Mischievous, sexy, serious and fun, a voyage through the arts, craft, design and antique stores of Newtown offers all the colour, humour, pathos and charm of modern day mythological adventure.

Granted, there’ll be no slaying of dragons involved, but with magical buttons, mounted taxidermic Jackalopes, stumpy-tentacled octopus soft toys, stone sculptured gargoyles, raffia owls, Alice in Wonderland fob watches, mushroom lamps and much, much more, all the elements are there.

Now lets be clear, on face value, Newtown is not pretty. King Street, the suburbs traffic-laden main stem, is a mishmash of clashing shop facades, cars and people. But step inside one of these stores and beauty manifests in such variety and number that it can be a hard to take it all in.

Start your stroll at the suburbs geographical nexus, the meeting point of Enmore Road and King Street, where passengers on the inner-west train line emerge from Newtown Station. A short walk south down King Street is All Buttons Great and Small (419A King St), seemingly the purveyor of every button in the world.

Not so, says owner Lucy Godoroja. Despite walls dazzling optical nerves with buttons of every size and shape, tastefully arranged in vertical lines of colour (from grey to bronze to cream to purple, and so on) the buttons here represent only 2% of the world’s button market. But what a wonderful world of buttons to explore!

There are classic tailor buttons (of which there are 100 varieties in the world), handcrafted polyester deco-style buttons and buttons made from cow horn, coconuts, leather, stone, ivory, shell and felt. Now, every mythological hero needs an amulet, so why not a magic button? Choose your button like Indiana chose the grail: bottle top button, ladybug button, scrabble letter button… there’s even a button as big as your head! The choice is yours.

Myths also always feature a wise old sage and south King Street specialises in all things ancient. So visit some of its numerous second-hand and antique emporiums like Rosebud Antiques (571 King St), Envision 54 (473 King St) or Chris on King (527 King St). Soak up the wisdom of 1920’s bedside clocks, baby-sized apothecary bottles, 60’s sci-fi chairs, ancient periodicals and more. You will soon find your spiritual core.

Then, cross the threshold of Faster Pussycat (431a King St), where the cult of 50s garage rockabilly rules. Started by Tim Chillingworth, shortly after successfully hosting a similarly styled Hootananny Festival in Erskenville oval, circa 1995, Faster Pussycat is a temple to 50s delinquent cool. Browse racks of rockabilly clothing and leopard print shelves filled with beer coasters, tampon cases, wacky-wobblers, broaches and numerous other knick-knacks that stimulate dark mental recesses with swathes of titillating peep show girls, Betty Boops, diabolically choppers, Herman Munsters, ravenous tigers and more.

You have now entered the world of the supernatural. To survive you will need friends. They’re waiting in a street corner store called Made 590 (590 King St), only a few steps away. Supporting and selling the works of international and local artists, Made 590 offers cool screen-printed clothes, bizarre books (like ‘Awkward Family Pet Photos’) wacky illustrations and oh-so-groovy soft toys. Make friends with a fake taxidermy Jackelope (the fabled North-American rabbit/antelope cross) or one of the dapper anthropomorphised animals in portraits across the wall.

Then move on to the numerous terrains at Beehive Gallery (441 King St). Here owner Tsuneko Umemoto rents shelves to local artists whose unconscious territory manifests to varying degrees of success in giftware, purses, sculptures, soft-toys and jewellery, displayed in their specified zones.

Now, every hero must face his shadow. Stone, Fire and Water (459 King St) is a kingdom of stone sculptured gargoyles and mythic creatures that will strike terror to your soul. Face them, taste the blood of their fury and move on.

You will now, no doubt, need of a feed. Try the Pastizzi’s (Maltese filo pastries with delectable sweet and savoury fillings) at Pastizzi Café (523 King St), a local culinary hotspot, and take a nice long breather.

Now, double-back past the station on to north King Street, where Octopussy Design (260 King St), is home to some of the quirkiest, sexiest design goods and giftware from around world: gadget kitchenware, like the ‘King of Disco’ whose Afro hairdo serves as a washing up sponge, magically illustrated La la Land cards, whoopee cushions and a treasure trove of mischievous and sexy knick-knacks, like edible chocolate flavoured undies and glow-in-the-dark sex dice.

Like the cave of an ice princess, the white world of Kaboodle Designs (228 King St) offers handcrafted shabby chic and vintage inspired jewellery and accessories with a Paris meets Alice in Wonderland theme. Purchase an Alice in Wonderland fob watch on a table covered in yellowing pages of the tale; a necklace sporting a red, white polka dotted, mushroom air balloon (with a cute little rabbit in its porcelain basket); or a mama, a papa or baby sized Parisian suit case.

Last, but certainly not least, across the road is Pentimento (249 King St). Here you will find some of the best selections of art, film, design and photography books (Mark Ryden, Alexander McQueen, Banksy…) and delightful knick-knacks money can buy: brilliant irreverent cards, kids books (like ‘Harvey, the Boy Who Couldn’t Fart), scratch and sniff stickers, cool kitchenware and weird and wonderful things, like a dog pencil sharpener that sharpens your pencil in its rear – barking as you sharpen.

Your quest is now over. Why not wonder into one of Newtown’s myriad of quality pubs, cafes, restaurants and bars and sip and sup to the early hours?

You deserve it.

Visitor information featured in this article was correct at the time of writing.

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