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Born within the sound of Bow Bells, Barry St John of Humphries, Baron von Le’gPulling arrived in Castlemaine in 1801*. The Baron brought with him nine of his five children, two lurchers and the very first question mark ever to be used in Central Victoria.

As a roundhead fleeing the restoration he hit upon the idea of becoming a rag and bone man thinking it a capital way to earn a living to support his twelve children and Vivian, his ‘wife’. As a young girl Steptoe & Son was his favourite TV show and even today in polite society The Baron will all too willingly recite whole passages from the 1960s sitcom — particularly those said by the Paul Hogan character.

Now the Baron knew the Victorians loved a second hand bargain. Unfortunately he confused Victorians (those living during the reign of Queen Victoria) and Victorians (those living in the state of Victoria, Australia) so when he asked Google  “Where should one set up one’s ye olde curiosity shoppe?” it was Castlemaine he found languishing somewhere near the bottom on the 67th page of search results.

Henceforth The Baron was hell bent on moving his family to the land Down Under. Filling two containers of bric-a-brac, second hand stuff, vintage clothes and some of that Scandinavian furniture he never had much time for, The Baron sailed triumphantly out of Portsmouth on the square rigged Batavia in 1903. Waiving frantically from the dockside, his family (who were due to sail with him) were shouting indiscernible things at him. Stoically he turned his back on them, uttering, what was to became his immortal catchphrase, “Couldn’t organise a pissup in a brewery”.

His 24 month journey took in the Suez, the Capes Horn and Good Hope, the Suez again (remarkable as the canal was not yet built the second time through) and, on the final leg (pulling), the aqua challenged Alice Springs Henley-on-Todd Regatta in which The Baron was an also ran.

The Castlemaine Vintage Bazaar you see today is the original market The Baron established in 2016 at The Mill Castlemaine. He is joined in the business by a multitude of cousins (though some vehemently claim to be unrelated) and within their individual stalls can be found furniture, clothes, ephemera, homewares, knick knacks, handmade items and of course many a wigwam for a goose’s bridle.

*We can be certain of this date as that well known nosey parker Pepys wrote it on a post it note and the British Museum have it on display in their popular Dubious Room. So there.

Find what you’re not looking for.
Follow The Baron’s Instagram feed.
It’s bonkers good.

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The Baron’s five day interpretive dance installation is a
low light every year at the Castlemaine State Festival.

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