Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Sydney Miniatures Fair 2014

After a lovely week in Bathurst (most days were glorious autumn weather, and the leaves on the trees were such brilliant colours, especially against the blue skies), I got the train to Sydney for the dolls house fair.

Staying in hotels in Sydney is new to me - for so many years, my sister has provided a home base there, but now she's in Bathurst, I looked for somewhere reasonably cheap and close to public transport. Strathfield is between Olympic Park, where the fair is held, and the city - and I'd realised that I could also spend some time in the State Library looking at toy trade journals. So I booked the single ensuite room at Whelan's Hotel in Strathfield, which is heritage-listed - just down the road from the block of flats my Australian Nana managed in the 1960s and 70s. I was going to include some photos of the hotel, and my room there, complete with vintage furniture! but I get very frustrated at not being able to position photos across the page, as we used to be able to do on Blogger - I don't want lots and lots of blank space around photos that aren't dolls house-related, so if you want to see my photos of the hotel, you can find them on facebook (I may add them to flickr sometime, too).

I went to the Miniatures Fair on Saturday morning, soon after it opened, and again on Sunday afternoon, until it closed. I caught up with Anna-Maria (The Shopping Sherpa) and Norma of Make Mine Mini - here we are together:

Margaret Webster of Tamworth very kindly took this photo for us, and then Anna-Maria took one of me with Margaret:

(Margaret owns the first dolls house posted on the Mystery Houses page of Dolls Houses Past and Present, and I showed photos of her Milly Molly Mandy room at the Fair last year.)

I also met Emily of Architecture of Tiny Distinction, thanks to Anna-Maria bringing her over to introduce us!

I didn't take as many photos as last year or the year before, but here are some things that caught my eye.

A long street of houses, with two sides:

Behind this display you can see Norma (in black with a blue top) standing behind her stall, and over to the left, with the row of bunting, is Anna-Maria's stand.

Visible in the background of this photo are many of the displays. On the far left is Davidia Williams' Shabby Chic Shop:

Davidia told me that she had had surgery this year, and so created something that was quick, rather than one of her very detailed period reconstructions (1960s Waldfrieden and modern 1226 Cliff Drive, Watsons Bay, in 2012; Tamara de Lempicka's 1930's Paris studio apartment last year, or the 1950s Rose Seidler House in 2009).
I guess for her it would take less time than those houses - there's still an incredible amount of detail in it, and I think she also made the Bear Hug shop and Japanese kitchen next to it (though she wasn't there on Sunday when I took these photos, so I couldn't check).

I'm sorry about the lopsided angles - there were two people sitting and talking right next to this display, so I couldn't get right in front of them.

Some exhibitors had made clever use of gift bags:

I love this scene of two little Caco girls making cupcakes!

There was also a Christmas bag room:

The Tamworth group had some shops too, including Margaret Webster's very inviting antiques shop, A Little Nostalgia. Spot the actual vintage items!

[EDIT: I have been asked to remove photos of another creation from Tamworth, a room in a book.]

Also from Tamworth were a lolly shop by Karen Brown:

[I have been asked to remove photos of a country kitchen made by another Tamworth member. It had a gun over the fireplace.]
(There were bushrangers around Tamworth and the New England Tableland in the 19th century, so an isolated country house would have kept a gun handy like this.)

Last year, Margaret Webster had a Milly Molly Mandy room - this year, someone else had Milly Molly Mandy's bedroom:

This one was made by Rhonda McDonald; I don't know where she is from.

Nearby was a witches' room, with a rather sad explanation:

Still in the realm of fantastic creatures was this Hut on Tyrannosaur's Legs, inhabited by Scribes, small genetically modified ground sloths:

This was created by Marilyn Pride, of the Blue Mountains group - I gather we'll see more of it next year.

Its neighbour in the display was a comics shop, guarded by a superhero:

I also photographed Margell Public School, which Anna-Maria bought:

It was created by a teacher who had always wanted to work in a one-teacher school, but never had the chance. (From what I've heard, it's very hard work - all years of primary school to plan for and teach, all the administrative work, and often all the cleaning too. I think a miniature one-teacher school would be much more fun!)

There were many, many more displays, but I hope you've enjoyed this small sample. I have yet to photograph my purchases, which I hope to do in the next few days. I also have quite a few photos from the 1972 and 1973 issues of the Australian toy trade journal, which I've started going through, plus a few more photos of my dolls houses in Bathurst - late April, early May is always such a rich time!


  1. Rebecca, your post today is delightful, and inspiring. I never knew Del Murphy, and I am so sorry she has passed on. What a tribute to her that her work is still displayed and will be cherished. I am intrigued by the Milly Molly Mandy Room, and now I must find those books. Lastly, the Nostalgia Shop brings to mind the nostalgia shop in the novel at the heart of "Midnight in Paris." So now I am inspired by both that shop and the movie, and your post.

    1. Hi Neen, I'm glad you enjoyed it and are inspired by it! I enjoyed seeing the displays there, and I'm very glad to have photos to revisit them through, and see more details than I had time to take in at the time. I don't know the book 'Midnight in Paris' - I will have to find it!

  2. lovely photo's.. it's almost as good as being there.. can't wait to see what you bought,, christine XX

    1. Glad you enjoyed them, Christine - I do hope you can come in person some time, as I'm sure you would notice more displays, including ones that didn't strike me. I've enjoyed seeing other bloggers' posts on the fair, and seen more through them than I did there - minus the aching feet!

  3. what a wonderful range of beautiful creations!

    1. Aren't there! Some amazing ones, like Margaret Pride's - I'm so glad to know that it was she who painted my rabbit rock :-)

  4. What a wonderful day you must have had! Now I can no longer travel far, I so enjoy seeing the fair photos.
    Thank you for taking such wonderful pics for us all to share.
    It is great to see the masculine take in miniatures rto
    My favourite of all was the school, followed by the Milly-Molly-Mandy bedroom. We have a family connection with the books and I grew up reading them, drawing pictures of my imaginary house in her village and inventing games to play with and 'Lttle Friend Susan.'
    Looking forward to seeing your next post, now I've finally worked out how to see it properly - what a techno-idiot I am!

    1. Hi Jenni, I love seeing fair photos from places I can't get to, too - as well as seeing other people's photos of the same fair! If you have a look down my blog roll, you can see several other views with lots of other creations.
      There were quite a lot of men there, I think there are most years, mostly with houses and rooms - and one year, a man who makes wonderful trees and landscapes!
      As you like Milly-Molly-Mandy, I hope you looked at my post on last year's fair, to see the MMM room there! I particularly liked the MMM doll in last year's room, too - she had been wigged and dressed by Margaret Webster, who made the room.

  5. It looks like it was a wonderful show Rebecca. Thank you for sharing your photos with us. Hopefully I can get over there one year.

    1. Oh, I hope you can, Sharee! I noticed that Kim's Miniatures, from NZ, didn't come this year, sadly. It's a long trip to make - hopefully one year you'll be able to combine it with other destinations or activities in Sydney or elsewhere to make it worth it.