Melbourne Laneway Shopping

Melbourne Laneway Shopping, Melbourne, Australia (A)

Melbourne’s historic laneways criss-cross the heart of the city. A featured visitor attraction, in Australia and overseas, the lanes are filled with unusual shops and singular boutiques. Here is a cross-section of some of the more intriguing and interesting shops you will find in Melbourne's laneways.
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Sights Featured in This Article

Guide Name: Melbourne Laneway Shopping
Guide Location: Australia » Melbourne
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (A))
# of Attractions: 12
Tour Duration: 2.0 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Author: Liz Sinclair
Author Bio: Liz Sinclair is an award-winning travel writer who divides her time between Melbourne and Bali.
Author Website:
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • City Hatters
  • Il Papiro
  • The Matt Irwin Photography Gallery
  • Collected Works Bookshop
  • The Foreign Language Bookshop
  • Gazelle Jewelry
  • Australian By Design
  • Basement Discs
  • Bison Australia
  • Babushkas
  • The Oxfam Shop
  • Wunderkammer
City Hatters

1) City Hatters

This iconic Melbourne store has been trading continuously under the clocks at Flinders Street Station since 1910. Graceful, antique black iron railings lead down below street level to the small shop that was originally built as the station master’s office. The Buzolichs, a Croation immigrant family of five brothers, first opened City Hatters as part of a chain of five Melbourne shops. In 1927, the Buzolichs sold their hat business to Henry Bucks, well-known in Melbourne for the men’s clothing stores that bear his name. City Hatters has survived “depressions, recessions, good times, bad times, hat times and hatless times,” according to their website. Their expert salesmen have fitted hats for Governor Generals, actors, nobility, movie stars, racegoers, businessmen, football fans and the general public. They will custom fit you with anything from a sporty straw hat, a jaunty English driving cap or the Australian classic bushman’s Akubra. They will also give you expert advice on caring for your hat. City Hatters is open Monday to Friday 9 am to 5.30 pm, Saturday 9 am to 5 pm, and Sunday, 10 am to 4 pm.
Il Papiro

2) Il Papiro

Il Papiro is an Italian maker of fine journals, stationary and paper products. Il Papiro was founded in Florence, Italy, in 1976 to preserve historic paper marbleizing techniques that were in danger of being lost. Il Papiro’s Italian artisans craft paper by hand for diaries, journals, address books, photo albums, and desk accessories. The shop also carries a large selection of stationary and cards, as well as a line of journals bound in hand-tooled leather. Handmade paper gifts from Il Papiro are classic and timeless, and never go out of style. There are Il Papiro stores across Italy, in the USA and Melbourne. Each Il Papiro store is designed to look like the original shop in Florence. Open Monday to Friday 10 am to 6 pm, Saturday 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday 11 am to 5 pm.
The Matt Irwin Photography Gallery

3) The Matt Irwin Photography Gallery

The Matt Irwin Photography Gallery specializes in Melbourne city portraiture. Step inside to find night shots of deserted alleys and laneways, gleaming with rain and neon lights, or parks with commuters hurrying homeward on foot. There are photographs taken from across the city, from the beaches to downtown buildings. You can sense in the work how much Matt loves the city of Melbourne. He has been a photographer for almost twenty years. Matt’s clients have included Intrepid Travel, National Trust, City of Melbourne, Victorian Tourism Commission, Arts Projects Australian and many others. You can buy prints in various sizes, framed or un-framed, in black and white or color, as well as cards and calendars, all made from Matt’s haunting photographs. Despite having shot photos in what seems like every corner of Melbourne, Matt says that, for him, Melbourne is simply too beautiful to stop taking pictures. He also owns and runs a multi-media and video production company called Soup Kitchen. The photography gallery is open Monday to Friday 11 am to 6 pm, Saturday 11 am to 5 pm and Sunday noon to 4 pm.
Collected Works Bookshop

