Walking into the Old Umbrella Shop in Launceston, it is difficult to know what to look at first.
While the antique cash register, a multitude of historic and modern umbrellas and other items all are causes of interest, it is not just the curios on the shelves worth discussing.
Approximately 80 volunteers help to keep the shop on George Street running.
They provide visitor information as well as delving into the curious history of the shop and its many umbrellas.
Noelene Burndred started volunteering about two years ago.
She received a call the day after she retired from nursing from a friend who informed her that she was signed up to work at the shop.
By the following month, Ms Burndred decided to give the shop a chance and hasn’t stopped volunteering ever since.
She met a variety of people while at the shop and discovered how passionate people can be about their umbrellas.
Ms Burndred recalled a Melbourne businessman who especially ordered a special umbrella from the shop after finding it in Launceston.
He was pleased to pick it up when he returned for another business trip, she said.
Out of the selection of colourful, shiny and patterned umbrellas, it was an animal print that caught her eye.
The umbrella opens upside down to prevent drips from landing on people as they get into cars and during their trips, she said.
The shop began in 1920 after it was purchased by Robert Walter Shott.
It remained in his family for three generations until the death of the last Shott, when it was acquired by the National Trust of Australia (Tasmania).
The store has developed its own unique persona of part community museum, visitor information centre and business.
Mary Lees has been volunteering with the National Trust of Australia in Tasmania for four years, spending the past three years at the shop.
“I don’t know of anyone who has given it away by choice,” Ms Lees said.
“Whenever I walk in the door, there’s always a welcoming feeling here.”
The unique and unusual store continued to attract people to stay, she said.
Ms Lees pointed out her favourite umbrella from the history section – a small, white French linen umbrella from the 1850s.
It was used for the horses, which were used to pull carriages of brides in France, she said.
“There’s an umbrella for everyone.”
You can contact the Old Umbrella Shop on 6331 9248 for more information or to discuss volunteering.