From Queensland to Tasmania, local artisans are reintroducing both handcrafted items and an age-old bespoke service, resulting in unique souvenirs for the discerning traveller.

Mention a Mora-Igra umbrella or a Salvio dance shoe to a 90-year-old Sydneysider, and chances are they will know exactly what you are talking about – these bespoke, Australian-made goods have been crafted with care and dedication for many decades. But while these beautiful items have survived the impact of cheap foreign imports and changing consumer demand, many other traditional locally made products have simply disappeared.

Fortunately, times are changing and Australian artisans are emerging from the woodwork to reintroduce quality handcrafted items and an age-old bespoke service. And it seems discerning travellers cannot get enough of these unique souvenirs.

Sharp investment in Western Australia
In Western Australia's coastal town of Albany, David Brodziak designs, cuts and forges custom-made knives, a true "art form", as he sees it. And he should know.

With a background in art, woodwork and metal work, Brodziak is one of the only full-time knife makers in Australia. He has worked up to 12 hours a day since 1990, forging both the metal and handles he uses in his products. Many blades feature elaborate engravings (done by Marcello Pedini, a master engraver from Victoria), or colourful medieval and fantasy images (painted by Carol Anne O'Connor, a local artist). For handles, Brodziak favours the rarer West Australian hardwoods, such as western desert myall or york gum burl, plus stones of West Australian jade.

His clients range from avid knife collectors to well-known restaurants. A recent commission – 80 steak knives for Sydney's exclusive Asian restaurant, Momofuku – prompted a flurry of orders for similar knives.

A large ready-for-purchase collection – from culinary knives to the "She Devil" dagger, a small fantasy-style art piece with a hand painted scabbard – is on display in Brodziak’s home (which doubles as his informal showroom), or you can commission a knife to your liking (ring ahead to make an appointment; 0427-447-245). "We don't meet in my shed because it has 22 years worth of dust and is organised chaos. It's full of boys' toys – filing equipment, a gas forge, grinding machine and the like," he laughed. Prices start at around 300 Australian dollars.

A unique egg in Queensland
It is worth visiting tiny St George, a rural town 600km west of Brisbane in Queensland, merely to chat to the charismatic owner of The Unique Egg. For 59 years, Greek Australian Stavros (Steve) Magritas has carved intricate designs – from a Greek discus thrower to portraits painted from photos – into emu eggs, whose shells are about 10 times the size of a chicken egg. He believes that he is the only self-taught, hand-carver of emu eggs in the world. His collection of more than 200 eggs is housed incongruously in his sports store, Balonne Sports Store, but works can also be commissioned (call 0746-253-490). You will be in good company; US President Barak Obama owns a “self portrait” egg, commissioned in 2012 by the US Embassy.

Magritas has come a long way since he arrived in Australia more than 60 years ago, a poor, 16-year-old post-war immigrant from mainland Greece. He first made his living as a kangaroo shooter in outback Queensland where he learned about and fell in love with emus, Australia's largest native bird and the second largest bird in the world after the ostrich. Magritas stresses that no one egg – with various colours ranging from blue-green to translucent white – is the same. "Each egg is a fingerprint," he said. And that is even before he starts carving his unique designs. He sources the eggs through a registered farm or aviary (emus and their eggs are protected in the wild), then treats the eggs with a special resin to harden the shell. Incredibly, to carve the egg, he uses a reshaped razor blade.

One egg takes a minimum of 100 hours to perfect, and a commissioned egg starts at around 700 Australian dollars.

Shoe time in New South Wales
Master shoemaker Andrew McDonald
, one of only a handful of traditional cobblers in Australia, has been shodding his clients since 1992, from locals to celebrities (Nicole Kidman owns a pair) to Hollywood characters (he has created boots for actors in Superman  and the Star Wars Trilogy). He learned his trade in the New South Wales capital, and later worked in London under famed John Lobb of London, shoemaker to the Royal Family. These days, he and his team of four design and make bespoke handcrafted shoes from his workshop in the elegant Strand Arcade, one of Sydney's historic shopping arcades in the Central Business District. Here you can choose from ready-to-wear stock or be fitted for your custom-made shoes. For the latter, McDonald prefers three fittings in person and asks in the first instance for clients to bring along a much-loved pair of shoes.