4) Collected Works Bookshop

Collected Works Bookshop is located on Level One inside the Nicholas Building. Nicholas House has been described as a ‘vertical laneway’ on Flinders Lane with many tiny shops and artists galleries to explore. Founded in 1985, Collected Works is a small, independent bookstore, specializing in poetry and literary fiction. You can also find books on theatre, literary criticism and philosophy. The shop has a section devoted to Australian literature, including history, society, biography and classics, as well as a section of Indigenous Australian literature. The shop sells a mixture of small press publications and offerings from mainstream publishers. The shop also serves as a meeting place for writers and readers, with regular readings and book launches held throughout the year. The bookstore is open Monday to Thursday 9.30 am to 5.30 pm, Friday, 9.30 am to 6 pm and Saturday 9.30 am to 1.30 pm.
The Foreign Language Bookshop

5) The Foreign Language Bookshop

The Foreign Language Bookshop has been open for business in the Centreway Arcade since 1912. They stock books, music, films, magazines and other materials in over 125 different languages. With tens of thousands of titles available, The Foreign Language Bookshop is one of the largest and oldest language bookstores in the world. Here you can find language learning courses, audio, books and software, dictionaries in over 100 languages, adult fiction and non-fiction titles and children’s books in over 100 languages, a large collection of travel books and guides, including the complete Lonely Planet series and foreign language board games and gifts. They also stock electronic language translators as well as a range of ESL (English as a Second Language) materials for teachers, students and travelers. A well-trained, multi-lingual staff is available to help advise on the most suitable language-learning materials or to special order titles. They also accept online orders and offer a door-to-door delivery service within Australia. The Foreign Language Bookshop is open Monday to Thursday 9 am to 6 pm, Friday 9 am to 6.30 pm, and Saturday 10 am to 5.30 pm.
Gazelle Jewelry

6) Gazelle Jewelry

Gazelle sells tribal, ethnic and one of a kind jewelry. You can also find handmade wool scarves from Paris and embroidered shawls from India here. There are even occasionally Middle Eastern rugs and carved statues. Before opening Gazelle, the owner, Gabrielle, owned an antiques shop, but her passion is tribal jewelry and beautiful fabrics. She travels overseas every year to buy ethnic pieces from Afghanistan, Burma, Nepal and India. Basically, she says, she buys what she herself would like to wear or have in her home, and she has exotic, wide-ranging tastes. The jewelry in the shop is an eclectic mix, including handmade necklaces and earrings from Australia and the UK. Gazelle is open Monday to Wednesday 10 am to 5.30 pm, Thursday 10 am to 6 pm, Friday 10 am to 7 pm and Saturday 10 am to 5 pm.
Australian By Design

7) Australian By Design

Australian By Design sells a wide range of hand-made Australian made-crafts and gifts, in a wide price range. The shop has been located in the Block Arcade for over ten years. They stock jewellery, boxes, bowls, platters and vases made from rare Australian woods. There are hand-blown glass pieces in a dazzling array of colors. Australian By Design stocks bronze sculptures of native Australian animals and birds. There is a range of genuine Aboriginal art for sale. They also stock oil and watercolor paintings of both Australian landscapes and the native flora and fauna. You can find handmade jewelery here, as well as a range of sculptures and tableware made from lead-free pewter. The shop also stocks a range of corporate gifts. The store is open seven days a week from 9 am to 6 pm.
Basement Discs

8) Basement Discs

Basement Discs, in Block Place, is a ‘musical Aladdin’s Cave.’ Basement Discs stocks Melbourne’s best selection of Rock, Pop, Jazz, Blues, R&B, Country, Folk, World and Roots music. Their philosophy is to provide each customer with comprehensive service, from a staff that has a wide knowledge and love of music. Engage in conversation with the staff, people who live and breathe music, and you will almost certainly come away with a recommendation for a new artist you’ve never heard of before. A little-known secret about Basement Discs is that they offer free, lunchtime performances in-store, featuring local and international musicians. Check their website,, for upcoming concerts. Basement Discs create a “best of “ list at the end of each year to help with Christmas shopping. Basement Discs is open Monday to Thursday 10 am to 6 pm, Friday 10 am to 8 pm, Saturday 10 am to 6 pm and Sunday 11 am to 5 pm.
Bison Australia

