Feature: Old bus depot markets in Canberra enable visitors to travel through cultures

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-11 17:04:22|Editor: xuxin
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AUSTRALIA-CANBERRA-OLD BUS DEPOT MARKET

A vendor makes Chinese pancakes during an international day at Old Bus Depot Markets in Canberra, Australia, on Feb. 10, 2019. The old bus depot in Kingston of Australia's capital Canberra stopped housing buses more than three decades ago. On each Sunday, however, it is still bustling with visitors. It is now the Old Bus Depot Markets, one of the most popular markets in Australia. After the Chinese Lunar New Year, it witnessed an international day that brought visitors to different cultures. (Xinhua/Pan Xiangyue)

CANBERRA, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- The old bus depot in Kingston of Australia's capital Canberra stopped housing buses more than three decades ago. On each Sunday, however, it is still bustling with visitors.

It is now the Old Bus Depot Markets, one of the most popular markets in Australia. After the Chinese Lunar New Year, it witnessed an international day that brought visitors to different cultures.

Baba Alhadji was the owner of a handmade West African mud cloth stall, with colorful fabrics of different sizes and patterns sold there. "The paint, from leaves and bark, was mixed in mud for the coloring," he said.

Janice Nelson was embroidering handkerchiefs. At 83, she has been in the market for more than 10 years. While such hand-embroidered handkerchiefs are rarely seen nowadays, her products with initial letters and typical Australian animals attracted lots of visitors.

"Usually it takes an hour or one and a half hours to finish one handkerchief," she said. Last year, she made 2,000.

Chinese elements are surely indispensable at the market.

Wu Bo's stall sells Chinese paintings and calligraphy, which are made by her father. She came to the market last year.

"Local buyers like the colorful paintings," she said. "The plum blossom paintings sell well and they also like the lotus and fish one, because they said the fish could bring good luck."

"The products sold in the markets were mostly unique and hard to find elsewhere," said Sally Liu, managing director of the market.

That is why the market was founded in 1994, when two Canberra women, Diane Hinds and Morna Whiting, had the idea of opening a weekly market in Australia's capital.

"At that time there were only some 20 stallholders, whom they managed to find with their relations," Liu said.

At present, the old depot is home to 120 regular stalls. There are also casual stalls, with about 4,000 registered in the system. The market have won many Australian tourism awards.

Last Sunday was close to China's Lunar New Year. Celebrations were held in the market with traditional dragon and lion dance. When the performers, some were Chinese and some not, entered, a large crowd applauded and took photos.

Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Andrew Barr was also at the site on Sunday. In an interview with Xinhua he said Happy Chinese New Year to the Chinese people.

"We hope this will be a wonderful year for Canberra, for all Chinese Australian living in Canberra, and for stronger relations between Canberra and Beijing, and Australia and China," he said.

He plans to lead an ACT delegation to China later this year, noting that the Chinese community is an important part in Canberra.

"Mandarin is the second most spoken language in Canberra after English," he said. "And we have very strong ties to China. Canberra and Beijing are sister cities. We will celebrate 20 years of sister city relations next year."

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