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Hip and happening Newtown

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Newtown is one of those suburbs that defy description. Its roots are in blue collar workers and later, European immigrant. Although it has gentrified in some ways, it has maintained much of its working-class past. It is a place with a blend of old-timers, university students, ferals, goths, same-sex couples and those keen on alternate lifestyles.

King Street became Sydney's first suburban shopping centre and being a heavily industrialised area, shops blended with factories and workshops. Today, many of those factories have been converted into smart accommodation.

Busy King Street winds slowly through Newtown and is lined with restaurants serving cuisine from almost every country on earth. There are quirky clothing shops — vintage and new — homewares, second-hand goods, antiques, books and things eclectic which appeal to the bohemian residents.

Handbag maker Leo Monk has made a colourful impression on Newtown. He creates his fashion handbags from Italian leather in distinctive multi-panels in a mix of colours and textures. He creates limited ranges of designer bags — from 25 to 50 a week — in his workshop at the back of the shop. Leo's is the place to visit on your next handbag pilgrimage.

To match an equally unusual outfit to go with your new handbag, you must visit Yoshi Jones Boutique. Recycled Japanese kimono fabrics are turned into funky original clothing for men, women and children, as well as accessories, all full of colour and joy. They also make unusual toys and homewares.

Yoshi Jones is such a fun place to visit. Make sure you leave enough time to browse through the racks and shelves of unusual items.

If you've ever been frustrated by wishing you had just the right button to put the finishing touch to something special, you must visit All Buttons Great & Small in Newtown.

Their door handles are two huge four-hole buttons and once you enter, there they all are: buttons galore in every colour and style in an extravagant display.

There are buttons shaped like pansies, seashells, bees, lips, butterflies and ladybirds, little pencils, lollies and croissants.

It's all about buttons — they have books and watches, badges and mirrors and lots of creative ideas carrying a button theme. They also provide a button covering service and if you live out of town, they offer a prompt mail-order service.

Once you've had your fill of handbags, Japanese items and buttons, it must be time for something to eat. There's plenty of choice in Newtown and our crew decided to go Greek.

Steki Taverna is a Newtown institution serving traditional Greek food in a lively atmosphere. It is run by brothers Paul and Tony, who is the chef. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights they have dancing and music supplied by a guitar, keyboard and bouzouki.


Steki Taverna's set menu is $39.50 per person.

Virgin Blue has flights to Sydney.

One-way fares from;
  • Brisbane, $95
  • Melbourne, $110
  • Adelaide, $129
  • Darwin, $225
  • Perth, $229

There are limited seats which may not be available at peak times or on all flights. Fares are one-way on the Net. An extra $15 will be charged for phone bookings. A credit card surcharge of an additional $2 per person per one-way flight is applicable. Fares are correct at June 14, 2007 and are subject to change.

Prices quoted correct at June 14, 2007


Four kilometres west of the Sydney CBD.

For further information

Leo Monk Handbags
417 King Street
Newtown 2042
Ph: (02) 9557 5728

Yoshi Jones Boutique
134 King Street
Newtown 2042
Ph: (02) 9550 1663

All Buttons Great & Small
419A King Street
Newtown 2042
Ph: (02) 9550 1782

Steki Taverna
2 O'Connell Street
Newtown 2042
Ph: (02) 9516 2191

Virgin Blue
Ph: 13 6789

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