The Alchemy of SWC – The Printed Matter


Have you heard the Japanese term ‘tsundoku’? 

It translates to the art of acquiring reading materials and letting them pile up unread. We think it’s a beautiful concept, but it certainly doesn’t apply to the Shedquarters. The piles and piles of printed matter that fill the Shedquarters are devoured and cherished, and not a day goes by without some kind of flipping through, or sinking into, something wonderful.  

The digital revolution has changed the way we consume content, and the calls of ‘print is dead’ have been made for a while now, but the Southern Wild Co team will always love books and magazines. We love their tactile quality, their weight and noble presence, and the scent of paper and ink. They represent time, effort and tenacity – alot of love and hard work goes into their production. Plus, printed material comes with fewer distractions than the cluttered and often anxiety-inducing internet. When you read, it’s just you taking a meditative moment, travelling the world or into the mind of a fascinating stranger.

Southern Wild Co is undeniably born of the Australian bush, and the essence of the landscape echoes through all that we do. However, browsing our book and magazine collection will reveal inspirations that are truly international in origin. That’s the beauty of printed matter. It immerses you in the colours, cultures and moods of different places and moments in time, and puts your own world and reality into context. 


Vogue magazine on a sofaThe digital revolution has changed the way we consume content, and the calls of ‘print is dead’ have been made for a while now, but the Southern Wild Co team will always love books and magazines.

Books and magazines piled onto a comfy sofa with velvet cushions in green and pink colours

A pile of art books on an ottoman sitting in front of an antique sideboard with candles and ceramics.


The Shedquarters library is one for art and design lovers. Amid the stacks, you will find tomes on artists and art theory alongside typographic and graphic design books and stunning photography and interior design titles. Sentimental books come in the form of thoughtfully gifted one-of-a-kind vintage works or a loved one’s treasured collection of Reader’s Digest. Australian poetry, guides to aromatherapy and perfume, as well as an abundance of the best magazines, homegrown and from around the globe, are dog eared and referred to daily. 

We wear the ‘hoarding’ badge with pride and can’t imagine parting with our valuable collections of the following titles: World of Interiors, Milk Magazine, Elle Decoration UK  (particularly those issues when Michelle Ogundehin was editor), Cabana Magazine, Wallpaper, early Kinfolk (before it got a bit too highbrow!) and old design titles like Communication Arts, Eye Magazine, Creative Review, U&lc and Baseline. Phew. Now, are you getting an idea of the enormity of the international representation? 


A beautiful vintage book case in a home library and vintage interior

A collection of books in a home library


Colourful spines and dust jackets add texture and energy to all corners of the Shedquarters. Magazines rest underneath bench seats. Books collect on side tables, floating shelves and ottomans, or they are left open on the coffee table, acting like a tabletop artwork that you can swap with the turn of a page. The packed shelves of the Dutch Colonial teak cabinets, a lucky find from Angelucci in Melbourne many years ago, are constantly rearranged and create a lively backdrop for the dining table. There’s a method to the madness, though. Books are grouped by genre, making it easy to find a particular title in a rush. 


1950 edition of The Penrose Annual
A vintage book of Australian poetry on a red mohair blanket


You may have noticed an old-world aesthetic running through Southern Wild Co. It’s informed by a beautiful array of elements, but the history of graphic design is a particularly rich source of inspiration for us. The Penrose Annuals on our shelves date back to the 40s and 50s, the golden age of lithographic printing when graphic design was crafted by hand.

The Penrose Annuals were printed between 1895 and 1982 and are quintessential records for the development of mass media, advertising, photography, design and typography throughout the 20th Century. They are incredibly tactile and finely crafted books, with beautiful paper stock, foiling and embossing featured throughout. One of them features the entire suite of the Queen’s coronation stationery, which would have been inserted in to each edition by hand!

We think giving a book as a gift is the greatest thing in the world, especially if that book happens to be a rare vintage title perfectly suited to the recipient. The Australian Poets book was a gift from Georgie, friend of SWC, owner of Bimlow Cottage, fellow poetry lover and keen vintage hunter. With its delicate gilded cover design and pages of poetry inspired by Australian life in the bush, we couldn’t think of a more fitting book for Southern Wild Co.  


An open book on a vintage shearer's bed featuring an ethically sourced deer skin, antique bookcase and candles

Cabana magazine tops a pile of books in converted shearing shed

It’s all too tempting to push the work aside, relax into a comfortable spot and read all day. We’ve got friendly armchairs that give you a cosy embrace, a sun-soaked day bed loaded up with softs, and sofas that invite you to snuggle in and put your feet up. Yep, we have intuitively designed multiple nooks to accommodate our beloved page flipping and those distracted moments when we mindlessly pick up a magazine only to submerge from the reading reverie hours later. 

How do you create a cosy reading nook? It’s simple. Pull in a few soft cushions, add a throw or a hide (choose ethically sourced!) and give yourself some room to lean back or stretch out. Good lighting is essential – you don’t want to strain your eyes – so bring in a lamp or position yourself by a window. Don’t forget to include a level surface to rest your tea and space to stack up more reading material. Switch off your phone, put the ‘out of office’ on, and settle in. 



Jessica Bellef


Sue Stubbs

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published