From humble beginnings, our story began in 1992. From a simple idea to open a weekly market in the Nations Capital, to what the Old Bus Depot Markets is today – we could have never forseen what the Markets have become. We had no idea what lay ahead of us all that time ago – but we were happy to be along for the ride.
More than a decade on, despite all our passion and drive, we could have never imagined the community that has become the Market today. A place full of wonderful characters and their products that all come together each Sunday to make the Old Bus Depot Markets. Combined with the support of the wonderful Canberra community, and good things have happened!
But back to we two – Morna and Diane. Morna Whiting was the ideas genius and mulled over her concept in 1992. ‘Would Canberra embrace a high quality weekly market?’ She looked at buildings, chatted to people about what makes a good market and thought about style and products. Enter Diane Hinds, a friend of Morna’s who she invited to be involved, who contributed her own unique set of skills yet a matched enthusiasm.
We found the perfect setting, a large industrial space in an old bus depot on Wentworth Avenue, Kingston. But stiff competition for the building had us produce a detailed and imaginative submission to government and we were ecstatic when our bid was accepted. Following some professional surveying of our fellow Canberrans, we took the final decision to operate a weekly market each Sunday.
September 1994 saw the beginning of a ‘Canberra icon’ – the Old Bus Depot Markets. After all the build up to that first day, which was officiated by the ACT Chief Minister of the time, Rosemary Follett, and after we finished picking up rubbish from the floor of the venue with our rubber gloves, we sat on the bonnet of Morna’s car and said to each other, ‘My God, we have to do this all over again next week’!
We are now into our 19th year at the Markets and have seen and experienced many things – a move in 1998 to the present Old Bus Depot building next door to what was known to many as the Powerhouse (now the Canberra Glassworks), a warm welcome into the National Capital’s tourism sector, the illness and passing of a number of much loved stallholders, witnessing the establishment of strong national businesses who had their start at the markets, the induction into the Australian Tourism Hall of Fame, and the inclusion of the Old Bus Depot Markets into the top ten Canberra ‘Places of the Heart’.
The venture has paid off in so many respects, and everyone who visits the Market is sure to see why. The Market is a hive of creativity and expression each and every week. It’s a place where talented and creative people can exhibit their wares as well as a place where handmade and personal touches are warmly appreciated. None of this would be possible without all our incredibly talented stallholders who come together each week – and it definitely wouldn’t be possible without the support of our enthusiastic Market goers who are ready and raring to explore every weekend.
Our journey continues and it is our great pleasure…
– Diane Hinds and Morna Whiting, Old Bus Depot Markets.