Gayle is a retired accountant and a photography enthusiast living on Victoria's beautiful Bass Coast. Gayle is passionate about writing and keen to showcase Aussie culture to a global audience. Gayle loves her family, dogs, sunsets, and chocolate.
Published January 9th 2016
It's not a Shopping Trip, It's a Treasure Hunt
Wonthaggi Op Shopper's Paradise
Op shopping is like treasure hunting, there's no telling what you'll find on the shelves from one day to the next. Some bargain priced item, some trinket to fall in love with, or something from the past to tickle awake those sleeping memories.
It's on my list of fun things to do so imagine my delighted surprise when I found not one but six op shops in Wonthaggi, and five within walking distance of each other. The five are scattered through Wonthaggi's shopping district and are surrounded by eateries and coffee lounges. These eclectic, volunteer staffed shops raise funds for charity and provide bargain basement goods for both the needy and the astute treasure hunter.
Accessorise at Save the Pets (Photo by Save the Pets from their Facebook Page)
Wonthaggi, an ideal day trip from Melbourne, is in Victoria's beautiful Bass Coast, an easy hour and 40 minutes from Melbourne's CBD and just over an hour from Melbourne's south-east suburbs. The scenic beaches of Kilcunda, Cape Patterson and Inverloch are but minutes away by car and Phillip Island is a mere half hour. For more details go to the Visit Bass Coast website.
Rose Lodge Opportunity Shop is a narrow shop in a quaint old building. The door is set back from the footpath so you can stand quietly and take in all the three display windows have to offer. The volunteers change the window displays regularly. To the left and the front you might see all manner of things, at one time a large teddy and a small pink rocking horse, at another a picnic set, a selection of handbags, beautiful blouses hung from the ceiling. There are almost always lovely knitted baby clothes in the front window.
The Professional Window Display at Rose Lodge Opportunity Shop (Photo Copyright Gayle Beveridge)
The window to your left presents like a jewellery and gift store. Necklaces are draped around professional neckline displays. Cut glass vases and plates, delicate wine glasses, dainty ornaments and tea sets are skilfully displayed on tiered shelves. At one end you will find 'Antique Corner' where the goods are precious and yet still a bargain price. Part of this window display is set aside as a notice board.
The Rose Lodge Opportunity Shop (Photo Copyright Gayle Beveridge)
Inside the shop is divided along the centre by racks of clothes. There are shoes and accessories to be had and scattered about are varying trinkets and treasures.
The shop, staffed entirely by volunteers, was established in 1961. It raises money for Rose Lodge which provides accommodation for the elderly in a 70 bed hostel and 20 independent living units. According to an article in the South Gippsland Sentinel-Times in June of 2014, the op shop had raised in excess of $1million for Rose Lodge.
Knitted Baby Clothes at Rose Lodge Opportunity Shop (Photo Copyright Gayle Beveridge)
Where: Rose Lodge Opportunity Shop is at 42-44 McBride Avenue, Wonthaggi.
When: The op shop is open from 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 12pm on Saturdays. It is likely to be closed on public holidays.
Save the Pets
The variety of goods in the Save the Pets Op Shop has to be seen to be believed. As you walk to the door look at the window to your left where furniture is usually displayed; perhaps a lounge suite, perhaps a bed or even a piano organ.
Save the Pets Displaying Furniture (Photo Copyright Gayle Beveridge)
Sometimes a lady sits inside making lovely costume jewellery and dishing out smiles. There is a pet budgie behind the counter and dogs are allowed in the shop as long as they are on leads.
There is a bargain table at the centre of the shop with an absolute mish-mash or items. Racks of clothes are roughly ordered by size and there are fitting rooms. On a shelf just past the counter is a selection of homemade chutneys. A set of shelves displays a generous selection of blankets, sheets, doonas, and baby bedding. Allow some time to forage through books, DVD's, CD's, crockery, cutlery, magazines, ornaments, prints and wall hangings, hats, costume jewellery, lamps, magazines, and shoes.
Manchester at Save the Pets (Photo by Save the Pets from their Facebook Page)
Where: Save the Pets is located at 62-64 McBride Avenue, Wonthaggi.
When: The op shop is open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 4pm on Saturdays. It is also open on Sunday Market Days which are the second Sunday of every month. It is likely to be closed on public holidays so ring to check before visiting.
Telephone: The shop can be contacted on (03) 5672 3689
Lifeline is the smallest of the Wonthaggi op shops but there is a point of difference here. Behind the plastic bargain tubs that sit on the front ledge, the bottom of the window display is always decorated. They had the bee knees of op shop Christmas windows and now there is a nautical theme with netting, driftwood, and shells.
