I went for a walk down memory lane over the Easter weekend. When lived in McKinnon, no one had heard of it.

The local strip shopping was an empty place; an unloved looking Rite-Way, a butcher and a milk bar where we could spend our 5 cents per day pocket money on a few cobbers and some chocolate buds.

My sisters and I would stop in to see my Dad at his office on our way home from the station and say hello, but there was not much to tempt browsing, it was all about picking up something for dinner on the way home. There was a leadlight place and a wood yard and I think a Chinese restaurant  and video rental may have been the busiest shop on the strip at one point but not much else of note to my memory. There was a lot of shops that were boarded up. It was a pretty uninviting place.

Not now…

Gift shop, florist, brownie bar, hairdressers, cosmetic procedures, Chinese medicine, kids physio, tarot reader, deli (posh Malvern type not authentic Mediterranean) dog groomer, dentists, solicitor, chemist and post office combined and a vintage furrier! A vintage furrier?

I had to stop and take a photo, and whilst I was trying to get a shot that would show the gorgeous white fur coat in the window the proprietor of Linda Black came to open the door. He invited us in, I hadn’t even realised that it was open on this quiet Easter Saturday afternoon.

He was amazing, showed his store and shared so much about how he had worked for many years in the fur trade; he could think of over 70 fur businesses off the top of his head and that Australia was once a leader in the world  for making furs; he showed us how he was repairing furs for people and repurposing old furs to make blankets and cushions. I had never before seen a sewing machine like this – it’s specific for working on fur and catches the skins in a particular way so as the stitching cannot be seen on the front.

And is he busy? Yes, he pointed to a rack of vintage furs in waiting. They need repairing or repurposing, some will become vests or rugs or cushions.

There is so much work to get through for winter that he reports he is pretty much at capacity.  What a great thing, to see a local business busy and thriving in a place which was once so empty. It was such a delight to see my old home in a new way much prettier than I remember it as a child.

I was some years ago gifted an old fur from a family member and have used it a couple of times to keep me warm at the odd event but I have often wondered what happens to these beautiful things that took so long and so many animals to make.

What I love about this is that here’s a business recycling and repairing and giving new life and form to things of beauty. This is a place where revitalising is thriving and he says he is at ‘full capacity’ – it was such a pleasure to meet this man and to listen to him talk about his area of expertise and share his knowledge; a chance encounter that lifted the day. If you are headed McKinnon way make sure to stop past and take a look at this beautiful place.