Beautifully located on the banks of the Macleay River, Gladstone is a charming village brimming with creativity, history and culture. Listed as a Creative Community on the Mid North Coast Arts Trail, the village is home to 19 preserved historical buildings and a host of art galleries, boutiques and cafes. Over the years, it has become a magnet for artists, entrepreneurs, foodies and makers who add life and energy to the town by opening studios, teaching artistic skills and sharing their knowledge. In a world that is constantly changing, Gladstone is a place that has genuinely retained its community values while opening itself up to innovative ideas.
The Gladstone Hub
Drive along Kinchela Street and you’ll quickly find the Gladstone Hub, a bright red building the heart of town. The idea for the Hub was hatched by local entrepreneur, Sarah Duffy, who envisioned a space where the creative community could come together to showcase their talents. Beginning with a couple of stores, the Hub continues to grow and evolve, much like the town itself. It now includes over a dozen small businesses offering everything from clothing, jewellery, eco and fair trade products and more. The Hub is also home to Whole & Happy, a bulk wholefoods store, a photographer’s studio and the new addition of acclaimed Crescent Head artist Carly Marchment’s gallery (where you can view her Archibald Prize painting of Kempsey local and actress Jolene Anderson). The Hub has also benefitted hugely from the addition of the Steam & Cedar cafe, where owners Dan and Beth dream up an ever-changing menu of fresh salads, healthy lunches and home-made treats – almost all of them based around local, seasonal and native ingredients.
Visit the Gladstone Hub on Facebook for the latest updates.
Learn, Make, Do, Create
Not content with simply showcasing their art, many Gladstone creatives are now intent on teaching their skills. At the Gladstone Hub, you can produce a watercolour painting with artist Beth MacDonald or attend a host of workshops held by Whole & Happy – past workshops have included macramé, essential oils, friendship ring carving, kombucha, Ayurveda and more. The Hub also occasionally features photography workshops, pop up shops, clothing and food swaps and flea markets.
Further down the road, the Organised Chaos Emporium regularly hosts DIY workshops with a focus on furniture upcycling with chalk paint and resin.
The Gladstone Quality Market
If you want to see the village at its best, time your visit to coincide with the Gladstone Quality Market, held on the third Sunday of each month. One of the most popular markets on the Mid North Coast, the Gladstone Quality Market features a mix of store holders selling fresh produce, home-baked bread, locally designed clothing, jewellery, homewares, art and plants. Held on the banks of the Macleay River, the market is a great place to enjoy live music while sampling the variety of street food on offer. It’s also the busiest day for Gladstone, so all the town’s delightful clothing stores and cafes are guaranteed to be open.
Visit the Gladstone Quality Market Facebook page for details on the next market.
With no big chain stores in sight, Gladstone is a strictly boutique zone. The village’s eclectic range of clothing, jewellery and homeware stores pride themselves on offering unique, high-quality and hand made goods that you won’t find anywhere else – perfect for shoppers who are looking for something a little different. Take your time browsing the stores tucked inside The Hub and along Kinchela Street and you’re sure to be rewarded with a cherished treasure to take home.
A piece of history
While many of the heritage buildings in coastal villages are a thing of the past, Gladstone’s culture-centric community has managed to preserve plenty of theirs. Visitors can enjoy a heritage walk that includes The Old Bank (now a fantastic cafe – try the scones!), the old post office and the original lock-up station. One of the most beautiful historical buildings also happens to be the town’s watering hole, The Heritage Hotel, where you can enjoy a drink and a lovely meal by the river.
The Macleay Valley Community Art Gallery
No visit to Gladstone would be complete without a stop at the fabulous Macleay Valley Community Art Gallery. The gallery features revolving exhibitions by Mid North Coast artists as well as collaborative exhibitions that focus on community events and celebrations.
For more information visit www.mvcartgallery.org
A Convenient Rest Stop
Situated just five minutes off the Pacific Highway, Gladstone is perfectly placed half way between Sydney and Brisbane, offering a convenient place to stop and grab a delicious lunch and coffee. The town is also a short 30-minute drive from Port Macquarie and is popular with day-trippers looking for a day out with a difference. Whether it’s a 15-minute coffee break or an entire day and night, time spent in the creative community of Gladstone is always worthwhile.
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