LIfeline Op Shop's Nautical Window Display (Photo Copyright Gayle Beveridge)
Lifeline has a generous supply of knitting needles, balls of wool and a collection of dress patterns for the home seamstress. I have not noticed these stocked in any of the other op shops. They also have an extensive selection of jigsaws. Along with bric-a-brac you will discover shoes, handbags, books, clothes, magazines, cutlery, and prints.
Lifeline Gippsland's Corner Op Shop (Photo Copyright Gayle Beveridge)
The shop raises funds for Lifeline Gippsland. Aside from its well know 24 hour telephone crisis support, Lifeline Gippsland runs a Suicide Prevention and Support Program, a Care Call Program and co-ordinates emergency response volunteers.
Where: Lifeline Gippsland Shop is located at 175 Graham Street, Wonthaggi.
When: The op shop is open from 9.30am to 4.15pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays. It is likely to be closed on public holidays so ring to check before visiting.
Telephone: The shop can be contacted on (03) 5672 5092.
Paws Galore Thrift Shop
The first thing you notice about Paws Galore Thrift Shop is its colourful sign; that and the furniture stacked out the front. Just opposite the secondary college and around the corner from the shops, Paws Galore seems to carry larger items. When I last visited there was a couch and chairs stacked outside, a cot, some strollers, a high chair and a kitchen table and chairs.
Paws Galore Raising Funds for South Gippsland Animal Aid (Photo Copyright Gayle Beveridge)
Inside some of the displays are a little cluttered but there is so much here. Search through jig saws and toys, ornaments and glassware, clothes, and shoes, shoes, shoes. There are more CD's here than I noticed in the other op shops, and books and DVD's line high shelves.
Paws Galore raises funds for South Gippsland Animal Aid, a group dedicated to saving, desexing and rehoming unwanted animals. South Gippsland Animal Aid does not have a euthanise policy and all animals are kept in care until a suitable home is found.
Where: Paws Galore is located at 74A Watt Street, Wonthaggi.
When: The op shop is open from 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 4pm on Saturdays. It is likely to be closed on public holidays so ring to check before visiting.
Telephone: The shop can be contacted on (03) 5672 3948 or 0438 680 261.
Walking into Vinnies is like stepping into a department store. Everything is sorted, set out and labelled. Old is treated like new with respect and dignity. Step through the double glass doors to crockery and kitchen wares on the right and gifts on the left. Gifts are arranged so beautifully on shelves you could be excused for forgetting they are preloved until you read the incredibly low price tags.
The Large Vinnies Op Shop at Wonthaggi (Photo Copyright Gayle Beveridge)
Walk back through racks of well labelled and sorted women's clothes, past DVD's to children's and men's wear. Pause at the shelves of shoes before stepping down a wheelchair friendly ramp. To the left are tall shelves packed tight with books, displayed as if in a library. Move on to toys and then to Manchester at the back of the shop where blankets, sheets and doonas are packed in plastic and stacked in box like shelves.
The Large Vinnies Op Shop at Wonthaggi (Photo Copyright Gayle Beveridge)
Vinnies is the trading name of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. The Society began in Paris in the 1830's and operates around the world. In Australia over 40,000 workers and volunteers assist people in need and work to combat social injustice. The Wonthaggi op shop is only one of 650 around Australia. Vinnies offer more than 40 services; aged care, disaster recovery, mobile food services, youth programs, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, and hospital visitations to name but a few.
Kitchenware and Gifts at Vinnies (Photot Copyright Gayle Beveridge)
Yes a well known haunt old thaggi, most holiday makers come into thaggi as it has large supermarkets like woolies and aldi for their shopping needs and those in the know will go round to each of those op shops and check them out.
And these op shops are pretty reasonable, compared to prices now charged in melbourne.
I am a lover of OP SHOPS, BARGAINS, AND THE COAST.
You must go.....I have been going to Wonthaggi for years as family live on the coast. Spent the last four days there and discovered I certainly haven't seen everything. I think there is FIVE OPS IN WONNY...and so much more to see and do.
You must - go for coffee at State Coal Mine Wonthaggi, KIDS WILL LOVE IT TO. Hicksborough Store Wonthaggi...quaint quiet coffee and cakes.
I too have discovered the ops, and once again picked up some awesome bargains. St Vincent's is probably my favourite the staff are very friendly, the shop is immaculate and just wait till you see all the amazing bargains.
ENJOY THE COAST LJB