HAMILTON is the major city of Western Victoria, with a population of over 8,000 people, it is surrounded by smaller satellite towns and over 2 million sheep! Given the large population of sheep it will come as little surprise to anyone to learn that agriculture forms the economic base for the region.
Although the population (of people!) might be relatively small the district has a reputation for large homesteads with fine book collections. Where you find book collectors, antiquarian book dealers are often close-by, and the Western District is no exception. Bellcourt Books, Hamilton’s sole bookshop is run by ANZAAB member Guy Stephens and 30 kilometres away in Dunkeld fellow ANZAAB member, Roz Greenwood of Roz Greenwood Old and Rare Books is located in stunning scenery at the foot of the picturesque Grampians Mountains.
Learning that their colleagues across the world were holding Pop Up Book Fairs on April 23, UNESCO’s World Book and Copyright Day, Roz and Guy decided that distance from large population centres was no reason for not joining in the celebrations and so together with local booksellers, Brian and Betty Lacy, they have organized not one, but two, Pop Up Book fairs..
Dunkeld, the second town in this tale, is only 30 kilometres from Hamilton. Located 330 kilometres from Melbourne and 500 kilometres from Adelaide, Dunkeld, although relatively isolated, offers a very attractive antiquarian bookshop and an award winning fine-dining hotel, the famous Royal Mail Hotel. The hotel’s buildings include a superb bluestone colonial-built woolshed which is often used for musical performances. In fact when the Australian String Quartet pays its annual visit to Dunkeld it always plays at The Mount Sturgeon Woolshed-The Royal Mail Hotel. Bearing this in mind Roz and Guy thought, “If classical music works well in this beautiful historic Australian woolshed, why not old books?”
On considering their plans for April 23 Roz and Guy realized if they kept the hours relatively short there was time for two Pop Up Book Fairs in the day and so the idea of a fair in both Hamilton and Dunkeld was born. The first of the two Pop Up Fairs will be held in the shared foyer of Hamilton’s Library and Art Gallery over lunchtime on Thursday April 23. After lunch the three booksellers will then pack up (so easy with a Pop-Up Fair) and move out to Dunkeld for an early evening Pop Up Book Fair in The Mount Sturgeon Woolshed. This Pop Up Fair held in conjunction with the Royal Mail will be a rather special event. Wine will be served to those attending and afterwards the fair attendees will be transported back to the Royal Mail Hotel for a celebratory dinner at which a special set menu will be offered. Given that The Royal Mail is home to one of Australia’s best restaurants (awarded Two Chef’s Hats) this will be a very special evening indeed! Why not make a “pilgrimage” to the bush (the Australian term for the countryside) on World Book and Copyright Day April 23 this year? It will most definitely be a day to remember!