Millinery, Myself & Molong
A couple of laps around the sun and winding up back where it all began.
Milinery, Myself and Molong - Robert Carroll
I first took an interest in Retail way back when in 1988 when I left The Central West and arrived fresh faced in Marrickville. That was the last time anyone would describe me as fresh faced.
I was 18 – fresh out of High School and greener than green. My first job was a salesperson at Clark Rubber, it was a great introduction to Retail and honestly I knew I was destined to always be a shopkeeper. I love meeting people and I bloody love the ceremony of buying something new or finding a solution to your problem.
In 1989 I saw a job advertised at the prestigious Strand – so were the times I ripped it out of the Sydney Morning Herald and applied in person. – My Hatting history really started there.
The next two years encompassed studying Millinery at East Sydney Tech College then Advanced Millinery – all whilst keeping in touch with the customers selling my own label Robert Carroll Milliner.
1994 saw the big move to London. I had been accepted into The London College Of Fashion and like every Australian was based in Earls Court and made some incredible friends and connections and knew travel would always be a big part of what made me tick. Moving home 12 months later I was welcomed back to my retail family at The Strand, over in the side business J N. Wright and co. I would stay under the Akubra umbrella up until 2018 when my one true love Sydney started to feel different as I was different. Home was calling and family became a pull I couldn’t ignore.
Fast forward a huge chunk of my life and I made the move arriving in Dubbo, to my sisters farm unsure of my next move but happy to be there. I had left the big smoke. That decision of leaving the city forever changed me. I was ready to be there and ready to see what would transpire.
I had a list of things I wanted to achieve in the country. One was finally getting my drivers license and the second was becoming a civil marriage celebrant. My new found freedom was a gamechanger and especially became invaluable as dad became poorly. Neil, my dad eventually was moved into care. Having my license meant I could drive to share a coffee with him daily and that is something I will forever hold dear. He was a brilliant man, a Bush Poet –
I spoke often with my closest friends still in the city, One of them was Pete – Pete and I had been long term mates and boozy lunch buddies. We would have our lunches at the pub, drink a schooner and fantasize about what our futures looked like. We both loved travelling, we spoke of many ideas – some great ones we cant remember and some that would stick. It really was inevitable that he and I are now working side by side again.
Pete and his partner Lian had also moved to The Central West, They’d found an incredible historic albeit rundown building in Molong. I knew nothing much of this little town that would soon become home. It was a road sign id driven past for the last 40 years.
When the second wave of Lockdown happened Pete, who was living in Sydney said why don’t you go and stay in Molong, so Sport my Chihuahua and I made the road trip too a better life.
Under the residence it just so happened to have the most amazing place for a shop, so about 2 years later and a Lot of work, and many beers with Pete at the local pub Molong Stores was born.
My father has passed, he is in a better place, and moving forward I’m planning on releasing a book of his country poetry in his honour. He was very talented man, and even won National Bush poet prof the year once.
So here’s to my next project for my dad Neil Carroll, a Molong Stores published collection of his works. Until this hits the shelves, I look forward to spending time with you in Molong Stores, Thanks for reading, Robert and Sport.