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
Middlegate Norfolk Island