I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Melbourne last month - what a wonderful city! My husband and I are hoping to go again later in the year.
I only got to check out one pen shop while I was in Melbourne, and that was Taft's in Westfield, Doncaster. I was very unimpressed... since I have not been to any other Taft's stores, I can only assume that the Doncaster store is carrying just the "popular" brands.
All the usual suspects were there - Montblanc, Visconti, Dupont, Caran d'Ache, Montegrappa, and Lamy. I asked at the counter whether they had any Japanese brands like Pilot or Sailor, but the woman had not even heard of those companies making fountain pens! (I was a kind of surprised, because I didn't think Japanese makers were still *that* niche, but apparently they are.) She also had no idea about the caliber of pens being produced in Japan, this was evident by her showing me a very cheap student range of pens from Korea, saying this was all they had from "Asian companies". Needless to say, I found it very easy not to buy anything. :)
I fared better when I visited the beautiful Il Papiro in Degraves Street, which I stumbled on by accident while I was looking for an art store. Il Papiro only has a handful of stores, two in Australia, two in the US, and the rest in Italy. There were a lot of gorgeous leather journals to look at, many Murano glass dip pens, beautiful writing sets and lots of pretty bookplates and labels to personalise correspondence with.
I could have easily spent a lot of money, but I was most restrained, and only left with a set of writing sheets and envelopes, and a couple of sheets of labels, all embossed with my initial:
As yet, I haven't decided what pen and ink combination to use on my first letter... I'm thinking a nice ink would be Pilot's Iroshizuku Edo-Murasaki, though. :)
A more thorough write-up about this paper will follow.