An illustration by Sian Williams of a colourful rack of clothes. Pink dollar signs hover around it.

A Guide to Canberra's Op-Shops

Art by Sian Williams
Edits by Juliette Brown and Rachel Chopping

Thrifting or op shopping is more popular than ever. Perhaps you’ve already shopped in op shops, or are thinking of trying it. Every time I see one of those ‘thrift haul’ videos on YouTube, I get a little jealous that Canberra doesn’t seem to have many cool op shops like in the US, Europe or Japan. However, after a few years of wandering in Canberra, I can tell you, honey, you just need to look in the right places.

First, in Canberra only, there is the Green Shed. There are three Green Shed stores in the city. 

  • If you’re looking for cool home décor, definitely check out the Civic Walk Green Shed. They have a variety of tea sets, plates and more, usually in good condition. Sometimes they’ll have high quality and stylish furniture too. 
  • Near the Civic Walk Green Shed is the Green Shed Underground. Most clothing items are priced at $5. Green Shed Underground can get a bit overwhelming for beginners, due to its less organised display. However, it is a fun place to hang out with friends and is conveniently close to campus. 
  • Then we have the Mitchell Green Shed. It’s probably easiest to get there by car. They take a wide range of donations, from clothes to furniture, even bikes. If you’re moving house, definitely check here. Just bear in mind they don’t mark their prices, so you have to ask staff about every single item. You might want to free up a bit more time when you plan on going there.

Then, of course, we have Vinnies and Salvos. Technically, each Vinnies and Salvos has a little bit of a different vibe and style. Other than the ones local to you, here are some that I recommend checking out. 

  • Dickson Vinnies seems to have more fancy items, also generally more expensive pieces. I have seen some really good quality $40 leather jackets there, which looked like they might have cost you over $100 in some op shops in Sydney.
  • Also worth checking out is the Mitchell store. The Mitchell Vinnies has more denim items than most op shops in Canberra. Not exactly sure why but, hey, I’m not complaining. Just be careful with the sizing, especially Levi’s jeans. The older the Levi’s, usually the bigger the size, even if with the same number. For example, a size 25 vintage Levi’s can sometimes fit the same as a size 30 new Levi’s. 

For all my uni student friends that might be moving at the end of the year, other than Mitchell Green Shed, you should check out the Fyshwick Salvos. It’s huge. If you’re getting a lot at once, sometimes the staff will let you pay first and bring a truck the next day to pick up the furniture. I got a $50 discount on a set of bookshelves once. Don’t forget to check out their basement, they have board games galore.

Sydney has Newtown and Melbourne has Fitzroy and Brunswick. We, Canberra, also have something similar: Fyshwick. I know you might be confused, but in fact Fyshwick has a few really niche, small-scale op shops. 

  • Canberra Vintage & Collectible Centre has the largest collection of second hand vinyl records in Canberra, and other random retro items as well. I’ve seen a board game about WWI there, which takes 50 hours for one game. Remember, they are only open Thursday to Sunday. 
  • Down the street is Dirty Janes, basically a collection of vintage antique shops. They actually have an Instagram account. Not just second hand items, there are quite a few local artists setting up shops there too. 
  • If you’re more into designer pieces, check out the Designer Op Shop Emporium. This is where you can find some pretty unique pre-loved designer fashion, like vintage Chanel wool suits. They also have more designer home décor, and some $100-$400 evening dresses too. 

I guess, needless to say, Canberra might not be like New York or London, but we do have a fair amount of cool op shops. The next time you are planning on hanging out with some mates, maybe check out one of these stylish op shops!




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