VOGUE Living Australia - - Contents - By Alexan­dra Gor­don Pho­tographed by Nigel Lough

Ex­plor­ing her fam­ily’s her­itage led this re­tail queen on a mis­sion to save Aus­tralia’s his­toric prop­er­ties

Like many Aus­tralians, Linda Gregoriou has a di­verse back­ground: her fa­ther is Greek-Cypriot and her Celtic-An­glo mother hails from an old pas­toral fam­ily in West­ern Aus­tralia. In 2015, she de­cided to ex­plore her ma­ter­nal fam­ily’s her­itage. While on an ar­chi­tec­tural tour of the Na­tional Trust and Es­tate listed build­ings from her fam­ily’s past, Gregoriou found that some had fallen into dis­re­pair. This dis­cov­ery led her to call Tom Per­rigo, the CEO of Na­tional Trusts of Aus­tralia. As a re­sult of that con­ver­sa­tion, Gregoriou has be­come the driv­ing force be­hind a joint re­tail ven­ture launched in March called The Store. “We chose the name be­cause each Na­tional Trust prop­erty gen­er­ally had a store where dry goods were kept,” she says. Gregoriou is cer­tainly no stranger to re­tail. In 2010, she opened the con­cept store Pure and Gen­eral, which had a cult fol­low­ing. She is also in­volved in the tele­vi­sion and prop­erty in­dus­tries. Her project with the Na­tional Trust is one of her most am­bi­tious yet, with the aim of open­ing re­tail spa­ces in his­toric prop­er­ties na­tion­wide. Old Gov­ern­ment House in Syd­ney’s Par­ra­matta was the first of six to launch ear­lier this year. “We will just keep open­ing them be­cause the Na­tional Trust has about 330 prop­er­ties around the coun­try,” says Gregoriou, who has tai­lored prod­ucts to suit each lo­ca­tion. “Old Gov­ern­ment House has a very do­mes­tic fo­cus so there are a lot of laun­dry and kitchen prod­ucts. The Store in Evan­dale’s main street [in Tas­ma­nia] has more of a cold-cli­mate fo­cus.” From July, there will also be an on­line pres­ence. While each will be unique, as a whole the new re­tail stores are set to chal­lenge peo­ple’s per­cep­tion of a gift shop. “We are fo­cus­ing on the lo­cal com­mu­nity and not just on tourism,” Gregoriou says, “so we are get­ting rid of all the tea tow­els, mugs and key rings that have ex­isted for decades and pro­duc­ing a line of about 50 prod­ucts.” Ar­ti­sanal goods have been sourced and com­mis­sioned from around Aus­tralia and in­ter­na­tion­ally. At Old Gov­ern­ment House, cre­ations by tex­tile artist Chris Land sit along­side ceramic works by Ali­son Fraser and chic doorstops made us­ing 19th- cen­tury tick­ing. Gregoriou is most ex­cited about the wrap­ping pa­per il­lus­trated by Corn­wall-based Ryn Frank de­pict­ing 21 of the prop­er­ties. “Ryn’s draw­ings are part of the re­brand­ing and that’s one of the high­lights for me,” she says. Sales will go to­wards main­tain­ing prop­er­ties, rais­ing aware­ness of the Na­tional Trust and pro­mot­ing mem­ber­ship. “You are not only buy­ing a beau­ti­ful prod­uct,” says Gregoriou, “you are help­ing main­tain Aus­tralia’s built and nat­u­ral her­itage.”

clock­wise from left: pom­poms by Jo Neville of Pa­per Cou­ture dec­o­rate The Store at Syd­ney’s Old Gov­ern­ment House. Linda Gregoriou is be­hind the new re­tail ven­ture. A se­lec­tion of com­mis­sioned ce­ram­ics by Ali­son Fraser (right and be­low).

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