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Nothing New

Nothing New: A History of Second-hand

Robyn Annear

‘Given the way we live now,’ writes Robyn Annear, ‘it would be easy to suppose that newness has always been venerated.’ But as this wonderfully entertaining short history makes clear, modern consumerism is an aberration. Mostly, everyday objects—from cast-off cookware to clothing worn down to rags—have enjoyed long lives and the appreciation of serial owners.

Nothing New is itself an emporium: a treasure store of anecdotes and little-known facts that will intrigue and enlighten the devoted bargain-hunter and the dilettante browser alike.


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Robyn Annear
About the Author

Robyn Annear’s books include Bearbrass: Imagining Early Melbourne, Nothing but Gold: The Diggers of 1852, Nothing New: A History of Second-hand and Adrift in Melbourne. Her podcast ‘Nothing on TV’ presents stories from Trove historical newspapers. Robyn also appeared in the popular 2022 documentary, The Lost City of Melbourne.

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Text publication date:
5 November 2019
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Praise for Robyn Annear
andNothing New

‘Enchanting…this book, like any good whodunit, rewards rereading.’

‘A ripping yarn with more twists and turns than a funfair hall of mirrors.’

‘[An] entertaining and insightful history…this book is a veritable treasure trove.‘

‘A comprehensive history lightened by quirky details and fascinating trivia’

‘Entrancing…[Robyn Annear’s] interest in cast-off clothes and other possessions is personal and passionate, and she gently, deliciously guides the reader through the history of second-hand.‘

‘[Nothing New] is Robyn’s adventure into our pre-loved past, a crate-crawl through public records. Rather than writing a history of who’s who, Annear goes underground to tabulate what was what, and how much it cost. Curling tongs and grape scissors, ivory fans and ormolu clocks – the book is a flotsam inventory, complete with quirky stories, and old words in a new light.’

‘[A] light, engaging read that anyone with an interest in history and a nose for a bargain will enjoy.’

‘Annear tackles her sprawling subject matter with her trademark wit and her knack for singling out the perfect historical reference. Nothing New is one of those books that will annoy the hell out of anyone who isn’t actually reading it because you can’t help but blurt out, ‘‘Listen to this bit’’.’

‘Robyn Annear makes the saga of re-used, preloved, recycled trash and treasure an enriching, entertaining, addictive read.’

Other editions ofNothing New
  • Nothing New
    ISBN: 9781925923018
    5 November 2019
    Buy ebook