I'm a Victorian freelance writer & photographer living in the Macedon Ranges north of Melbourne.
Goldfields Antiques and Collectibles
There can be few places in Australia more suited to hosting an antiques fair than Fryerstown in Victoria's central goldfields region.
Fryerstown was once a bustling gold mining settlement with a population of more than 15,000 and boasting 25 hotels, 5 breweries and more than 200 homes.
In the 1850's & 60's crowds flocked to Fryerstown in search of gold. In 1853 some 15.9 tonnes of it was transported from Fryerstown to Castlemaine and in 1855 the HERON nugget found nearby weighed in at 29 Kilograms.
Fryerstown's most noticeable feature is the engine-house from the old Duke of Cornwall mine
These days the crowds come looking for other riches every Australia Day at the Fryerstown Antique Fair.
The 2014 fair, to be held over the weekend of January 26th – 28th, is the 39th annual staging of an event which has grown enormously in stature over the years and now draws buyers and sellers from all over Australia.
The Burke & Wills Memorial Hall is at the centre of the annual Fryerstown Antiques Fair
If you're in the market for antiques, Australiana, collectibles, furniture & kitchenware or all manner of odds & ends then Fryerstown is the place for you. This where a lot of dealers get their stock from so get there and cut out the middleman.
Much of the activity of the fair will take place in or near the Fryerstown Mechanics Institute, built in 1863 to commemorate the tragic loss of the Burke & Wills expedition.
While you're in town take the opportunity to check out some of Fryerstown's other remaining historic features.
The most obvious is the nearby engine-house of the duke of Cornwall Mine. This once housed a 75 HP steam engine to drive the batteries but, as impressive as the engine-house is and despite the considerable sums of money invested the Duke of Cornwall was not a very successful venture.
The earliest cottage remaining in the town, at the cross-roads, dates from 1854. Cross the bridge over Fryers Creek and the private house there was the former Court House built around 1880. The trees between here and the Mechanics Institute hall were used by police to chain prisoners to before the first log gaol was built in 1858.
But let's not forget you're here for the antiques & collectibles so here are some tips for those new at the game.
• Get there early - those in the know will.
• Take cash.
• Be prepared to haggle.
And don't forget, if a particular piece really takes your fancy keep it to yourself. Don't let your excitement give your intentions away.