9) Bison Australia

The shelves inside Bison Australia glow with stacked plates and bowls in shades of terra cotta, sunflower, peach, celadon, indigo, cream and others. Bison was established by designer Brian Tunks. He studied classics and archeology at university, and began his love for ceramics while working on Greco-Roman excavations in the Middle East. His involvement with classical pottery led him to start designing simple, elegant, modern stoneware that is also highly functional. Bison offers a variety of different practical shapes in a wide range of colors. The pottery is all hand-crafted and durable. All glazes are lead-free and food-safe, as well as highly stain-resistant. All Bison pottery can be used in the microwave or put through a dishwasher. There can be some color variation in different lots of the same item, so its wise to buy as many pieces as you need from the same lot, if you desire consistency. However, the shop staff encourage people to mix and match shades, and will give you tips for caring for your Bison pottery. The shop is open Monday to Thursday 10 am to 6 pm, Friday 10 am to 8 pm, Saturday 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday noon to 5 pm.

10) Babushkas

Babushkas has been selling gifts and jewelry from Russia and Eastern Europe for almost twenty years. They feature wooden Russian nesting dolls, called Maryoshki. Babushkas is the exclusive Australian supplier for several Russian Maryoshki manufacturers. Each set of dolls comes complete with a certificate of authenticity. Babushkas also sells amber jewelry from Gdansk on the Baltic Sea, as well as painted, lacquered boxes from the Golden Ring of Russia, one of the most historic and picturesque areas of the country, chess sets and wooden boxes from the Tatra Mountains in Poland, hand-painted easter eggs from Slovakia and hand-made glass Christmas decorations from Poland and Germany. Babushkas is happy to ship your purchases anywhere in Australia or overseas, leaving you room in your luggage for other shopping. To avoid customer frustration, the shop only displays gifts they have in stock. Shop hours are Monday to Thursday 10 am to 6 pm, Friday 10 am to 7 pm, Saturday 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday 11 am to 5 pm.
The Oxfam Shop

11) The Oxfam Shop

The Oxfam Shop sells handmade fair trade gifts and house-wares from around the world. Oxfam shops provide a stable, secure, fair price to artisans and craftspeople living in poverty around the world, including indigenous Australians. Oxfam’s aim is to provide on-going markets for these people, who would otherwise be forced to sell their products at much-lower prices, while being sensitive to the artisans’ cultural, religious and artistic traditions. Oxfam helps producers with product development and skills training so they can set up sustainable businesses. The Oxfam shops sells beautiful hand-embroidered cushions and blankets and other housewares, as well as clothing, jewelry, gifts and food, such as fair trade tea, coffee and chocolate. The Oxfam shop is registered as a Fair Trade Organization by the World Fair Trade Association. By shopping at Oxfam, you’re helping the company to support their vision of a world without poverty. Trading hours are Monday to Thursday 9.30 am to 5.30 pm, Friday 9.30 am to 7 pm, Saturday 10 am to 5 pm, and Sunday noon to 5 pm.

12) Wunderkammer

The Wunderkammer shop is like a giant, glass cabinet of curiosities, which is the original meaning of the German term. It’s easy to think you are standing inside a natural history museum, or a museum of mankind, except that all the items in the shop are for sale. Here you will find maps: geographical, aeronautical and astronomical, and globes, both old and new. There are museum quality framed insects, beetles and butterflies. You will also find a wide range of minerals and fossils, as well as skeletons, skulls and preserved specimens of many species. Wunderkammer sells scientific and medical instruments for every purpose, including the strangely named Orreries, mechanical devices that show the three-dimensional movements of planets in our solar system. There is a range of sundials, both antique and modern. The shop also sells books, posters, periodic tables, kaleidoscopes and multi-dimensional work by local artists. Open Tuesday to Friday 10 am to 6 pm and Saturday 10 am to 4 pm.

Walking Tours in Melbourne, Australia

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Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

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