End of era for Morwell market

Morwell Sunday market stallholders Joanna Todd and Val Aguis sort through their wares ahead of the final market day on Sunday. photograph michelle slater

Michelle Slater

A WELL-loved Latrobe Valley institution is coming to a close on Sunday as the Morwell Sunday Market will trade for the last time ahead of the land being slated for housing developments.

Stallholders have been given until the end of June to clear out of the Latrobe Road site and have been spending this week picking through their sheds in preparation for the final day.

Joanna Todd had been selling bric-a-brac at the Morwell Sunday Market for the past 15 years and will use Sunday to farewell her fellow traders.

The market had been the mainstay over the decades to rifle through stalls to find anything from local produce, collectibles, second hand, vinyl records, clothes, tools and even live chooks.

“I think Morwell will really miss this, there’s a lot of really sad people. A lot of people come here for their day of socialisation. Some are lonely and come here for a cuppa and a chat,” Ms Todd said.

“It’s a community and it’s like a family, you get to know the people here.”

The 6.8 hectare site was once home to the Morwell Panoramic drive-in, but is now being earmarked to develop 65 houses as part of the Panorama Estate.

The market site forms part of the Morwell West development plan, which was endorsed by Latrobe City council in 2016 to open up more residential land.

Latrobe City had issued a permit to allow the land to be subdivided into residential lots, but the developer still needs to meet more conditions before titles can be issued.

Ms Todd’s stall was “choc-a-block” full of items which she had to either give away, or sell at heavily reduced prices to prepare to vacate.

In the meantime, some stallholders are looking to pool their resources to move their wares to another premises, such as a warehouse, shed or shopfront to keep trading.

Ms Todd said she was one of about 50 remaining stallholders at the market which had started up more than 30 years ago after the drive-in closed down.

She said over summer, some stallholders had been waiting at the gate at dawn to try and find a spot to trade on the day.

“One of the stallholders here used to go to the drive-in with her boyfriend,” she said.

Ms Todd said the market often fundraised for charity and also provided an opportunity for people to find affordable essential household items.

“We had one couple with three kids come here and they didn’t even have a bed, we sold them furniture real cheap. Another bloke came here freezing and found a cheap heater,” she said.