A local institution, Rozelle Markets is at risk! This is sad news for anyone who has enjoyed a weekend stroll through the grounds of Rozelle Public School to pick up some bric-a-brac bargains, enjoy some yummy food, meet some local characters and to listen to the live music.
Please help us save it.
This is Jeanne’s Story, The story of ROZELLE MARKETS:
I was 37 when I created Rozelle Markets in November 1991.
I was an Inner West Mum and had one daughter, (Ilana) at Rozelle School aged 7 years, and another daughter (Annabel) starting there the next year.
After 2 years of being an active member of the Rozelle P&C and many fundraising events later, the idea of a car boot sale was thought up.With a school population of only about 90 students at that time there were very few parent volunteers.
I found myself with the job of organising the event. It was a success with stallholders asking when it was happening again! The Principal, John Charltan, was enthusiastic when I approached him with the idea of holding a regular Market in the school grounds.
From a young child I had thought up hundreds of ideas for creating a small business. Having been a stallholder in the early days at Balmain & Paddington Markets, this opportunity felt right.
The potential to create much needed funds for the school was also a major motivator.
Because there were so few students and teachers at Rozelle School at that time, the whole school community was like a big family. This opportunity also allowed me to drop off and pick up my children from school.
So I left my part-time job as a shop assistant in a pharmacy in Bondi after 13 years and dedicated myself to starting up Rozelle Markets.
Sunday, 3rd November was set for the grand opening.
Sundays were chosen so as not to compete with Balmain Market which operated on Saturdays.
With all the family’s savings used for advertising, pamphlets and hand painted street banners and signs, Rozelle Markets was born. It started out with many locals and parents having stalls and slowly but surely word got around and the stall numbers began to grow.
A deal was struck with Rozelle Hospital to hire their trestle tables for $3 each, as they only used them once a year for their fete. The tables had been built by the patients at the hospital-some are still in use today! We stored the Market tables in an unused area of the school building but it wasn’t long before OH&S rules stopped that.
I went to Hardware House (now Bunnings) and bought a large aluminium shed which had to be put together. I thought “it can’t be that hard” but let me tell you, it was.
I finally gave in and paid someone money I couldn’t afford but at least we had a useable shed for all our stuff. They don’t make things like they used to and we are now on our 3rd or 4th shed.
The original stall cost was $15, but after the first successful day, it was a struggle to keep the stall numbers up.
Stall cost was then reduced to $10. Out of the takings, the school was paid $5 per stall and $3 to Rozelle Hospital for each trestle table hired.
Needless to say pickings were small and a loan was needed to keep things afloat.
For 3 years I was the only employee, paying myself the princely sum of $100 per week. Most weekends my children would come and spend the day at the markets with me, sometimes having their own stall (selling ‘hedgehogs’ or their old toys and clothes). Our family dog, Saffy even came from the Markets as a puppy and spent many weekends there. She was a great security guard when I was alone at night in the grounds.
Originally the phone was open for bookings Monday-Friday 10am-6pm. With the answering machine activated only when I rushed out to pick up my daughters from school or do essential shopping. The grounds were marked out in chalk every Friday afternoon (with stallholder’s names) while waiting for the children to come out of school.
There was nothing professional in how the Market was administered. The very first map was drawn up on a bit of red cardboard left over from a school project and written in pencil. It was almost unreadable. Each week a new map was drawn up on whatever was around. It took quite a few months before a template was finally created to be photocopied which saved a lot of wasted time.
It also took quite a while before stall spaces went from being marked out in chalk, which sometimes washed away in overnight rain, to painting stall numbers on the ground.
The Market was only about 6 months old when a phone call from a Val Morgan salesman found a sucker! Being very naive I signed up for a 12 month contract for cinema advertising.
It wasn’t long before it was obvious that the artwork that Val Morgan had created in no way represented the small suburban struggling market, and the monthly cost was unmanageable. Contrary to what the salesman had told me, the contract was set in stone and a very big expensive lesson was learned.
In 1994 the Saturday Market started up as well as Sundays with Angela Beale managing on the day. It started out quite small but it quickly grew to be popular also.
When Dylan Glynn was employed to manage Sundays, I had more time to concentrate on developing the market and doing any other jobs that were necessary which weren’t always the most glamorous. Cleaning up the excess rubbish, digging holes for umbrella poles and clearing the blocked storm water drains etc etc…
As the Market grew, more staff were employed, mostly by word of mouth. Some were friends, friend’s children, neighbours and stallholders.
I have been extremely lucky finding staff through people I know. Some were stallholder who have become part of the team and do a fantastic job of making it all happen.
Today we have 11 staff, who are all highly valued.
Anne-Marie, the Markets manager started out as a friend and stallholder. She was also the Tarot reader and held various jobs at the Market over the years.
In 2008 Anne Marie became the Market manager. Anne Marie has had experience in all areas of the Market and is highly respected for her management.
My philosophy is to;
Live and let live,
do unto others as you would have them do unto you,
be kind and help those who help themselves,
look for win/win situations,
appreciate what you have,
look to have fun,
be as honest as you can,
It gives me immense pleasure when stallholders have a great day and customers are happy.
Thank you to all of you who come together on the weekends to make Rozelle Markets a village with it’s characters and colour.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE TENDER PROCESS
Over the years there was always a simple Licence Agreement drawn up by the school which I signed each year.
Seven years ago, the Department of Education drew up a 3yrx3yr Licence agreement which was fine.
When I asked for it to be renewed I was told that anyone using Department of Education properties must be put out for Tender.
Suddenly the security of the Market was under threat.
We worked diligently on putting our Tender together hiring a Tender writer to help us in these unfamiliar waters.
I visited a very expensive lawyer to guide us.
My daughters, now 28 yrs and 31 years work for the Market and the plan was for them to take over my role into the future.
On Tuesday 20th October our world came crashing down when I got that phone call from Stephanie Searle, the current principal, to say that we were NOT successful in the Tender.
My daughters,my husband, Anne-Marie, and myself have been on an emotional roller coaster ride as are the staff, stallholders and customers alike.
How can something so home grown and unique be replaced by outsiders who own many markets.
This is not just a money issue, it’s a social issue.
A local mother has set up a Facebook page to give you all a place to have your say.
“Save Rozelle Flea Market” to have your say.
We have also shared that page on “Rozelle Markets Official” Facebook page.
You can also sign up this petition https://www.change.org/p/stephanie-searle-nick-stevanovic-det-nsw-edu-jamie-parker-dbyrne-lmc-nsw-gov-au-vhannaford-lmc-nsw-gov-au-cchannells-lmc-nsw-gov-au-fbreen-lmc-nsw-gov-au-nswombo-ombo-nsw-gov-au-save-rozelle-markets#petition-letter