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Published August 21st 2022
Discovering ops shops and more in Mareeba
The rural town of Mareeba, set in the Atherton Tablelands in Far North Queensland, boasts of producing over 70 percent of Australia's coffee and growing delicious tropical fruit such as mango, lychee, star apple, bush cherry, and papaya. Aside from being a hub for the sprawling agricultural region, the town centre has a number of op shops and distinctive businesses and organisations worthy of a look-see. Here are some retail gems that I discovered on a recent visit:
Mareeba Heritage and Visitor Information Centre, 345 Byrnes Street Webpage: mareebaheritagecentre.com.au When you first arrive, drop in to the Mareeba Heritage Museum and Visitor Information Centre. Once the knowledgeable local staff give you maps and advice, you can spend at least an hour at the Heritage Museum which has a collection of aboriginal artefacts and displays on the early settlers and economic activities — from dairy farming, blacksmithing, and tobacco farming to typeset printing. There is no fee to visit the museum although donations are appreciated. The information centre has a small souvenir shop at the front and a rustic cafe out back.
Brahman bull statue outside the Heritage Museum and Information Centre. Image by writer.
Arts and Craft Centre, 345b Byrnes Street Webpage: mareebaartsociety.weebly.com
The centre is stocked with an amazing range of handmade crafts such as embroidered linen, quilts, silver jewellery, woven rattan baskets and ceramics, as well as paintings, gift cards, and polished stones. The business is run by volunteers of the Mareeba Art Society whose works are showcased at the centre.
Mareeba Historical Society, 345 Byrnes Street Webpage: mbahistsoc.org.au The self-funded historical society has preserved some of the early settler history of the area and is a valuable source of information for anyone doing genealogical and historical research. There are various displays including one on the 1921 Mount Mulligan mining disaster. The Society also sells second-hand books, magazines, and collectibles.
Headquarters of the Mareeba Historical Society, Centenary Park. Image by writer.
Coffee Works, 136 Mason Street Webpage: coffeeworks.com.au Savour some locally-grown coffee at the iconic Coffee Works cafe with its huge range of giftwares, chocolates, local teas and liqueurs. This family-run business had humble beginnings in 1988 with a stall selling coffee at Rusty's Markets in Cairns and now operates several outlets across Far North Queensland.
Coffee Works in Mareeba where you can sample local coffee and chocolates. Image by writer.
Rare Exotic Treasures, 18 Morrow Street Webpage: rareexotictreasures.com From one-of-a-kind wooden art pieces to gemstones and minerals, you might surprise yourself with what this home-based business has in store. The wooden tree trunk sculptures are exceptional Australian outback works of art, weathered and shaped by nature (sun, fire, insects, storms) and given a touch-up of varnish to highlight the beautiful colours of the wood. Other items that might be of interest are wooden plant pots, driftwood branches for reptile habitats or aquariums, and gems and minerals (eg malachite, azurite, quartzes, cooperite, aquamarine, tourmaline).
Naturally sculpted tree trunk from Rare Exotic Treasures. Image by writer.
Adventist Development & Relief Agency Op Shop, 9 Hort Street Webpage:www.facebook.com/mareebaadraopshop ADRA Op Shop is a small operation run by the Seventh Adventist Church and sells clothing, books and bric-a-brac.
The Seconds Shop, 68 Byrnes Street Webpage: animalrescuetablelandsinc.net A store filled with homewares, clothing, books, small electricals, leisure equipment, home decor, games, and furniture. This op shop is run by Animal Rescue Tablelands Inc, a private, volunteer-based charity that is a "no kill" animal rescue service.
Bargain books at The Seconds Shop. Image by writer.
Antiques etc (Laura Louise Vintage Collectables), 2/225 Byrnes Street Webpage: facebook.com/LauraLouiseVintageCollectables
A fascinating store chockfull with all things vintage — everything from nan's kitchenalia, to vinyl LP records, semi-precious jewels, decorative folk art, and items created in Victorian style, art deco, art nouveau, to mid-century.
Under Blue Skies Bookshop, 116 Byrnes Street Webpage: facebook.com/Under-Blue-Skies-Bookshop-Mareeba-105221875337749/
Mareeba's only dedicated bookstore with a range of genres including Australian authors, classics, children's, and more. Open from Wednesday and Thursday (9am-2.30pm), Friday (9am-2.30pm and 3.30-5pm) and Sat 9am-12pm. Unfortunately, I visited Mareeba on a day that the shop was closed.