Changes are afoot in Fyshwick. If you’ve been around in Canberra a while, you may remember Fyshwick as being rather an industrial place, full of cars and hardware and building-type things (and yes, yes – those other things too).
But there’s a bit of a transformation taking place, and Fyshwick is becoming quite a little shopping hub as well, full of speciality and boutique businesses with gourmet delights, antiques, fashion and other delights abounding. Recently I wrote about ten excellent reasons to visit Fyshwick as a way to explain my Fyshwick-frequenting, but there’s heaps more – and the list is growing.
You just have to know where to go. So, isn’t it handy that a few enterprising individuals have joined forces and have made a lovely little map of some of the boutique establishments on offer? Unsurprisingly, it’s called Boutiques of Fyshwick. I suspect there will be another edition a little further on the track, because this place keeps transforming.
Here’s the lowdown on the first five members of #BoutiqueFyshwick.
If you love your food, you need to know about Urban Providore, and the whirlwind of Dawn who is behind it. Beginning life as a wholesaler of gourmet foods from regional producers across Australia, Urban Providore is now set up in Fyshwick to supply us normal folk as well, in store or online, which means you can buy the same things in smaller quantities. Things like relishes, and salad dressings and vinaigrettes, and spices, and even smoked black pepper, my friend’s fave. And did I mention the fudge? And then there’s a world of non-food foody-type items (they call them accoutrements), like cook books, and chopping boards, and garlic presses. (You should never underestimate the importance of a good garlic press in your life). And confession – I’ve got my eye on one of their hampers for Christmas. Life is definitely too short for bad food.
Take a few steps off Wollongong Street, follow the timber garden path at the end of a laneway, and a whole world of Chinese history, furniture and design will erupt before your eyes as you enter the Humble House Gallery. It’s actually enormous and full of wondrous things, like traditional cupboards, sideboards and tables (mahjong anyone?) as well as ceramics and lamps and decorator pieces with a difference. All Chinese. All restoration work is carried out in Beijing, where Roger is proud to tell you that workmanship is the highest priority and all work is handcrafted. Completely loving the timber grain measures that doubles as vases. And to top it off (literally), there’s a small museum of Chinese historic pieces on the top floor that’s well worth a visit in itself. This gallery has been a stalwart of Canberra business for 20 years, seven of those in Fyshwick. And it all sits quietly there at the end of the lane, just waiting to be discovered.
Have you ever wondered what to do with your mum’s wilting wedding dress you can’t bear to throw out or how to repair an old cracked vase with much sentimental value? The conservator folks at Endangered Heritage know all about those old things and how to preserve them or possibly fix them. There’s a whole team of experts, in fact, that know about textiles and papers and frame and storing and chemicals and all sorts of technical things. They even do disaster recovery, which sounds rather public-servantish in a town like Canberra but can actually help you save treasures that have been damaged by water or insects. Just when I’m trying to clear out cupboards, I have discovered someone who can help restore things instead!
Philosopher Thomas Aquinas warned us to ‘beware the man of a single book’. In that case, you don’t need to be wary of Luke and Laura Canty of Canty’s bookshop at all, because they’ve got thousands of them. Well over fifty thousand of them. And they’re stacked and piled and packed in and up, and they cover just about any topic you can think of. Mainly good quality second hand but with a great collection of new remaindered ones as well at good prices. I’m rather fond of the cooking section. I buy cooking books for my hubbie and he cooks things from it for me. Boom! It’s not a huge shop for the number of books it contains, but there is a Tardis inside.
Christmas is always coming in Fyshwick now that the Hang Up Framing Gallery has transformed itself into a year-long Christmas emporium as well. It’s like Santa’s workshop without the elves. There’s trees, and garlands and decorations, and of course snow globes. Who doesn’t love a snow globe? All your Christmases at once. And for those who insist on being bah-humbugs, you can always get your framing done or get your hanging sorted.
Watch out for Fyshwick, Canberra – it’s going through a bit of a rebirth. Who needs fireworks anyway when we’ve got Skyfire?