Old Belahlee was established in 1992 by M’Liss Jones. After taking numerous folk art classes, M’Liss decided to start a business with a shop front selling homemade wooden items beautifully decorated in folk art while also offering folk art classes for all who were interested.
The interest in folk art was huge and with the growing amount of students M’Liss needed a bigger premise to coup. Old Belahlee moved from the first floor in the Banna Avenue Mall to 146 Banna Avenue, an old two storey brick building full of warmth and character in the main street of Griffith. Down stairs was the gift shop and upstairs was the studio. Every four months M’Liss would have well known Australian Folk artists down for weekend workshops. Dianna Brant and Ann Johnston were amongst the favourites.
Old Belahlee is full of lovely gifts, home furnishings, fragrances and silk flowers displayed amongst antique furniture. M'Liss has worked very hard at maintaining exclusive and unique products.
In 28 years of trade the main question asked of M'Liss is "What is ‘Old Belahlee?". Well.... Belahlee was the name of the family’s farm at Burcher (near Condobolin) NSW. In 1907 M’liss’ Great Grandfather George Hilder and his wife Sarah won a ballot for a 5000 acre piece of land at Burcher.
In the back paddock of the property were Belah trees. And it is said the property was “in the lee of the Belah” (They were in the shelter of the Belah) and from that came the properties name ‘Belahlee’.