The History of the Humble Aussie Op Shop

“I love older things that people have used and cherished. They have personality, character and soul” – Anna Hillegass

Relied on as a source of recurring fashion for over 100 years, the humble Aussie opportunity shop – or op shop, as it’s lovingly referred to – has been a well-known institution since its early inception.

Founded by the Salvation Army in 1880, ‘recycling depots’ were initially set up to provide work, food and shelter for men leaving prison and were branded ‘Prison Gate Brigade Homes’.

Collecting, sorting and bailing waste paper was one of the first social initiatives the Salvo’s spearheaded. As time progressed ‘jumble sales’ were added to the organisation’s mix, enabling the less fortunate to clothe themselves with discarded garments from the upper classes. As time progressed, this evolved to include household items.1

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