From humble beginnings, the Old Bus Depot Markets’ story began way back in 1992. From a simple idea to open a weekly market in the Nation’s Capital, to what the Old Bus Depot Markets is today – we could have never forseen what the Markets have become. We are a place full of wonderful characters and their products that all come together each Sunday to surprise and delight all who pass through our doors.
Our markets began with the ideas of two Canberra women – Diane Hinds and Morna Whiting. Morna 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.
The pair found the perfect setting, a large industrial space in an old bus depot on Wentworth Avenue, Kingston. But stiff competition for the building had them produce a detailed and imaginative submission to government and they were ecstatic when their bid was accepted.
The first market was held in September 1994, the beginning of a ‘Canberra icon’ – the Old Bus Depot Markets. Over the markets’ 22 year history, the owners saw 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’.
Another big change came in early 2016 when Diane and Morna decided to pass the baton to new owners. The markets hit the next chapter in their long Canberra history as the business was sold to Iconic Market and Events Pty Ltd, headed up by the ever-eager Managing Director, Anthony Niravong. Diane and Morna played a large part in personally selecting Anthony as they felt he was the right fit for the markets as they bid farewell with so many fond memories.
Anthony is a Canberra local. Coming from a Lao and Thai speaking family with Chinese heritage, he has studied and lived in Canberra since 2004, and has a strong 20+ year history in hospitality and retail. Above all, Anthony says Iconic will maintain everything that the markets are, and will continue their focus on Australian made, hand crafted and premium products. He will ensure that the markets continue to be recognised locally, regionally and internationally as Canberra’s much-loved, tourism-award winning markets.
Today the markets remain 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.
In 2018, the Old Bus Depot Markets was nominated as a finalist in the Telstra Business Awards under the “Small & Succeeding” category.
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…
– Anthony Niravong, Old Bus Depot Markets.