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Norf’k Island Life – Never Underestimate an Op Shop

At some stage, most people visiting Norfolk Island end up at ‘Sweeties’, an old fashioned lolly shop and chocolate maker strategically situated opposite the primary and high school. After you have a laugh at the aptly named Cow Patties, Steaming Cow Patties (with chilli) and the NI Traffic Controller (a cow), buy a Hokey Pokey ice cream and walk on another 50m to the only Op Shop on the island.

For those of us used to charity shops packed to the rafters with the excess of mass consumerism, this sparse little shop is a reflection of island life. Even the cheapest products costs a motza to import and once purchased, are held on to. There were a few racks of clothes and linen, a small selection of books and a modest assortment of kitchen paraphernalia.  

These days I rarely buy souvenirs of trips and travels, preferring instead the spend my money on experiences or, yes, meals. I will however buy a souvenir of a place I have previously visited, if I find one that takes my fancy in an op shop. In amongst the odds and ends of this tiny op shop, I found a gem. A souvenir scarf of Florida. Florida brings back memories of escaping the coldest winter on record in Europe for 10 days of warmth, tropical waters, Art Deco buildings and a street party in Little Havana. It was a holiday within a holiday. Printed in holiday brights with a festive scattering of flamingoes, this scarf recalls a pre-Disney Florida. It was also made prior to the Space Race with Cape Canaveral still known as Orlando Air Force Base. Who’d have thought a decorative souvenir could be such a window on the past? We’ll never know the story about how this scarf landed on the tropical paradise of NI, a very, very long way from the tropical paradise of Florida but it was sure to have been an interesting journey.



Still in fantastic nick, the scarf set me back a grand total of $1 plus a donation of two books to the shop.

The op shop is run by the Uniting Church and is open for a few hours each weekday. Tourist Information will be able to tell you the current opening times.

Norfolk Island Op Shop
Cascade Rd
Middlegate  Norfolk Island

8 comments… add one
  • Francesca May 27, 2014, 5:56 pm

    How much do I love that scarf, let me count the ways! As an obsessive frequenter of oppies, you did well. As my dear friend is inclined to say, after finding such treasure, “Well Spotted”.

    • Fiona Ryan May 27, 2014, 9:51 pm

      Thanks so much Francesca. I have quite a collection of scarves, many of which were picked up in a job lot from an op shop in Bundaberg. Good times. Good times…

  • Lizzy (Good Things) May 28, 2014, 8:49 am

    What a delicious find, Fiona! I love op shopping! Have you ever been to The Green Shed in Mitchell? My god the stuff has been good there lately… not so many clothes but loads of everything else!

    • Fiona Ryan May 28, 2014, 6:03 pm

      No Liz, I’ve never been. Never even heard of it. The days of off the peg op shop finds have been left behind in the 80’s/90’s with my slimmer figure. I’m more an accessories and homeware kind of gal these days!

  • Shirley @edible_press May 29, 2014, 12:30 pm

    Oooh, you *know* I love a good oppie! I think there are slim pickings in city oppies these days, sadly. I am always on the look out for nintage kitchen goodies, china and cookbooks. And linens. Love linens!

    • Fiona Ryan May 29, 2014, 7:16 pm

      I agree Shirley. The city is shopped out. The country is where it’s at. What will the US hold for me?

  • Tandy | Lavender and Lime May 29, 2014, 5:52 pm

    I want some Hokey Pokey ice cream! If I were witty enough I would think of an apt song line to go with that 🙂

    • Fiona Ryan May 29, 2014, 7:14 pm

      Ha ha! I don’t know if you know this Tandy but Hokey Pokey icecream is a NZ institution as all food is shipped from NZ, it has found an outpost on NI.

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