Saturday 2 November 2013

My Birthday Visit to the Historical Brisbane Home MIEGUNYAH

Last Sunday was my 60th birthday. Not being a huge party person, I decided it would be nice just to have a quiet day out with my family doing things that I enjoy. So a visit to "Miegunyah" and the "Windsor and Districts Historical Society" was planned. It had been about 38 years since Karen and I had been to "Miegunyah". Throw some yummy food, such as a Devonshire Tea and lunch at Subway, into the equation and you have what to me seems a great day out.

We left early so that we could arrive at "Miegunyah" just when it opened. Unfortunately, I didn't check the opening times before we left and we turned up half an hour early. At least we weren't late. Thank goodness for electronic devices such as laptops, iPads and mobile phones to while away the spare half hour.

"Miegunyah", an aboriginal word meaning 'my house', is a heritage home from the late Victorian period, now owned by the Queensland Women's Historical Association. It was built in the 1880s and is located at Jordan Terrace, Bowen Hills in Brisbane. It was purchased by the Queensland Women's Historical Association in March 1967 and opened as a house museum in June 1968. "Miegunyah" is on the Register of the National Estate, on the Queensland Heritage Register and classified 'A' by the National Trust. It is considered to be a particularly well preserved and fine example of a typical large Queenslander built in Brisbane in the last quarter of the 19th century. You can read more about "Miegunyah's" history here.

We were met at the door by our guide, a lovely lady named Marita, and invited into the entry hall. Marita's guided tour of the home bought everything to life. She knew the home's history well and many other interesting things about how the former residents would have lived. Although I have been interested in antiques and their history for most of my life, I still learnt many new things from Marita. For example, the numerous starched collars that a man would keep in a leather collar box on his dressing table were not just a fashion fad (as I thought) but were changed daily out of necesity because he would be wearing the same shirt possibly for the whole week. This fact, accompanied with only bathing once a week, would have resulted in a shirt with a very grimy collar, hence the solution of having a number of detachable collars instead. A guided tour is a must if you ever visit "Miegunyah".

Below are a few overall photos I took of some of the rooms in "Miegunyah".

The Drawing Room - most likely originally the main bedroom

Another view of the Drawing Room - showing the piano in one of the front bay windows

The Dining Room - very grand now but would have originally been two smaller rooms

Another view of the Dining Room - showing the other front bay window. Most of the joinery is red cedar while the floors are all of pine.

One room is set up as a Bedroom with a very nice brass & iron bed

The Kitchen - showing blue and white china on one of the kitchen dressers

The following photos show some of the other things you can expect to see on your visit.

This is the Dining Room fireplace. Under the two glass domes are two taxidermied miniature dogs. These dogs are believed to have been pets and specially bred to achieve their small size. Although these two dogs are reputed to be the genuine article, it must be understood that due to the Victorian's demand for the bizarre, the Victorian taxidermist became very skilful at faking tiny adult dogs. Are these two genuine? Let's believe so, however gross you may find them to be. You can read more here.

One of the miniature dogs - probably only about 10-12cm high

The other miniature dog - even much smaller than the first, probably smaller than a rat

Lactogen baby feeder in the Child's Nursery - had to take a photo of this as I collect baby feeders. This one is a little different to the Lactogen feeder that I have in my own collection

Salesman's samples of bentwood furniture. If I had to pick something, these three pieces would probably be my favourites. Would love to have them in my own collection.

Red Cedar display cabinet originally from the old Queensland Museum. I have seen a number of these cabinets from the Queensland Museum in recent years. Saw one at the Mary Kathleen Memorial Park and Museum at Cloncurry earlier this year as well as one similar in the Harrisville & District Museum last year.
This display cabinet housed a collection of Victorian gentleman's smoking caps

Very nice small size butter churn - often see the large size but seldom this half size version. Another item that would look good in my own collection

Nice assortment of vintage irons displayed in the Laundry. I believe the pressure spirit iron at the back right is a rather rare model. Very unusual with a wooden handle that would look more at home on a hand saw. 

Nice little gothic styled clock in the Gentleman's Dressing Room

We ended the morning with a yummy Devonshire Tea on the front verandah of "Miegunyah", overlooking what would have once been part of a large country estate but what is now inner city Brisbane suburbia.

TEA is now being SERVED - "Miegunyah" is still extremely fortunate to have it's original shutters on it's windows. This is one of the front bay windows

Rob and I ready to tuck into our Devonshire Tea. I believe the scones were freshly baked on site by Marilyn, the other  guide working with Marita and looking after visitors on the day.

Karen enjoying a cuppa and some scones with strawberry jam & cream

All served on a "Belle Vue Hotel" plate - could this be from the famous Brisbane Bellevue Hotel that was demolished amidst much controversy in 1979? If so, this could be a collectable in it's own right.

