Showing Off

Sr Helen, a Sister of Saint Joseph, shares her story.

It was in the 1970s during my time in Woomera I first became aware of the ‘throw away’ society we had become, the local tip was known locally as ‘K-mart’ and it was a regular habit for the locals to go ‘shopping’ there.

One day our neighbour presented me with a bike he made from parts from the tip, which I happily rode around on in those days. This was my first-hand experience of ‘recycling’ and my last experience of cycling!! (although as a child it was called ‘hand me downs’).

It was a few years later that Vinnies stores began to appear. I had always been a lover of museums, and I found these and other Op shops to be easily accessible ‘museums’ where I could also make purchases. I was hooked, not so much on clothing but on items one was unable to purchase in small towns.

Living in Port Augusta, some 300 kms from Adelaide they became my Spotlight store. My obsession became material, and as quilting became my next obsession what treasures and money saving bargains I have found over the years.

I love the fact that Op Shops have sprung up everywhere, that curb side giveaways are springing up, and society, including me, is up-cycling, re-using, sharing, donating, giving away, on-selling… cutting down on what goes into landfill, to say nothing of the social and financial benefit.

For more Showing Off inspiration visit – Soft Plastics Campaign 2023


Photos: Quilts made for Cuddlee Creek Fire Community.