A Real Australian Icon and an Amazing Exchange with a Decorator

If you read my recent post about Queensland’s top iconic locations, you will know that the people of Queensland have been voting on the top 150 icons in the state. That got me thinking, “What are the true icons of Australia?”

Of course, the easy answer is kangaroos, boomerangs and didgeridoos. But I was thinking more along the lines of the every day icons, the household names of which every Australian is aware and which make Australia, well, Australia.

I have already introduced you to two such icons in Crazy Clark’s and Super Amart when I asked the question is Australia in recession? (Apparently definitely almost certainly not I think is the current answer by the way). Time to meet another great Australian icon.



I was introduced to Bunnings very early on in my new life in Australia. In Moving to Australia Part 14, I did mention the state of our new house which we had wisely/unwisely (depending what day you ask us) bought on the Internet. With so much work to do around the house, I had plenty of questions to ask the locals. They all started with the same six words…….

“Where’s the best place to get……

  • replacement doors.”
  • a new toilet system.”
  • some decorating tools.”
  • plasterboard.”
  • wood, some nails and fixings.”
  • replacement light fittings.”

No matter what it was, the answer was always Bunnings. I spent a lot of time in Bunnings in the early days. They also sell garden equipment, ladders, barbecues, replacement kitchens, replacement bathrooms, tiles, shelving and racking, power tools  and ….. oh, sorry, before I go on I should ask “how much time have you got?” – okay, we’ll leave it at that then.

Bunnings is big, it’s Australia’s B & Q, its Homebase, all rolled into one. There are other hardware stores. There’s a chain called Thrifty-Link which is pretty good, bearing in mind their stores are probably 1/10th the size of a Bunnings warehouse.

There is a Thrifty-Link just down the road from me and if they have what I need, I always go there, it beats driving 30 minutes each way to Bunnings. There is a third hardware chain called Mitre 10, so Australia is well covered for hardware.

But Bunnings is the biggest and they also claim their prices are far cheaper than everybody else’s….. but they’re not always the cheapest.

An Amazing Story About Buying Paint.

I had a huge amount of painting to do to knock our house into shape. There was so much work involved, in a weak moment I decided to get a quote from a professional decorator. He was a very friendly local guy who was very thorough. After a couple of hours going through everything he said he would return the next day with my quote. He did.


I did say it was a huge amount of painting. Anyway, I told him I would be doing it myself.

Later that day, I was on my way to Bunnings to buy the paint. I stopped off at the bank on the way and who should I bump into in the car park? Yes, of course, the decorator who I had earlier told was not going to get the work.

“What a coincidence, I’m just on my way to Bunnings now to buy the paint” I said. “Don’t get it from there!” He replied. He then told me exactly where I should go to get the best deal on paint and all decorating tools. He told me to tell them I was a friend of his, and to explain I had a lot of work to do. He said I should then ask for a traders discount exactly the same as he gets.

So I did (as he said) and I did (get the discount). He saved me around $400 – $500, I bought him a slab of beer (the local currency for Queensland tradies). He was happy and I was happy. That was 18 months ago and he remains a friend still today. Can’t imagine that would have happened back in England.

That aside, Bunnings IS an Australian icon. Ask Bill.

Bill the Bunnings Bear

Bill the Bunnings Bear

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • djmcbell April 11, 2014, 8:12 pm |

    The “Lowest Prices Are Just The Beginning…” on the Bunnings Bear is a tad suspicious and makes me think they’re looking at world domination.

    • BobinOz April 14, 2014, 5:15 pm |

      Oh dear, now that you have pointed it out, that little bear has become quite scary!

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