Now before I launch into the content of this post, let me explain the title.
Newy refers to Newcastle, the regional city in New South Wales two hours north of Sydney which I called home between September 2011 and January 2013. Op Shop is short for Opportunity Shop, and for the purpose of this article, refers to stores also known as second-hand, thrift, charity, “vintage” or even “antique.”
Newcastle was originally a city of heavy industry and its port still sees the export of more coal than any other in the world. However since experiencing a devastating earthquake in 1989 along with economic downturns in the 1970s and 1990s, the city has been in decline.
As a city past her heyday with a depleted population, this city is a haven for Op Shopping.
For us, moving from an one bedroom apartment in Sydney to a three bedroom house in Newcastle meant there was plenty of room for new acquisitions. Today I’ll share with you some of the second-hand gems I’ve picked up and where they came from.
This little beauty came from Hunter Animal Watch on Beaumont St, Hamilton. (Hunter is the name of the region Newcastle is in, and is most strongly associated with the famous vineyards of the Hunter Valley.) They also sell a variety of homemade products like preserves and crocheted blankets, and provide discounted sterilisation for pensioner’s pets. While waiting to buy my jug, I overheard the arrangements for a chihuahua called Hitler to be neutered. Sounds like a good idea to me!
These were picked up from a car-boot sale which occurs every Saturday and Sunday from 8:30am to 2pm at 50 Clyde St, Hamilton North. There is a lot of trash, which makes hidden treasures all the more precious. I love the glasses’ contours and colours, and the fact that they seem to be channeling the Backstreet Boys in this photo!
This retro little milk-and-sugar set was picked up from an antique shop at 65 Cessnock Rd, Weston, on the way from Newcastle to the afore mentioned Hunter Valley. Weston is almost a ghost town, and despite being close to the Hunter Valley, shares none of its glamour. You can buy a whole pub there for less than the cost of a two bedroom flat in Sydney.
This chair was picked up from a second-hand shop in the same complex as the car-boot sale in Hamilton North. There are a selection of large Op Shops in the complex, making it a worthwhile visit. This chair was found sitting front on the grass, covered in dust and sporting the attractive price-tag of five dollars. It seemed the shop owner preferred to practically give it away rather than clean it. Although our kitten has claimed it as his scratching post, it’s still the best fiver I’ve ever spent. (Have you seen what they charge for cat toys these days?)
These two arm chairs were bought, along with a three-seater sofa, from our local Salvos. You will find charity shops run by the Salvation Army all over Australia’s east coast and this one on Hunter Street, Newcastle specialises in furniture. Although these two chairs are nothing special, you can find treasures there, and as with the car-boot sale, there’s nothing more satisfying than uncovering a diamond in the rough. The purple ottoman also came from the Hamilton North car-boot sale and it matches the lamp inherited from my grandmother perfectly.
Although not strictly an op-shop purchase, I couldn’t resist including this one. It’s my scavenger’s pièce de résistance. Shortly after moving to Newcastle the council held its yearly collection of old furniture and rubbish. About a week before the clean-up, people started placing unwanted things on the footpath and for the likes of me, it was a veritable smorgasboard. This sideboard was poached from across the road, but however I’ve seen some similar ones at Salvos and one of the shops at Clyde Street Hamilton North specialising in retro finds. Unfortunately the yearly collection has been replaced by an “on-demand” service for residents, but you may still find gems like these illegally left out on the kerb.
50 Clyde St, Hamilton North
65 Cessnock Rd, Weston
Hunter Street, Newcastle