Tucked away in a person of the bigger containers on String Bean Alley in Queen Victoria Marketplace is Mary Jones and her renowned speciality retail outlet Retro Mamma. 

Taking shoppers again to several years that are extended absent, as a result of restored classic cameras and photographic slides, Ms Jones’ shop started out out as a pastime in advance of becoming a special portion of the sector in 2019. 

“My husband and I commenced performing it as a pastime due to the fact I utilised to collect tons of English and German porcelain and china, and when we had been downsizing our residence, we started marketing them off,” Ms Jones said. 

“We also have good friends who are antique sellers and do a great deal of studio cleans when they are closing down, and so we started off obtaining from them and it all just progressed from just one thing to another naturally.”

Drawn to photographic slides in specific, Ms Jones’ collection started increasing when they ended up at the market and decided to use outdated film cameras as paperweights. 

Although the slides they have accumulated from the 1860s to 1960s are Retro Mamma’s biggest vendor, the retail store has also come to be renowned for their functioning film cameras, cufflinks from the 1990s to 1960s, and women’s vintage jewellery from the 1900s. 

Additional not too long ago the unique Beatles cards from 1964 they have obtained have also tested to be really appealing.

“These fantastic photos arrived separately in packets of chewing gum and are 1 of our most well-known products,” she stated. “Like quite a few of our things, 90 for every cent of these are purchased by youthful men and women less than 25.”


Usually on the lookout for nearly anything intriguing from the earlier to share with the youthful technology, Ms Jones has recently obtained a collection of close to 2500 antique glass photographic slides acknowledged as magic lantern slides.


“These pictures ended up taken between the 1890s and 1920s and many had been taken by Australian photographer Walter Lewis from Glebe in New South Wales,” she explained.



“As perfectly as Australia, these amazing photos feature Europe, Japan, Raj-period India, China, Java in Indonesia, Hong Kong, and the Philippines. While these illustrations or photos have verified really well-known with historians and collectors, they are commonly ordered as a memento of a homeland or distinctive present for somebody exclusive.”

Irrespective of whether you are a collector or just curious, Ms Jones claimed she and her husband were normally content to chat and clarify the finer facts on any merchandise. 

“We are all actually welcoming and just appreciate to have a chat, moreover we know our products and are happy to shell out time with people today,” she said. 

“We also like Queen Victoria Industry and they have been actually supportive of us and could not have performed additional for us. We are all a tiny relatives on String Bean Alley, and often glimpse out for one a different far too.” •

@retromammastore / retromamma.com.au 

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