old furniture, rustic farm finds, industrial fittings, household goods and kitchen items, dining ware such as china and glassware, cutlery, light fittings, clocks, military items, kerosene lamps, books and comics, ephemera, pictures, and the list goes on.
Kitchen gadgets and tools from the olden days. Image by Out and About
Dealers set up pop up shops for the event with large tents and trestle tables laden with everything old. There is everything here from fine antiques and glassware, to rustic old farm relics. As they say, there is something for everyone. The event started over 40 years ago with a small market with some antiques for sale and has grown to be one of the best antiques and collectables fairs in the country.
Some dealers set up there pop up shop indoors at the Mechanics Institute Hall. The majority of sites are outdoors. Image by Out and About.
Visitors travel from all over Victoria and interstate to attend the event. For some die hard collectors, it is an annual pilgrimage on the treasure seeking events schedule for the year.
All sorts of vintage wares such as from the 1950's, 1960''s and 1970's are here such as; vintage clothing, hats, linen, bedding, fabric, curtains, funky plastic ware, kitsch ornaments and china items, lighting and small pieces of furniture of the era.
A selection of glassware, silverware and china from one stall at the Fair. Image by Out and About.
Fryerstown is a heritage area of the goldfields diggings and is now a small village with no shops, fuel or any services. There is mobile phone reception. Access is via Chewton which has the last fuel stop. The village is 11 kilometres off the main road at Chewton. Turn at the signs at the oval. Another entry point is from the west, via Guildford and Vaughn. Visitors from Ballarat or Daylesford direction would find this route easier.
Some people may be hesitant to visit during bush fire season, however there is a CFS station at the village and the place is well protected. In the event of fires too close then a sign will be placed on the main roads advising the event is closed for the day.
The CFS members run a BBQ breakfast each morning to raise funds for their local branch. Other food available from the hall canteen includes; sandwiches, fruit salad, cake, cool drinks and more. Limited diabetic and gluten free choices are available.There is a coffee tent and an ice-cream van. It may pay to bring some of your own food in an esky, especially if you have family, and bring plenty of cool water.
You will also need a hat, and enclosed shoes suitable for lots of walking. Some tracks are a little rocky and there is a lot of dust. This event is not really suitable for very young children or those not too mobile as the area is large and there is a lot of sites to cover, some on uneven ground. There is limited seating at the fair, so if you need a rest it is best to take a break near your car and bring some camp chairs. Many people enjoy a picnic lunch under the gum trees.
Retro and vintage wares for sale at the Fryerstown Antique Fair. Image by Out and About.
Another food alternative is provided by the Old Schoolhouse on the hill above the fair. This is run as a not for profit venture by the community who have restored the Old Schoolhouse. They have special morning and afternoon teas, and sustaining fresh lunches such as salad and quiche. This is served indoors at the Schoolhouse at tables and chairs. This is a short hike up a steep driveway.
Another tip for an enjoyable day is to bring enough cash. There is no ATM facilities here and the dealers would appreciate you bringing small notes and your own shopping bags. A first aid tent is available for customers.
Plenty of pop up tents to explore for that illusive treasure. Image by Out and About.
For 2016 The Fryerstown Antique Fair will run for five days. The main event is on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There are also two early bird days, with a higher entry cost. This year they are on the Wednesday 20th and Thursday 21st. However, many dealers are still setting up on the early days, and most who are coming from Melbourne only come on the Thursday late afternoon. If you want the best selection then come early on Friday. There is no fair day this year on the Monday as there is no public holiday on this day.
Accommodation is usually booked out in advance in nearby Castlemaine. You will need to stay at other nearby towns if you want to make a weekend escape to the area. If you love old things, this is an event not to be missed.