 A few more photos before we leave.

Another detail view of one of the bay windows - showing the space above the window. I imagine many a possum has spent a cosy night camped up there. I would have thought this space would have been sealed off.

The cast iron balustrade and columns were made by the Brisbane Makers of  SMITH FORRESTER & Co

Time to go after a very pleasant morning

A big thanks must go to Marita and Marilyn for their very warm hospitality and also to the 'Queensland Women's Historical Association' for the fine job they have done in preserving a beautiful piece of Brisbane's history.

Now off to the "Windsor and Districts Historical Society", but that's another story.  

Monday 30 September 2013

2013 Queensland State Bottle & Collectables Show (Part 2) - Johnnyfive Collectable's Perspective

Saturday the 21st of September saw The Queensland Historical Bottle & Collectables Cub host the Queensland State Show at the Morayfield Leisure Centre. This was the third year at this venue. The club was very fortunate to receive good local newspaper coverage, both before and after the show. Unfortunately, the numbers through the doors were still down on the previous year which means a change of venue is most likely for next year's show. Apparently, it is not unusual for the numbers to drop off after three years in the one place. I only hope that next year's venue isn't too far away as I have really enjoyed having the show so close to home.

Photo of me taken by "The Caboolture News" photographer to promote the show in our local newspaper.

For me personally, this year's show was as good as, if not better than, last years. Three of my four displays won first places and my swap and sell table did well. Last year almost half of my profits came from two baby feeders whose sale had been prearranged before the show, so I actually sold a lot more this year. I only bought three small items and would have come home with a healthy profit except for a last minute purchase by my wife, Karen. In her defence, Karen did buy a really nice item, an art deco travel clock with its original case. Overall, we just about broke even, managed to move some old stock and also picked up a few more nice pieces for our own collections.

Rob (my son) and Karen looking after my swap and sell table

 The following photos are of the four competitive displays I entered in the show. I seriously thought of only entering two or three displays due to the tight time frame to pack up at the end of the show. So glad I entered four as display numbers were down a little on previous years.

My Baby Feeder Display (1st Place in it's category). It is almost expected that I enter this category as I seem to have become known as one of those strange baby feeder collectors. I decided to put on as many feeders as I could as there was no limit to the number of bottles displayed this year.

I decided to enter the General Australiana category for the first time this year and was rewarded with another 1st Place. The Australian flag and a collection of gumnuts were used to compliment the display.

My Movie Memorabilia Display (1st Place). I have shown this display before (four years ago) at the first show that I ever exhibited at. I did, however change most of the foreground items this time.

My Depression Era Tool Box Display (2nd Place in the Single Collectable with a Written History category).
This tool box will be featured in more depth in a future post.

The following photos are of some of the other displays that interested me. You may have been able to sense a preference towards collectables rather than bottles in most of my posts. I believe this is because of my love of social history and of the everyday items that people used in their everyday lives. I have, however, included a number of bottle displays below as well.

Dairy Collectables display. Love the stool and the Australia rolling pin. Also love the cream separator as well.

Colourful display of Glass Fly Traps. I could easily find room for some of these in my collection. And just look at the huge one on the bottom.

Fantastic display of tinplate Money Boxes. Many unusual and colourful designs.

Some bottles! Display of Lamonts. I particularly liked the way these were displayed in their cute little timber and tin display stand. Very Australian.

Hard to beat a good display of inks. Here are two displays, side by side. The first of Inkwells and the second of Ink Bottles. Very nicely presented displays.

More bottles! Displays of Coloured Glass Bottles always look stunning.

Possibly one of my favourite items on display at the show. The large size "Mecca" Foot Warmer. I have the medium size in my collection of foot warmers but not with the great graphics that this one has. I had to admit to the owner that I was rather jealous of this fine foot warmer.

 And finally my three purchases of the day.

Another buggy spanner for my collection and a very nice twist handle Acme wrench. I bought these two tools from Phillip Hill who had the swap and sell table next to mine. I really enjoyed getting to know him and chatting with him throughout the day.
A diamond frog convict brick for my brick collection. This brick was bought at the end of the day which enabled me to negotiate a reasonable price.

I have often found that I don't spend much at a show if I am exhibiting and selling items myself. Not sure if it's a psychological thing of not wanting to eat into any profits or if I am just too busy. Either way it's probably a good thing. Let's see what happens at next year's show. And where it will be held for that matter.

Friday 28 June 2013

My Garden Angel

Just like the birdhouses, this is not really a historical collectable but rather something that I have created to decorate my garden. Maybe one day someone might see it as being worthy to be included as part of a folk art collection. Wouldn't that be nice? This angel is only the first, of what I see as many, that I plan to make.  (Hmm, do I see a potential business opportunity developing here? Maybe you would like to order one from me).

I chose to add a rusty star garland to the head of the angel with three more rusty stars on her chest.

