8 Facts About The Camberwell Market

Since 1976, the weekly market has been luring patrons with vintage trinkets, knickknacks, and hot jam donuts. Founded by Balwyn Rotary, the market started with 48 stalls, and it has since grown to almost 400, with stallholders waiting weeks to secure a spot at the market. Treasure hunters can comb through second-hand clothes and records, antique toys, jewellery, artwork, keepsakes and a variety odds and ends from dawn until midday in search of rare gems. In celebration of this milestone, here are eight facts about the Camberwell Market.

Early Birds

The market starts at the wee hour of 6:30 am, with dedicated early bird treasure hunters known as ‘The Torch Brigade’ arriving even earlier. Equipped with headlights and torches, the most dedicated will scour stalls before stallholders have finished unpacking.

Photo courtesy the Camberwell Camera Club


Pay a visit to the Camberwell Market and you may just rub shoulders with television and film costume designers who have been known to scour the racks in search of period costumes. Boasting an impressive and ever-changing collection of vintage clothes, the market is often the first stop for designers seeking an authentic look.

Treasure Trove

Occasionally, one person’s trash really can become another person’s treasure, and at the Camberwell Market, you might just get more than what you bargained and haggled for. In the early 1990s, a painting was bought for $25 and resold for $12,000. Years later, a canoe ornament from the Solomon Islands was purchased for several hundred dollars, only to be sold in New York for several thousand. In 2002, one lucky buyer bought five dolls, only to find out later that they were rare fertility dolls from Papua New Guinea, and within a few days, they were sold to a French art dealer, and soon after to another European dealer.


The Rotary Club supports buskers so much that after the death of local saxophone player Neil Whitford in 2006, they immortalised him and his little grey poodle, Benjamin, with a bronze plaque. Rain, hail or shine, the pair entertained crowds at the Camberwell Market for more than 20 years.

Photo courtesy the Camberwell Camera Club

Kylie’s Hot Pants

Kylie Minogue’s ‘gay husband,’ long-time friend and stylist William Baker, is said to have picked up the infamous gold hot pants from the Camberwell Market for 50 pence. The hot pants became one of Kylie’s most iconic looks after she wore them in the music video for ‘Spinning Around’ in 2000. Kylie Minogue is originally from Camberwell, so this rumour could very well be true.

The Love Market

In 2001, two regular stallholders, Josephine Healy and Chris Poole, met, fell in love and were married at the market. One sold homemade bowties, the other novelty garden gnomes. The Rotary Club booked the couple a marquee, which they arrived at in a vintage car as a choir sang over the usual Sunday market noise. In August this year, the couple celebrated their 15th anniversary.

Photo courtesy the Camberwell Camera Club


Founded in 1976, the Camberwell Market was created by Balwyn Rotary to fund a wide range of community and humanitarian charity groups, and in 40 years, they have raised $15 million.* Among the charitable causes are Boroondara Community Strengthening Grants; local projects including Eastern Emergency Relief and Violence Free Families; Youth Development Grants such as Rotary Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Tertiary Scholarships, Secondary School Public Speaking Competition and National Youth Science Forums; international projects like Timor-Leste programs, New Zealand Earthquake Rebuilding, Nepal Earthquake Relief and Polio Eradication; and medical organisations including Australian Rotary Health, Box Hill Hospital, Cystic Fibrosis and Walter & Eliza Hall Institute.

Photo courtesy the Camberwell Camera Club. *$15m raised at time of 40th anniversary in 2016.


No matter where you seem to go, parking in Melbourne is seemingly non-existent with time limits and permits around every corner, but at the Camberwell Market, you’ll find free all-day parking only five minutes away on Inglesby Road, opposite the local council offices – as if anyone needed another reason to love the market.

Photo courtesy the Camberwell Camera Club

Originally published by Monique La Terra as “8 Facts About The Camberwell Market In Celebration Of Their 40th Anniversary” on Culture Trip in 2016.

Sunday 3 January 2021

We are open rain, hail or shine, including today! Bring an umbrella, face mash and check-in with the Market’s QR code.

Victorian Government QR code for the Camberwell Sunday Market.

Help us have a COVIDSafe Sunday Market this weekend by answering these three questions before deciding to visit:

“Have you:

  • returned from overseas or interstate in the last 14 days
  • been in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19? or
  • any symptoms of a fever or acute respiratory illness (e.g. cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose, or nasal congestion)?”

