Consumerism Melbourne

The Temple of Crap

Among the antique shops (or approximations — the third was noted to have a Simpsons promotional book on sale… not quite fitting my definition of antique) we visited on Sunday was the Masonic temple in Newport. It’s too big to be merely a shop, and they sell all kinds of stuff, not just antiques, so I reckon it’s not so much an antique shop as a secondhand warehouse.

Justine (who is known to preside over a few old things herself in a professional capacity) dubbed it “The Temple of Crap.” It seemed a most suitable name, and I think if I ran the place, I’d get just such a sign made for it. It’s full of the kind of stuff that most people have sitting around their house, unused, and just wish they could get rid of it somewhere other than just chucking it in the bin. Old clothes, cutlery, crockery, furniture, records, you name it, if it was made before about 1960, they had it.

Okay, so undoubtedly this kind of stuff appeals to some people. I could see my mother hauling stuff away by the cartload — if she had the space for it. If you were looking for a specific thing, you might well find it in some place like this. Even, most appropriately, a Masonic apron.

But mostly it was exactly the kind of extraneous stuff I’m trying to get out of my house. Hmm, I wonder if they’d buy my superfluous crap?

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

3 replies on “The Temple of Crap”

I’m very surprised to read what you say about The Temple. Maybe you’ve never been in a place like that before. It’s not an antique shop at all; it’s collectables: everything from old wind-up gramophones to player pianos. art deco lamps (of which I own quite a few), cabinet radios, old clocks, and so on. And toys that your grandparents might have owned when they were children. There’s also a lot of very good furniture. And if you like unique design, good workmanship and solid timber (Tasmanian blackwood, for instance) you’d never buy modern stuff. I haven’t, anyway.
Things like a Simpson’s book aren’t out of place among collectables. You should take a look at the Chapel Street Bazaar, or the Camberwell Sunday market – which attracts thousands of people – to see just how popular collectables are. I’ve got a houseful of them, including a 1960’s poker machine – a one-armed bandit – which pays out a huge jackpot of $5.00.
There is some trash at The Temple, as you say, but most of it is hidden upstairs. And anyway, all collectable places have a bit of trash; it comes with the good stuff purchased from deceased estates, and from auction rooms. Surprisingly, it does get sold.
The collectables racket is very big business. But at the same time, you need to be interested in it for its own sake. There’s a lot to find out. I like going to places like The Temple just for a look; a little historical tour. It’s quite a wonder. Social history is what it all is. The past. And of course, anything old can become interesting. I’m hoping to end up that way myself.

They sell “kitchenalia” which is a cute word! And yes R.H., the Camberwell market is a great place to spend a sunday morning. I suspect it would be better place for bargains than the temple.

Yes, you’re right. The old dear running the Temple has a sweet personality, but when it comes to getting a discount she turns into Rupert Murdoch. The stallholders at Camberwell are very inclined to knock the price down, especially if it’s raining.

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