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Collins Ballarat relocates to ‘destination store’ in heritage building

The Ballarat branch of Collins Booksellers has relocated to a heritage-listed building on Lydiard Street in the Ballarat city centre.

Formerly located about a block and half away on Sturt Street, the Collins Ballarat shop is now located at 22 Lydiard Street in a historic building belonging to the Old Colonists’ Association of Ballarat—a club that originated with the early gold rush miners in the area. The building dates from 1888 and features an architecturally significant Classical Revival façade, which derives from Renaissance design.

The shop—now known as Collins Booksellers on Lydiard—features floorboards throughout, unique interiors and detailing, and internal walkways connecting the three parts of the shop, which are dedicated to fiction, nonfiction and children’s/YA respectively.

‘Our aim was to create a destination bookstore for Ballarat in a beautifully historical and architecturally rich precinct,’ said store manager Tracey Willersdorf. ‘Our bookshop will take you back in time, with the pressed-tin roof, old-style bookcases, wooden floors, open fireplaces, heritage front counter and the old-fashioned signage.’

Willersdorf said the store was notified five years ago that its Sturt Street lease would not be renewed. ‘The job ahead of us was quite daunting,’ she said. The Ballarat store had operated under the same management at Sturt Street for 10 years in total—five years as Book City, and five years as Collins Booksellers on Sturt. Upon being shown the potential site at 22 Lydiard Street, Willersdorf said the team was ‘thrilled with the position and the buildings’.

The new store opened for business on 7 March, and hosted an official launch on 10 May featuring authors Alex Miller and Ada Langton, who spoke on the night. Also in attendance were local Ballarat authors Bianca Slade, Lila Rose and Heather Whitford Roche.

‘Our bookshop has warmth and character,’ said Willersdorf. ‘We will always be grateful for our fairytale ending.’



Category: Local news