Turn over a new leaf

By­gone book­stores, bespoke blades and best-qual­ity botan­i­cals

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - CHRIS­TINE MCCABE THE CUT­LER’S COT­TAGE, HAH­N­DORF AP­TOS CRUZ GAL­LERIES, STIR­LING UP­STAIRS DOWN­STAIRS, NAIRNE MATILDA BOOK­SHOP, STIR­LING PONY, CHARLESTON STU­DIO D, VER­DUN

Se­questered at the rear of a tiny, 19th­cen­tury cot­tage on Hah­n­dorf’s his­toric high street, Nathan Roen­n­feldt crafts bespoke knives, fits han­dles fash­ioned from re­cy­cled Aus­tralian tim­ber to Ja­panese-made blades and sharp­ens your kitchen’s best while you wait, or even your se­ca­teurs ( cru­cial in the Hills, where gar­den­ing is a com­pet­i­tive sport). Out front, mum Lyn over­sees a col­lec­tion of knives that would make any MasterChef wannabe swoon: ser­ried ranks of Kanet­sune, Messer­meis­ter, Wusthof and Opinel are crammed into a shopfront not much larger than a kitchen cup­board. Then there are butcher’s knives, pe­tite mush­room­ing knives, fish­ing knives, di­a­mond-dusted whet­stones and end-grain chop­ping blocks. Restora­tion work is avail­able, but there’s a six-month wait­ing list for bespoke knives. More: the­cut­ler­scot­tage.com.au. Long the Hills’ most stylish re­tail bolt­hole, Ap­tos Cruz spreads con­tem­po­rary fur­ni­ture and home­wares, tribal art and jewellery, ori­en­tal an­tiques, and de­sign and art books across three lev­els in a hand­some 1860s sand­stone church tucked be­neath tow­er­ing trees on the main drag leav­ing Stir­ling. Hours can be spent ex­plor­ing weighty art tomes and objets d’art: beaded dolls from Cameroon, Liberian masks, an­tique Ja­panese chests or cu­ri­ous springy rugs fash­ioned in Spain from tyre in­ner tubes. The gallery stages reg­u­lar art and sculp­ture exhibitions (watch out for a ma­jor glass show later in the year), an­nounced by witty in­vi­ta­tions and fly­ers you’ll find stuck to many a Hills fridge. More: ap­to­scruz.com. Ray and Morag McIn­tosh have racked up more than 40 buy­ing trips to In­dia since es­tab­lish­ing this idio­syn­cratic an­tiques store al­most 25 years ago. Spe­cial­is­ing in In­dian and Bri­tish colo­nial an­tiques, most sourced in and around Jodh­pur, their quaint, 19th­cen­tury for­mer leather-goods shop is stacked with carved and painted fur­ni­ture, an­tique opium bowls and sundry rem­nants and cu­riosi­ties of the Raj. Up­stairs are cab­i­nets of Stafford­shire dogs, gramo­phones, cheesy Ed­war­dian por­traits and early 20th-cen­tury In­dian ad­ver­tis­ing posters; down the nar­row rick­ety stairs in the many-roomed cel­lar, you’ll find fur­ni­ture and cu­rios. More: up­stairs­down­stair­san­tiques.net. Any Hills res­i­dent will tell you life would be unimag­in­able with­out this old-fash­ioned book­shop that flies in the face of mod­ern, on­line re­tail­ing. Set back off Stir­ling’s main street, a lentil’s toss from an­other Hills in­sti­tu­tion, the Or­ganic Mar­ket and Cafe (the two fit hand in glove), Matilda’s ta­bles stacked with books have been cu­rated with a lazy Satur­day af­ter­noon’s brows­ing in mind. Es­tab­lished more than 30 years ago, the store is owned by Gavin Wil­liams and Joanne Hill, who con­tinue to over­see a great chil­dren’s sec­tion, a clev­erly edited se­lec­tion of fic­tion and an ex­cel­lent gar­den­ing col­lec­tion. They reg­u­larly host au­thors. More: matild­abook­shop.com.au. This far-flung style stu­dio, in an old black­smith shop op­po­site the pub in this blink-and-you-miss-it vil­lage, is home to Tess the red dog and owner Nicki Mil­ton, for­mer vis­ual mer­chan­diser for Wheel & Bar­row. Mil­ton has as­sem­bled a gor­geous col­lec­tion of jewellery, cloth­ing and home­wares with one-of-a-kind fash­ion la­bels and bags, in­clud­ing Ge­orge, Gina & Lucy from Ger­many and 00039 Italy. She also stocks lo­cal de­sign­ers and mak­ers, in­clud­ing ce­ram­i­cist Mary Wau­chope’s very charm­ing Pi­casso-es­que ‘‘lady vases’’ and fab­ric brooches and gift cards from Ade­laide-based Heather Har­ris. Add to this a fun se­lec­tion of toys and a rain­bow-hued col­lec­tion of Hunter wellies and you have a on­estop Hills gift shop. More: that­ponyshop.com.au. Oc­cu­py­ing an old ser­vice sta­tion and gen­eral store in a ham­let best known for its 1853 pub, where Ben­nie the jack rus­sell runs around the tiny front bar, is Now with stores in the city and a ‘‘mini Maple’’ in Hah­n­dorf, the orig­i­nal shopfront of this style net­work is tucked away next to the po­lice sta­tion on the main street. Stock­ing home­wares, jewellery and fash­ion from around the globe, the care­fully edited, very pretty bou­tique has well-known trend mak­ers (Mis­soni Home; Di­nosaur De­signs) and lesser-known de­sign­ers such as Ta­mar Mo­gen­dorff, who spe­cialises in hand-stitched fab­ric bird houses and an­i­mal heads. And you thought you had ev­ery­thing. 48 Mt Barker Rd. NEXT in our Re­gional Shop­per se­ries: Maleny/Montville, Queens­land

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