Ballarat Winter Antique Fair 2010: Goldrush Edition

July 11, 2010

Ballarat Winter Antique Fair 2010

Treasure Within?

Normally, I’d say it was the ‘Spoils of War’ post antique fair, but as this particular one was opposite the Sovereign Hill goldrush recreation site, I’ll settle for this. Forgive a man his little quirks!

On this cold, yet particularly cloudless and rather sublime Sunday morning, I took it upon myself to voyage into the wilds of a new antique fair (the second in as many weeks! Welcome back, antiques in Victoria, Australia). Not knowing how I would fare at the fair, I came prepared to scoff at its tiny size and chortle at its trying to lay claim to the same area as one of the best antique fairs in Melbourne. Sure, at the other Ballarat Antique Fair you have to dress in combat gear for all the octogenarians battling you for simply existing, but they do have an impressive array of dealers willing to hawk you some delightful pieces. Would this one stack up?

Yes. Yes, it did. In fact, it’s one of the best fairs I’ve been to since Bendigo. Why? Read on!

Firstly, the fair was instigated by Alexa’s Treasures of Ballarat and they certainly did a fab job. Old Hayden enjoys his antique fairs, so in I went.

And yes, it was just lovely. There were dealers I hadn’t ever seen before and dealers that I had grown up with. I’ve been on the prowl for some jet lately, but let’s do the usual run down of the event:


Directions, directions, directions. Next year, please have some (or any) sign telling me where the venue was. If it wasn’t for my iPhone (no, I’m not sponsored by Apple, I’m just an iWhore), I would have been lost. There was a fair at the Ballarat Showgrounds for collectables according to the signs, but that didn’t do much to help me out on this case. I took two wrong turns until the spotty mobile coverage gave me an accurate point where the location was on the phone, I guess it serves me right for forgetting the invitation and arrogantly stating that ‘print is dead’.

Was the venue any good? Yep, it was delightful, warm (from the frosty temperatures of Ballarat), easy to find a park, not crowded and gave the dealers lots of room to showcase their wares. Simply lovely.

Spoils of War (Goldrush or Jetrush?)

Well, I really wanted to buy some jet today. I’ve been very disappointed on what’s available and what people refer to as Jet, but turns out to be Vulcanite or some other mock Jet, but I left the event with a smile on my face. That said, I did buy a box full of French Jet beading cut from Victorian dresses, but was far more satisfied with two genuine Jet and silk fob chains that I landed. My tremendous apologies to the seller, whose name I have forgotten, but even greater apologies as you remembered me quite well enough for that silver mourning brooch I bought from you some time ago and I had no idea it was you I bought it from. I guess my blonde roots are showing. Nevertheless, come back to the Williamstown Antique Fair next weekend and I’ll throw more money at you.

In an unrelated note, there was an 1884 edition of Poe’s The Raven that was fully illustrated by Gustave Doré and completely stunning. Graham, if you still have this at the time of my writing – expect my call for you to put it aside.

1884 Gustave Doré illustrated Poe

So, why no pics of those little fob chains I bought? I’ll do a special spotlight on those later on the blog, they’re too lovely to gloss over here.


An entire success for everyone involved. A great mix of dealers, some amazing items on display that I’d never seen before and a venue that kept me warm and shove-free. Just lovely all over, but I do feel that upon talking with dealers that more could have been done to publicise the event and get the word out about how great it was. Considering the Avoca Antique Fair from a couple of weeks ago had very good television presence and was quite fun and decent, this was really impressive and deserved the same, if not more.

Melbourne is at the peak of the antique fair season and hopefully it doesn’t reach a glut as it did back in the late 90s, which would see several years of little movement or Sydney having all the glory. That makes me think of a story about a year with no fairs in Melbourne, but on a misadventure holiday to Queensland stumbling upon all my familiar dealers and one of the largest fairs I’ve ever seen in a place I’d not expect that caused even greater misadventure. If you care, remind me about it later in the month, it’s a good story (I think).

More antique stories to come and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter for live updates from the floor of all these antique fairs!

Buy me these and I'll be your live-in mourning encyclopedia

3 Responses to “Ballarat Winter Antique Fair 2010: Goldrush Edition”

  1. S Says:

    I’m glad you had such a good time, and I’m looking forward to seeing those fobs! As for that illustrated copy of The Raven, what treasure! Wish it were mine…the cover image is so beautiful it breaks my heart, and the poem itself was the first piece of literature to move me to tears.

    Well, I’m crossing my fingers that you get it. If so, please share the pages with us. What could have more to do with mourning?

  2. Sarah Says:

    You didn’t snatch up that copy of the Raven?? What could have you been thinking??
    Watch out or I’ll track down who had it and call him first so it can be MINE!
    Just gorgeous!

    Thanks, Hayden!
    Oh, and I’d follow you on Twitter if I knew how to use it 😦

  3. […] who read my blog last year heard of it being crowded and rather violent (yours truly found himself being assaulted by senior ladies, including a solid punch to the kidneys a…), however this year it was rather a lean crowd, but one to accommodate the venue well. One could […]

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