Ballaarat Antique Fair restored for heritage festival | ourballarat autumn 2023

As part of the 2023 Ballarat Heritage Festival, the city will see the return of the much-loved Antique Fair in May and once again enjoy the smell of beeswax and polish, the excited chatter of collectors in a bustling Civic Hall full of superb antique furniture, jewellery, artworks, militaria, objets d’art and more.

Antique dealers Louise and Graeme Russell

Prior to the last two lockdown years, the Ballaarat Antique Fair had been running for 50 years.

The Ballaarat Antique Fair was originally started by like-minded antique dealers looking to showcase their stock and any special pieces they had in their collections.

The Perfect Setting

Louise Russell and her husband Graeme of Woodshed Antiques have been antique dealers for more than 30 years.

The couple led the restoration of this year’s Antiques Fair following the request of many dealers who had previously exhibited at the fair with great success.

Louise sees the fair’s revival as the perfect fit for May’s Ballarat Heritage Festival and says the Ballaarat Antique Fair was known by antique dealers and collectors across Australia.

“The region’s gold heritage leant itself to the city’s grand architecture, with the large rooms and high ceilings of the many historic homes and commercial buildings providing the perfect setting to house antiques,” Louise says.

“The galleries, architecture and history of our beautiful city along with being able to host the event in the city’s recently refurbished and stunning art deco Civic Hall, has really set the stage for a tremendous antique fair.”

A collection of leading antique dealers

Some of Australia’s leading antique dealers will exhibit many rare and unique pieces at the Ballaarat Antiques Fair.

Each dealer will bring specialist knowledge in jewellery, clocks, furniture, porcelain, silver, artworks, militaria or objet d’art.

While antiques may have dropped away in popularity in recent years, there has never been a better time to buy and appreciate an antique’s quality, uniqueness and history.

Most antiques were rarely the product of mass production but rather crafted individually and built to last for life.

Once perceived as a luxury of the wealthy, antiques now offer some of the greatest value in home furnishings, whether buyers are looking for a practical piece or a design statement.

As an antique dealer, Louise says many of her clients are interior designers looking for the right antique to help style a modern home.

“There is no question popular TV shows such as Antiques Roadshow, Bargain Hunt and Antiques Down Under have gone a long way in promoting the industry and raising awareness of the appreciation of antiques,” she says.

With the reduction of antique shops and the increase in online purchasing, the Antique Fair will provide people with the chance to come in to touch and study a piece they are interested in, as well as speak with the experts.

For many collectors, this is a welcome opportunity compared to online purchasing.

The Ballaarat Antique Fair will be open Saturday 20 May 10am–5pm and Sunday 21 May 10am–4pm. Admission is $10.

City of Ballarat Council Plan Alignment

The projects, initiatives, and ideas in this article align with the following goals of the City of Ballarat Council Plan 2021-2025:

Goal 5

A strong and innovative economy and city