Clunes – Booktown 2014

One of the greatest things about living in this part of Australia is that it is surrounded by stunning little towns, filled with beautiful buildings, streets full of character and history and encircled by rolling, green (at this time of year anyway) farmland.  One such town is Clunes, about a thirty minute drive from Ballarat.  Clunes is gorgeous any day of the year and it has a distinct community feel.  But this week end Clunes was tranformed…. into Booktown,  A whole town dedicated to the simple pleasure of curling up with a great book, immersing yourself in an engrossing story and even the sheer beauty of a well made, bound and cared for book.  And I had the pleasure of spending the entire weekend in this happy place!  And child free at that.


(I was having far too much fun to remember to take any photos myself so this is one of Clunes taken from the Booktown website)


Another avid reader friend and I took in all the delights, lectures on local ghosts pranks from the Victorian times, trawling through literally thousands of secondhand books, running our hands along pile after pile of new and interesting reads, eating warm comforting food in the cold bracing air, and the best moment for me was being in the audience for a conversation with author Elliot Perlman.  He wrote the Street Sweeper (among others) which I read last year, a book that moved me and has stayed with me.  He spoke mainly about the writing of this book and it was a real treat to hear what it takes as a writer to create such a stunning and important work.

The book town weekend will be permanently in my calendar from this point on.

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3 Responses to Clunes – Booktown 2014

  1. Jenny Pearson says:

    Hi Barbara, wow!! a weekend to dream of. My two or should that be three, favourite type of shops are bookshops (love the feel of a good book), antique shops (just for looking!!!), and junk/secondhand/op shops, and you had a whole weekend soaking up all that atmosphere in and out of bookshops, how wonderful. I am presently reading “12 years a slave”, having just finished “The Railwayman”, and no I don’t usually go in for such forceful books, but am and have thoroughly enjoyed them both. Handed over three books to a delightful 4 year old on Saturday afternoon. Grandma had the same versions here and she so enjoyed them I bought her her own copies to read at her house – love to encourage the love of books. I am still searching for you – I haven’t forgotten, and hopefully between us we will be successful.

    • Barbara Good says:

      Yeah, they;re pretty much my favourite shops too Jenny. I took Mum to the Mill Antiques and Collectibles a few months ago, we could have spent the whole day there! Though I do have to reign myself in or I would spend all my money and fill my house with STUFF if I let myself.

      Did you know that thanks to the Booktow festival Clunes has 8 permanent bookshops – mostly secondhand. I’m going to go back later in the year to take in the town when it’s quiet and trawl through the bookshops in peace. I did have one good find this weekend, and that was an illustrated copy of the Adventures of the Wishing Chair in the same style as the one you found for me. Of course I found this one AFTER I had already found and bought a small non-illustrated copy of the same book. Anyway I cam home with both, but am still on the look out for the last in the series (More Wishing Chair Stories) and all the Faraway Tree books. What books did you give the four year old?
      The two books you’ve been reading sound good. I’m going to reserve them at the library now (to add to my list of reserved books!!).

  2. Jenny Pearson says:

    Hi Barbara, methinks for sure there will be a trip to Clunes, especially the lovely old world look of the town, and I’m sure a good coffee could be found!!! The books I provided were two Alison Lester ones – I’m Green and I’m Grumpy and Who’s That Knocking, and a perennial favourite There’s A Hippopotamus on my Roof eating Cake, all of which she can pretty much read by herself, and quite often gets the chuckles when doing so. Had a great find about 2 weeks ago at my Op Shop in the book room – brand new Alison Lester books Ïmagination”, “My Farm” and her ÄBC”book, together with a brand new “Where’s Spot” book, two of which went to our mutual friend, and two are here for all to enjoy, and the total cost was 80c, how good is that!!! Be prepared to be confronted in both of the books I mentioned reading, however they also have their uplifting moments also – my favourite time of the year is now, curled up inside when it is cold either knitting or reading, oh, and sometimes doing the housework!!!

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