Rozelle Markets: Week 215

Vintage picnic photo from the Rozelle Markets: Sydney, Australia

I’m not the kind of person that glances over a rack of clothes and makes a quick decision. I’m the person that will go through the rack, one piece at a time, and rub each item’s material between my fingers. This is especially true for thrift stores.

Kitchenware demands to be picked up, flipped upside down, and inspected. Books require at least the first three pages to be read. Knickknacks need to be walked past, circled back around, and then contemplated for another minute. I can’t help myself; this is just the way I like to shop.

Vintage Avor Stone Ginger Beer bottle from the Rozelle Markets: Sydney, Australia

Because I was due to leave Australia within the next few weeks, I decided one of the last things I had to do was visit the Rozelle Markets. It is the best place in Sydney to find antiques. The booths are full of old bottles, coins, plates, ashtrays, vases, lamps, toys, clothes, and bric-a-brac.1947 Australia Penny from the Rozelle Markets: Sydney, Australia

My visit to the Rozelle Markets also coincided with ANZAC Day, which is a holiday that celebrates Australians and New Zealanders who have served and died in war and is especially associated with WWI. Because it is such a patriotic holiday, it seemed like a good day to pick up all things Australiana.

Vintage Australian stamps from the Rozelle Markets: Sydney, Australia

Unfortunately for my friend Emma, who had accompanied me on this trip, she was unfamiliar with my method of shopping.

My morning began within the worn pages of a stamp album. While the grumpy vendor slowly plucked out my favorite stamps one at a time, Emma had already looked through half of the stalls.

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

Shortly afterwards, I picked up a book from a famous Australian author- The Narrow Road to the Deep North. It had been on my book list for a while. After that I poked around overpriced teacups and then dug through cheap silverware.Vinatge Towradgi Park Bowling Club pin from the Rozelle Markets: Sydney, Australia

Two hours later, Emma found me browsing through bowling club pins. She’d already been around the market three times and had had a long conversation with her twin brother on the phone. “You’ve spent more time there today than when you lived in Rozelle,” he told her. Emma took this to mean that a lunch break was in order. We left the markets to find sushi and cider.

Vintage Halekulani Bowling Club pin from Rozelle Markets: Sydney, Australia

After lunch I convinced Emma to go back to the markets for a little bit longer. “I just want a quick look through the rest of the booths that I’d missed.” As soon as Emma was out of sight, I found a big pile of vintage photos and went through them one at a time.

Vintage soldier photo from the Rozelle Markets: Sydney, Australia

I wasn’t as sneaky as I thought I was though, Emma had seen me pick up the stack. Eventually I noticed Emma’s presence corralling me along. Aside from a quick stop at a bucket of vintage tea towels, I was artfully maneuvered towards the exit.

“You know, there’s usually more stalls than this,” Emma mused as we left the markets. I don’t believe I am wrong in thinking that was said with a sigh of relief.

Part of a vintage Lightning Ridge tea towel from the Rozelle Markets: Sydney, Australia

How to get to the Rozelle Markets: 663 Darling Street, Rozelle 2039

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Rouse Hill House & Farm: Week 151

Rouse Hill House and Farm: Australia

“Where’s the stupid turn?” I asked, sunblock sliding down my neck like gasoline floating off a freshly rained road. My collar bones weren’t going to match my face for long.

“Didn’t you draw a map?” Barret replied.

“Uh, yeah.”

I hadn’t; I also hadn’t brought water. “I think it’s just a little bit further.”

After another grueling series of rolling hills we stopped under the only patch of shade along the rural road. The sun beat down and heated up the cow patties like aromatherapy discs. I pulled my notebook out of my backpack and we re-read my directions. “Hmm…” Barret’s eyebrow cocked up. “We were supposed to turn at that intersection back there.”

When Barret and I finally arrived we were drenched in sweat. It was worth it though- the historic home was a true country escape.

Since the early 1800s, the Rouse Hill House and Farm had been continuously lived in until the sixth generation owners moved out in 1993. The reason the house is so special is because, “chairs from the 1840s sit beside textiles from the 1950s, grand tour paintings sit above mantelpieces crowded with photographs and mementos, and a 1960s television sits in a room whose walls were papered half a century earlier.”

Interior of Rouse Hill House and Farm: Australia

Considering my nasty habit of breaking antiques (with feather dusters of all things!), I was impressed at the way the Rouse’s had preserved their heirlooms.

Although the family was riding high during the 1800s, by the time the fifth generation had come into stewardship there had been an economic depression and fortunes had been squandered (twice). By the early 1930s there were only two major heirs to the estate: Nina and her sister Kathleen. However, Nina became the sole trustee after her sister was murdered under mysterious circumstances in Manchuria while rendezvousing with her Latvian lover. This sent the gossip circles into a tizzy.

Nina remained the trustee until her death in 1963. Because she was not wealthy (at least by previous standards), she never remodeled or updated her furniture. In fact, during her later years Nina began to recognize the historic value of the property and it was her son Gerald, the last occupant, who gave the property over to the NSW government.

Interior of Rouse Hill House and Farm: Australia

Thankfully it was a lot easier to ride back to the train station. Barret and I coasted downhill past sleepy red brick homes with scorched yards, past small shops with bad fonts, past the ubiquitous Chinese restaurant in every rural town, and onto the train station platform.

The station was empty except for a mother her son sitting on a wood bench. Five minutes before the train arrived, three men crossed the tracks on horseback. Clip clop clip clop. The sound of the hooves faded down the main street. I didn’t think that a town connected to the Sydney metro could be so country, but I was wrong. Maybe time just runs slower in Rouse Hill.

Stable at Rouse Hill House and Farm: Australia

How to get to Rouse Hill House and Farm: 356 Annangrove Road, Rouse Hill NSW 2155

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