There is something very special about an antiquarian bookshop in a rural town. Even more lovable are their owners, who collect, cultivate, protect and share knowledge while selling quality books. That’s true of Ed Irons, who runs the Woodend Bookshop with his wife Christine. He spoke to Elsie Lange about why he loves selling books in the Macedon Ranges.
What is your connection to Woodend?
It was originally about the bookshop and as a lifelong visitor to antique shops I visited Woodend Bookshop and became interested. As things progressed, I became the owner of the bookstore.
What do you like about Woodend?
I sometimes think of the motto “I know because I read” because if you want to discuss and be informed, it’s always good to have evidence. People who read books and people who care about understanding their world help us not to work in ignorance. There are many people in Woodend who are informed, interested and caring to make the world a better place. That makes Woodend a great place for me.
What, if anything, would you change about Woodend?
I would like to see the relationship between the council and the trading population of Woodend improved. There is room for more work there just to work with the Community Building Council. I’m sure the council wants it, I’m sure traders want it, I’m sure the people want it.
Where is your favorite place to spend time?
The Paysanne Cafe or the Full Moon Saloon, these are two beautiful places. They have good food and friendly staff.
What would surprise people if they knew about you?
I have an artistic background, am good at drawing and know my art history. I taught in this area at university and tutored fine arts, so I guess that’s something special about me.
What does an antique shop mean in a place like Woodend?
We’re in the recycling business, which is a good thing to start with. People tend to bring me their good books that they either don’t need, or are from their parents, or that they downsize. They give me these good books because they think these books are definitely too good for the dump and probably too good for the opportunity shop. As someone once said, I have Christmas every day. People bring a box of books and I don’t know what will be in it, and sometimes there are wonderful treasures.