Retro is the new recycling

Everything old is new again as retro shoppers reuse and recycle, reports LAURA EDWARDS.

RETRO has had a “resurgence” in Canberra, says antique dealer Irina McKillop.

For more than 20 years, McKillop has been collecting furniture and jewellery dating back to the 1950s for her Kaleen-based antique and collectables store, Ritzy Bits, and says business is booming more than ever.

“A big part of the thinking behind retro shoppers is reuse and recycle – they’ll say, ‘why should we go and spend more resources on new furniture, for example, when a unique, old piece of furniture can be rejuvenated?’” she says.

In March, local vintage junkies will get their fix at Retro Depot in Kingston’s Old Bus Depot Markets, where McKillop will be one of at least 160 stallholders.

It’s a fitting location for the event, given the 1940s-era depot has recently had a resurgence of its own, with $2m spent on renovations.

Market director Diane Hinds says the Retro Depot, now in its second year, is set to be a “rummager’s dream” for everything from vintage fashion and accessories, upcycled furniture and homewares.

“Last year we had over 10,000 people pass through the doors, and we are expecting a continuing interest in all things retro,” she says.

“People might find a Fler sofa or a George Nelson clock. It’s all about taking you back to your favourite era and bringing some delicious retro vibes back into your life.”

McKillop says people often get “more bang for their buck” purchasing retro pieces.

“Particularly in furniture – the sturdy, hand-crafted pieces from a post-war era just can’t compare to the fragile, plastic furniture of today,” she says.

“Furniture designed 50 years ago was made to last – they used better quality materials with better construction methods.”

Self-confessed “mid-century mad” Geordie Ferguson, who owns a local upholstery business, will be selling restored and mid-century furniture at the depot as well as classic bikes dating back to the 1960s.

He says Canberrans have a keen eye for nostalgia-infused goods.

“I think it’s the simplicity of that time that really appeals to people – in particular, new bikes today are all very aggressive and dynamic – so there’s almost a romance about the older styles… they’ve become the bikes everyone wants to take to cafes,” he says.

Retro Depot, Sunday, March 16, 10am-4pm. Entry is free. More information at

Models Brittany Bell and Mikayla Thomas pictured at the Old Bus Depot Markets.

Photos by Gary Schafer.

Hair and make-up by Sara Vartuli, of Hair Flair, Dickson.

Car, 1959 Holden FC provided by Librarian Chic






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