Campbell’s Store is a historic sandstone building that sits proudly at the gateway to Morpeth’s main street. Founded in 1821, Morpeth Village was once Australia’s second-largest river port and a thriving commercial hub in NSW. Today Morpeth is a flourishing community offering visitors a stroll down memory lane alongside fabulous food, shopping and wine tasting experiences.
James Campbell built his general store in 1835. From his first-floor lounge room window, he could watch the steamships unload his stock, from one of Morpeth’s twelve wharves, into his riverside warehouse. Goods were then carted up the hill and into Campbell’s General Store.
Settlers came from as far away as the Queensland border to shop at Morpeth, purchasing everything they required, from food to haberdashery, clothing, kitchen gear and building materials.
Today not much has changed – it’s even rumoured that James’ servant Elizabeth, who was murdered by a jealous lover still roams the upper floor rooms!
Campbell’s Store now houses the Morpeth Antique Centre with 25 dealers showcasing antiques, vintage, deco to retro and bric-a-brac. Don’t miss the first-floor book room, vinyl records, art glass, Morpeth Hat shop and over 5,000 buttons through the ages on display and for sale.
A stroll through the Antique Centre is a little like wandering through history, or your great grandma’s house… there’s something of interest for everyone, young and old. You’ll discover jewellery, chintz and china, depression glass, militaria, nautical and industrial, tools, coins, silver, kitchen gear, bakelite, Olympic, plush toys and tin toys and games. Here you get to relive the past in every nook and cranny of this fascinating store.
The former Servant’s Quarters have been converted into a tearoom, which serves a fabulous Devonshire Tea with real cream and fresh strawberry jam and leaf tea in a pot. Big breakfasts, light lunches and a selection of cakes, tarts and muffins with a steaming cup of coffee will allow you to recharge the batteries depleted by a morning of browsing this vast complex. Diners can enjoy both indoor or outdoor seating.
In the back garden area, you’ll find an old Brake Van and Slab Hut Cottage, which has been transformed into the most fabulous ‘man-cave’ by Robinson Ordinance. Militaria, hunting, sports, garage and transport gear is popular with one and all.
Wander down the path to the big blue barn-like building, which houses Morpeth Gift Gallery and Morpeth Investment Art Gallery. The gallery showcases the work of Internationally acclaimed artists who paint Australian wildlife, landscape, still life and marine art, and holds regular free exhibitions and demonstrations throughout the year.
Choose Australian made gifts such as skincare, socks, Akubra hats and belts from Morpeth Gift Gallery. International brands of clothing, handbags, collectable figurines, fine bone china mugs and teapots, plush toys and traditional wooden educational toys for children are all on offer for the discerning shopper.
Of course, if you are specifically looking for a six-foot brown bear or even taller giraffe, you’ve come to the right place. Morpeth Teddy Bears is home to hundreds of cuddly bears and animals, including Hansa, Gund, Peter Rabbit and Winnie the Pooh, Charlie Bears, the ‘Rolls Royce’ of teddy bears Steiff, Merrythought and Hermann Red and Green collectable bears from Germany and England. They are kept company by Kewpie Dolls and cloth dolls who are all waiting to be re-homed.
Morpeth Ginger Beer Factory & Gourmet Foods is right next door, so make sure you wander in for tastings of thirteen flavours of cordial, Ginger Beer, fudge, nuts, honey and gourmet foods. It’s a foodies paradise.
Campbell’s Store is a 40-minute drive from Hunter Valley Wine Country or Port Stephen’s Blue Water Wonderland and only 35 minutes from Newcastle and Lake Macquarie. Stores and dining are open Thursday – Sunday and public holiday Mondays from 10am until 5pm.
For more information visit www.huntervalleyguide.com.au