By Nicky Schulze
This story begins with a man. An academic man named Peter with a huge love of books and a very large personal collection, with topics as vast and varied as you’d find in any small library.
When Peter Woolcock died in January 2019, his wife Iris was left with a shed full of her late husband’s book collection. Iris had invited booksellers to view the collection who at best, said a couple of them would be worthy of reselling. The heartache of deciding what to do with something that was such an inherent part of her husband’s life, and a huge representation of the man he was, was made easier when fate brought Iris together with three friends called Nick, Liz and Andi.
Nick and Liz were friends that had far-fetched dreams of giving the community something it had long lacked by opening a bookshop in Willunga. The trio’s children went to school with Peter’s grandchildren and, through a discussion Andi had with Peter’s daughter Buffy, they heard about this epic book collection.
Nick, Liz and Andi met with Iris to inspect the books and their “genuinely insane idea” began to take shape. “This represents the collection of a clear polymath – a man with the most astonishing breadth of intellectual interests. The collection and the condition of the books is just extraordinary,” said Nick, “if these books are simply going to end up in an op-shop or dumpster, something better can happen.” And so, Unbound and Unwound was born, selling recycled books and textiles made by their partners, Caroline and Penny.
It’s not often you walk into a shop and realise you’ve stumbled across something very special. Unobtrusive and hiding meekly in the corner, the shop, located next to Spock Sisters on Willunga’s High Street, feels more like you’ve wandered into someone’s cosy lounge room. Lined floor to ceiling with books, this is just a portion of Peter’s immense collection. The remainder of which, are in boxes in Nick’s shed until room is made for further treasures to see the light of day.
In a touching tribute to where this story began, at their grand opening in October, Iris gifted them with a photo of Peter. It stands at pride of place in the centre of the shop, where he appears to watch approvingly and affectionately over his collection and what it’s become.
In talking to Nick, Andi and Liz, you can feel the genuine enthusiasm they have for this little passion project they’ve created. They simply love books and find great joy in being surrounded by them. The day jobs they continue to attend during the week enable this shop to remain a real project of love – for them and the growing community of fellow book lovers and visitors that stumble across it.
Situated at 30 High St, Willunga, Unbound and Unwound is open on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and the occasional Sunday. Visit ‘Unbound Books’ on Facebook or ‘Unbound Books Willunga’ on Instagram for updated hours.
In the photo of the 3 of them, L to R: Nick Fryer, Liz Newnham and Andi Doerr