She also has a single rusty star hanging from her hands.

My angel is wearing a blue dress with cream wings and face  

My angel looked as though she was ready to soar into the heavens once she was attached to the fence. At least that's what I think.

I plan to make some more angels of different sizes and designs for my garden in the near future. Don't want her to be lonely, do we?

My Birdhouses

Thought I would feature my collection of birdhouses in this post. This collection is quite different to any other that has been featured as these birdhouses have all (well almost all) been made by myself. They don't have a very long history either. Maybe, as they get older, they will become more collectable to future generations. So far I have nine birdhouses and one bird feeder.

My most recent birdhouse is a Red Barn Birdhouse which I made a couple of months ago. I have always wanted a big red barn and it looks as though this may be as close as I'll ever get to fulfilling that dream. I was inspired to build this birdhouse after seeing one that was somewhat similar on Facebook. Below are some photos of this birdhouse.
As you can see, I like to use very weathered pieces of wood where ever I can. I think this adds a lot of character.
Another rough piece of wood on this side too.
The Red Barn birdhouse in position on the fence. I gave it a branch perch and added three rusty barn stars as decoration. Who knows, someday I may even add a couple of other things to this birdhouse such as a little barrel and a little ladder.

Thought I'd try a rusty tin roof on this cream birdhouse. The tin actually came from our old rusty downpipes from when we had them replaced late last year. I try not to waste anything.
As you can see, the tin is very rusty. More character.
Pink this time with a heart shaped hole and an old door knob. I try to do something different with each one.
Small orange hardwood birdhouse
The little orange birdhouse was actually cut out, but never assembled, 7 or 8 years ago while we lived in Melbourne. It sat in pieces in my workshop for many years until one day I felt I just had to achieve something and so finally put it together. It then sat around unpainted for a few years. Finally, it received its colour scheme of orange and green after seeing these colours used together on something on the internet. It's made out of some old hardwood garden edging from our Melbourne house.
The only bird feeder that I have made. The idea for this feeder came from a plan off the internet, found by my lovely daughter, Ashley. She wanted one for herself so we decided to make one each while we were at it. Don't think she has assembled hers yet.

The bird feeder is made from western red cedar that I've had for many years. I was going to make some more fly screens for the house with the thinner pieces. The wide pieces have a more interesting history. They are actually cut from a long board that was bought to replace a damaged piece on our house. About twenty years ago, someone very kindly blew up our letter box one night and part of it went flying down our verandah damaging the board. The damage to the board wasn't too significant and I just never got around to replacing it. It was just what I needed for the bird feeder.

The bird feeder has been well received by the local bird population and is visited by them everyday. The rainbow lorikeets actually wait in the trees nearby for me to put some seed out for them each morning. Haven't seen the rosella pictured above for sometime now. I think the lorikeets have taken over.
This little birdhouse was made by me in Melbourne. It's almost identical to my little orange one and was cut out at the same time. It has hung next to the front doors of both our Victorian and Queensland homes. I used part of an old wardrobe door handle as a hanger.

This is probably one of my favourite birdhouses and I think possibly the first I ever made. I call it the Gothic Cross birdhouse and just absolutely love the colour.
I designed the Gothic Cross Birdhouse on the computer and built it while living in Melbourne. It's actually made out of some old drawers that were found in a wall of a friend's house at Mordialloc. We were helping them do some renovations to their sunroom and had to remove some old wall sheeting on an unusually thick piece of wall. We discovered that a previous owner had used a series of old drawers to pack out and build out the wall, hence its unusual thickness. Why they would do this will probably remain a mystery but thankfully I quickly saw the potential in the timber and colour of the drawers. Our friends were only too happy for me to have them and so was born my Gothic Cross birdhouse. I still have some of the drawer timbers left over and one day I'll use them for another creation. 

Detail of the Gothic Cross and distressed paint finish.
OK. I didn't build this one but I did do the crackle paint finish. Sometime I will add a little more decoration to this birdhouse.
Detail of the crackled paint finish. I used Crackle Medium by Folk Art to achieve this.
One of my natural finish birdhouses. Rusty tin roof again.
Another simple natural finish birdhouse. Made another one of these with my grandson, Max over the Christmas holidays.
Max loves the drill press.
Max trying to get those pesky nails to go in straight. Not easy for a little guy. Note that I am trying to keep my fingers well away from Max's flying hammer.
Max proudly posing with his birdhouse. Well done Max!

Because I like the birdhouses to have a rustic weathered look, it's easy for me to knock one together, paint it and mount it on the fence all in one weekend. I gives me a real sense of achievement to start and complete a project in such a short time. I'm sure there will be many more birdhouses to come.

Oh, and by the way. I am always looking out for some more old timber to use in my creations. So please let me know if you have any old fence palings or other timber that you want to get rid of.

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