THE MARKET THAT TRANSFORMS A TOWN
It may be a small community, but one day a month Violet Town swells with a sea of faces in the market for fun and countr y hospitality.
VIOLET Town’s Kerry Wilson laughed as she recalled the early days of setting up for the Violet Town Market.
She chuckled and explained how members of the original committee would cleverly collect the many trestle tables for stallholders the day prior, leaving them just over the wall of the Violet Town Hotel.
“The next day on the morning of the market they would throw the trestle tables over the fence and set them up for the day,” she said.
Kerry had been the secretary of the Honeysuckle Community Centre (now Violet Town Action Group) when the market began in 1978.
She said the committee had looked at offering different things to the community and decided a market would be great for the township.
Now packed with over 200 stalls on the second Saturday of every month, the vibrant market has become Violet Town’s claim to fame, and arguably one of the most popular in Victoria’s North East.
Nestled just off the Hume Highway on Honeysuckle Creek, the small community with a population of 1084 accommodates thousands more on market day, with stallholders travelling from as far as three hours away to sell their goods.
Current market co- ordinator Carolena Helderman, who has been in the position for around a year, said it was incredible a town the size of Violet Town could support a market of its kind.
She, along with committee chairperson Kate Stothers’ ( pictured right) tales of market preparation today, juxtaposed against times of yesteryear, demonstrated why the market has gone from strength to strength, taking the community along with it.
“From my point of view, I thought the handing on of jobs helped the market’s success,” Kerry said.
Kate and Carolena explained that much of their work since coming on board had involved getting policies up to scratch as well as making big changes to the market’s social media, advertising and branding.
“We’ve got a local who’s designed a shed in the style of our new logo and who hopes to put it in his paddock facing the Hume,” said Kate.
“The market has a history and reputation and it’s a matter of what we put on top of that.”
Carolena said the feedback she had received from stallholders was that with so many markets, it had become a struggling environment.
“But they always seem to report that Violet Town has the crowds,” she said.
The ladies discussed striking the correct balance between stallholders; finding both locals and those from away as well as an array of different products. “It can be quite tricky to strike a balance,” Carolena said. Kerry, who has also run her Kerry Coffee stall at the market for the last 16 years, said Carolena and the current committee members had done a great job in taking notice of the stallholder demographic.
“They’ve gone to other markets to see what we can get,” she said.
Kerry said the market had also improved the trade for many local businesses on market day.
She said the benefits of employment were vast after the introduction of a paid market co- ordinator salary.
“Monies raised by the market have also funded the Men’s Shed co- ordinator salary and there had been an increase of casual work positions for locals in Violet Town Hotel, Violet Town Cafe, and the supermarket,” she said.
Having also completed the tin-rattle schedule for the next two years, several community groups have and will benefit from the crowds swarming to Violet Town on market day.
And with around 18-20 volunteers still contributing their time to the market it is clear it is an asset to the township and its people.
FAMILIAR FACE / Wellknown Ruffy identity Taffy is a regular at the Violet Town Market. He sells homemade wood and iron objects and was recently featured on the market’s new television advert.
QUIET AND QUAINT / Violet Town’s wide streets, which become a thriving centre on market days.