If any of these apply to you, and subject to Government advice (including case location requirements that can be found here – https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/case-locations-and-outbreaks) a patron should not attend the Market.

Also remember if you visit:

  • Wear a face mask at all times
  • Limit visits to 90 minutes
  • Maintain safe physical distancing (1.5m)
  • Use hand sanitiser
  • Maintain cleanliness (e.g. sneeze into your elbow, wash your hands)
  • Do not enter the market if feeling unwell

Thank you for your cooperation.

Photo by Michal Simson

Happy New Year

Goodbye 2020, a year when we rediscovered how much we all valued a little slice of life on a Sunday mornings. 2020 was a year that well go down in history and go with good riddance. Bring on 2021!

Amid this stormy year, that started with a bushfire disaster and ends with rays of hope, let’s be thankful for our wonderful market community. We have had it tough but the market is back and every week we are back raising thousands of dollars for charities, worthy projects and causes that strengthen the community that we are.

Images: Michal Simson

As we raised funds for the bushfire relief effort at the start of 2020, we are now back raising funds to support life in very a different world, with people in need like we’ve never seen it before.

From 1976 we have been in continuous operation, with no unscheduled closures in over 40 years the 2020 COVID lockdown.

But we are back. We’re all back, our community is strong and by doing what we love (fossicking through millions of unique, retro, recycled and handmade goods), we’re raising funds for Rotary and the needs of today.

2021 will hopefully be trouble free, and our thoughts are with Sydney as their lockdown grows, but we have been here before: we know we can come back. We know how important the Camberwell Sunday Market is to people far and wide.

So let’s say goodbye to 2020 and know that our market community is so much more than a ‘market.’ Collectively we set an example of resilience, of a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change:

  • we care for the environment by recycling – providing a venue for buyers and sellers to come together and find each other.
  • we provide low cost, recycled, repurposed or reused clothing and household items.
  • we bring a diverse community of sellers, artists, collectors, regulars and visitors together – providing a local and traditional gathering place
  • we raise thousands of dollars for an incredible array of charities, projects and causes each time meet.

Together we create something special. Something good. Something that will be back, even if we need to stop again at some point in the next year. We will just restart again. Because we can, because we will.

As a volunteer. As a permanent stall holder or a single time seller, As a one time visitor or a devoted Camberwell market shopper. You might come from a family where ‘Camberwell’ is in your blood and attended with your grandparents – and now you might bring your own children. You may buy flowers here every week or occasionally crave a hot jam donut; there is nothing like it.

Everyone contributes. No matter how big, or how small, only together can we create that special place and time. You are that ray of hope. And it is only together we will continue to do great things.

Happy New Year! See you on Sunday.

We’re now closed for Christmas but back on Dec 27th

‪Thank you for your truly amazing support during 2020! With your help, we are back to see 2020 out with bang. 🎉‬

As with every year, we are closed 20 December 2020, the Sunday before Christmas.

‪We hope you have a wonderful festive season & remember Camberwell Sunday Market will be:‬

‪🔴 CLOSED 20 Dec 2020‬
‪✅ OPEN 27 Dec 2020
✅ OPEN 3 Jan 2021‬
✅ OPEN 10 Jan 2021 & each week thereafter!

Your local Camberwell traders are open for Christmas retail shopping, after a tough year let’s shop local and support our local community & businesses.

There are many great specialty and family shops, plus all the big brands, in the Camberwell Shopping Precinct.

We love bringing a little character to the lives of our own patrons, so whether you’re looking for big or small speakers, check out Tivoli Hi-Fi’s website for some unique gift ideas.

Tivoli Hi-Fi Image: Instagram

Check-in this Sunday!

13 December 2020 is our last market day before Christmas, so check-in this weekend or it will 27 December 2020 before your next opportunity to join us.

When you check-in to the Camberwell Sunday Market this weekend, check-in also using the Victorian Government QR code. You may have seen the QR code system in use at other venues in Camberwell and around Melbourne.

Use of the QR code at the market is voluntary, free, secure and easy to use. Simply point your smart phone at the square QR code and follow the instructions to record your first name and phone number. The date and time you attended will be recorded to secure database and deleted in the event of not being needed.

For the safety of the whole market community, our COVIDSafe Plan is still place. All visitors to the market are still required to:

  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Wear a face mask at all times
  • Limit visits to 90 minutes
  • Maintain 1.5m physical distancing
  • Use hand sanitiser on entry

Retro • Antique • Collectibles • Vintage • Craft • Music • Fashion • Food • Flea Market