Friday 21 June 2013

Collectomania - Showcasing A Collector's Passion

If you are a collector, or if you have ever known a collector, you will understand how passionate they can become over collecting what can sometimes be thought of as very obscure objects. I personally know this myself as a collector of Baby Feeders. Not every one shares my passion and in fact many would ask 'why on earth do you collect baby bottles?' To me it is the fascination of the social history and the development of these everyday items. I like to collect things that have been used by the average person in their everyday life and have become a piece of social history.

Karen and I, with our close friends Cliff and Judy, went along to see the Collectomania display at the Queensland Museum a few weeks ago. We are all passionate collectors and were curious to see what sort of collections would be featured in the display. It had been indicated that some of the collections might be considered quite weird by some people. We wanted to see what other people were actually collecting. The following photos probably show a bit of a biased view as they are mostly of the collections that appealed to me.

The first thing that you see at the exhibition, just before you enter, is a cool red tractor in front of a wall of number plates.

I was immediately drawn to the number plate collection as I have a small collection myself fixed to the front of my shed.  Some rather unusual ones here. Makes me want to look out for some more for my shed.

The first thing that hits you when you get inside is this huge Ceiling Medallion from the old Regent Theatre.  This theatre was built in QueenStreet, Brisbane in the 1920s. It has been the centre of an ongoing battle to save it. Most of this historic building has now been lost except for its heritage listed foyer.

Regent Theatre Ceiling Medallion information.

Other Regent Theatre items included a row of seats, some heavy curtains, a chandelier and spot light.

I just had to take a photo of this Fire Fighting Collection seeing that my eldest son Laurie is a firefighter. We gave him a fire hose nozzle like the one featured here when he graduated as a fire fighter. See my Fire Fighting Collectables post.

Fantastic collection of Padlocks and this is only about half of what was on display.

Someone even collected old Washing Machines. Nice to see some old washing powder boxes in original condition. How many of these would have been saved?

There was an incredible collection of Beaters. I was amazed to see how many different types and mechanisms there were. Again, this is only half of what was on display. Well worth seeing, especially if you collect Kitchenalia like I do.

Another amazing collection. This time it's a collection of Salesman's Samples of Sanitary Ware (bathroom fittings). I wonder who would collect things like these??? These samples are not easy to find.

This collection is an example of the entire possessions that an immigrant coming to Australia in the 1950s was allowed to bring with them. They were only allowed to bring one suitcase. In that suitcase would be the sum total of their earthly goods. So much must have been left behind. Great sacrifices were made to begin a new life in Australia. Fascinating insight into our immigration policies after World War 2.

Here we have an interesting collection of all sorts of things that were just found around a country property. I think these came from somewhere like Blackall. A collection that really wouldn't have cost anything to put together but is clearly preserving our countries farming history. I suppose that is why I like this collection so much as I really collect things for their history. Interesting to see they found a Chinese soy pot on the farm (top shelf). These are often found on the goldfields.

Not all collectables on display were old. This was a fantastic display of World War 2 German Soldiers. Apparently the owner chose to collect German soldiers because of their colourful uniforms. Other countries mustn't have been as flamboyant as the Germans.
Detailed diorama of a German garage during wartime.

There's also a very detailed model of Bilbo Baggin's Hobbit Hole from Lord of the Rings. This model was made by Maddie Chambers in England in 2010. You can read all about it and see lots more photos in her blog.

You can stand on a stool and look down into each of the rooms. The amount of detail is incredible. The longer you look, the more you find. Has to be seen to be believed.

Detail of the front door of Bilbo's Home.

There were many more collections on display but the ones above were what I consider to be some of the most interesting. Some of the other collections included snow globes, stickers, spoons and even finger nail clippings. Although I would never collect some of these things, the exhibition did show how varied people's collections could be. It also showed that you don't have to spend a fortune to compile an interesting collection. After all, I am sure the collection of fingernail clippings didn't cost much if anything at all!

Why not go along and check it out for yourself and make your own mind up about the different collections on display. It's on at the Queensland Museum, Brisbane until the end of the year and entry is free.


  1. Looks like Colin and I will have to pay a visit! We are going to town next Friday - maybe we could visit the 'Collections' then. Thanks for highlighting it for me. Jenny

  2. Interesting reading. The number plate collection is mine, so I'm glad you enjoyed it. Regards, Shayne.

    1. Thanks Shayne. I did enjoy looking at your number plates. I've added a few more to my shed recently (none as good as yours though) so will have to do an updated post. There certainly is a great variety of plates available out there to tempt any serious collector. John


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