How it all started...It was 1979 when ceramic artist Christa Barton and her friend Gail Perry-Somers came up with the idea of holding a European style “artisans and farmers” market in Eumundi. The area had become a home for artisans, craftspeople and refugees from suburbia. What attracted people then, as now, was the town’s openness, sense of community and a simpler way of life.
Christa and Gail decided on the CWA Hall as the best placed venue in town. Their vision was to develop a retail base for local small crop growers and locally produced crafts, as well as offering a retail base for out-of-work young people – to develop their skills in handicrafts and food preparation.
On 24 March 1979 three marketeers gamely set up their stalls around the CWA Hall, with refreshments served inside. There was a grand total of eight visitors and a turnover of $30. The Original Eumundi Markets was up and running!
After only one year of operation, Eumundi Market gained a reputation as a source of energy, variety, freshness and friendliness, properties that still characterise it today. But it was the ‘locally made’ policy of its founders and the markets auspicing body, the Eumundi Historical Association, that has made the markets unique and this policy is still going strong today.
The market grows …
- By 1985, The Original Eumundi Markets had 97 stalls, with an estimated attendance of 143,000 people for the year.
- By 1990, it had grown to 203 stalls, with some 260,000 visitors for the year.
From the outset, the markets were popular with locals, but as the market community grew and grew, so did the interest from tourists visiting the Sunshine Coast.
- By the early 90’s, Eumundi Markets had became a ‘must do’ – for interstate and overseas visitors holidaying in the region. It also proved the perfect distance for day trippers from Brisbane after some quality retail therapy.
- By the year 2000, the market had grown to 350 stalls, and in 2002, the Original Eumundi Markets expanded to include Wednesday as well.
Our market today …Over the years, several independent organisations, including the Eumundi and District Community Association, have also set up other market operations adjacent to The Original Eumundi Markets, making the overall Eumundi Markets now the biggest art and craft market in Australia.
Our market community has now grown to more than 600 stalls and boasts an annual visitation of 1.6 million people!
The Original Eumundi Markets continue to focus on handmade products, with the ethos of “make it, bake it, grow it, sew it”.
The philosophy of locally handmade products and services has served the Eumundi Markets well over the last 30 years and it is the originality and uniqueness of the stallholders and their creativity that has customers coming back for more year after year.
Eumundi Markets is a vibrant, ever-evolving collaboration of many talented people seeking to share their gifts with the world. We play a pivotal role in supporting and promoting young local creative talent. We also recognise our responsibility in nurturing new businesses in their formulative years by providing a cost effective alternative for test marketing and trialing of new products and services, unique to this region.
We are also seeking to create the best sustainable shopping experience anywhere on this planet by changing our own practices to ensure our green credentials are pure. In conjunction with our local school, we have created a worm farm to process all compostable waste generated by the market and for the school to resell the organic fluids and castings to raise much-needed funds. The market is now plastic bag free and all packaging materials used are fully compostable.
In the future, we will be installing our own solar power generation and water harvesting to become self-sufficient with our energy needs, with the long-term aim of exporting any surplus energy within the community.
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