Alpine Observer


Julie Sauervein


What is your job?

My husband John and I run Co-op Collectibl­es Vintage Store in Dederang. We are mainly open only on Sundays, and by arrangemen­t at other times. It’s a hobby business – we don’t want it to become a chore. We are both collectors turned hoarders. We get our treasures from clearing sales mostly, and everything has a story.

Is it something you always wanted to do?

I have always been into collecting stuff and never threw anything out, but I never saw myself turning it into a business. When I was young I wanted to be a policewoma­n. My dad, Bob Kurth, was the policeman in Dederang – I’ve lived here all my life. I’ve been here 56 years and I love it. I’d never leave. Instead of joining the police I got married and had children. I’ve always worked in the house. I didn’t need to work. My mum was there and it was just family, family, family.

How did you come to open the shop?

We bought the building and were going to pull it down when someone suggested we open an antiques/vintage store. The building was a co-op store back in the early ‘50s bur it only lasted about four years because the other store was competitio­n, and they did home deliveries. Later on it became the post office and telephone exchange. It was run by Ada McIntosh who died very recently in Kiewa Valley House, aged 92. The post office closed in the ‘80s and it was just used as a residence, and we bought it about 10 years ago. I consider my purpose is to re-home this stuff so that people can enjoy it.

What do you love about the job?

I love it all. There are always stories. The people we buy things from have got stories about the goods, and the collectors are very knowledgea­ble and tell you all sorts of things. We had a collector in here a while ago who talked for hours about Furphy water tanks. I learn something new every Sunday. I’d have loved to have been a housewife in the ‘50s so I could have used all this stuff. My own kitchen is pretty retro. The social aspect is great too. We love going to clearing sales – it’s so exciting it’s almost like a drug. It’s very social meeting people at the sales, and we love the travelling – we get to see a lot of the countrysid­e.

What else do you do?

I have another job that’s very important to me. I work in the shed at Vegitation in the winter when they need more hands to do the packaging. I love that. The Iarias are such good bosses. There’s such a friendly relaxed atmosphere. Also I have a very close relationsh­ip with my grandchild­ren and we spend a lot of time together. I am part of the local cancer support group with Trish Dixon. She’s amazing what she does for us. I am on the committee for the Dragon Boat Club, but I can’t paddle because they practice on Sundays. Also, I have an acre and a half of garden which keeps me busy.

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