McDonald's footwear is made from various materials, including horse leather, bison leather and even vegetable tan kangaroo leather, finished with an iron filings stain. "We see leather as the blank canvas and look at ways we can give it some texture," said McDonald. "We also try to replicate textures and colours that reflect the Australian landscape's earthiness – its colours, tones and textures." Prices start at 1,600 Australian dollars for a bespoke pair of shoes.

Strumming in Tasmania
After heart surgery in 2005, Mark Gilbert was told by doctors to rest one day a week. But he said he could not then and cannot now. Instead, from his workshop in Hobart, Tasmania, Gilbert makes electric guitars for local and international clients, including the Canadian-born blues guitarist, Wolf Mail.

Formerly a teacher, graphic designer, screen printer and a long-time lover of blues music, Gilbert made his first guitar in 1987. He lent it to some friends who played in a band, and it hit a high note. They spread the word, and the rest, as they say in showbiz, is musical history.

Gilbert's superb electric guitars are all made from Tasmanian timber – all from a sustainably managed forest – including black heart sassafras and fiddleback blackwood, both internationally renowned tonewoods. Models include the delightfully named Thylacine (another name for the native Tasmanian Tiger; decorative stripes cover the top) and the Spotted Quoll (an Australian marsupial; with large dots inlaid into the top). Buyers can also specify custom inlays on the body or fret board.

Gilbert spends around 150 hours on each guitar and prices start from 5,000 Australian dollars.

Caffeine crazes in South Australia
Ever since Greg Pullman, founder and owner of Pullman Coffee Tampers in Adelaide, South Australia, resized the ill-fitting tamper for the his new coffee machine in 2002, he has been fixated on the process. So he started making bespoke coffee tampers – a small round disc with a handle used to press, or 'tamp, the ground coffee – for commercial and domestic coffee machines. Ten years later, he has sold more than 8,000 individually numbered tampers worldwide.

The tamper-making process requires great attention to detail. Pullman personally measures, cuts and sizes metal bases for different coffee machines. A local wood turner then makes the wooden handles using local hard woods, such as jarrah and Australian oak.

Sometimes, Pullman will use wood supplied by a client. "One recent client who was opening a cafe in a former World War II bunker in Queensland sent down some of the bunker's ironbark wood," he said.

Pullman said that of all the equipment to make a coffee, the tamper may be the smallest – but is the one with which you have the most relationship at a personal and physical level. "You wrap your whole hand around a tamper," he said. "The ideal tamper should be comfortable and ergonomic, and made to the perfect size for the coffee machine. As far as possible we design our tampers to be an extension of the user's hand. If you do not get the tamper right, it can cause problems with the coffee."

Unfortunately, there is no outlet to visit, but Pullman Tampers are available from retailers around Australia. For bespoke tampers contact coffeetamper.com.au; prices start at 130 Australian dollars.

Bicycle envy in Victoria
When winner of the 2011 Tour de France, Australian Cadel Evans, mentions you in his book, Close to Flying, you must be doing something right. Darren Baum, of Baum Bikes in Geelong, Victoria, has made a couple of bikes for Evans. Though “made” is an understatement.

Considered one of the top 10 bicycle makers in the world, Baum designs and engineers, fits for bio-dynamics and constructs each individual bike frame. He even paints and details frames according to clients' wants (the quirkiest example being when a client handed over a sock by British clothes designer, Paul Smith, for inspiration). His road bike models, which start at around 7,000 Australian dollars, are named after coffee typestyles – cafes being the universal place for riders to meet – including Ristretto, a short shot of espresso, and Cortado, espresso with a small dash of warm milk. His mountain and touring bikes have names equally as quirky.

Trained in aircraft maintenance and welding, Baum turned to bikes after his career as an elite level cyclist was ruined when he was injured in a car accident. This sparked his interest in how biomechanics and bike design could be used to increase cycling performance.

He sold his first commercial, custom-made frame in 1996 and he has been on a roll ever since, making and selling his hand-made bicycles to cyclists in Australia and overseas.

Each bike's chainstay is etched with the phrase, "Handcrafted in Australia".