Lyle and Tracey Willersdorf were a farmer and school teacher looking for a tree change when they decided to buy Book City Ballarat. The couple moved from a small town in the Mallee so their four children could have a more extensive education, and having always loved books and reading, thought it was a great way to start a new chapter in their lives.
Lyle and Tracey enjoyed bringing many varying authors to Ballarat, and ran their successful bookshop in Sturt Street for more than a decade, before moving to 22 Lydiard Street earlier this year.
The heritage-listed building belongs to the Old Colonists’ Association of Ballarat, a club that originated with the early gold rush miners in the area.
The building dates from 1888 and features an architecturally significant Classical Revival façade, which derives from Renaissance design.
The shop, now trading as Collins Booksellers on Lydiard, has a unique interior and detailing, including a pressed-tin roof, old-style bookcases, timber floors, open fireplaces, a heritage front counter and old-fashioned signage.
The internal walkways connect the three parts of the shop, which are dedicated to fiction, nonfiction and children’s/young adult titles.
The bookshop is a book lovers paradise for young and old, and in September was awarded the National Collins Franchise of the Year award, no doubt a fairytale chapter in Lyle and Tracey’s book-loving adventure.