Dianne Gray with one of her favourites.
Dianne Gray with one of her favourites. Barry Leddicoat

Passion and obsession

WHETHER for practical, sentimental or perhaps obsessive reasons, most people have "stuff" cluttering their lives.

But for some people, collecting particular items is more than one day coming to the realisation that they have a fridge magnet from every place they have ever visited.

For some people, collecting is an exciting pastime.

On the Sunshine Coast, antiques and other collectables are popular and well-represented.

A number of shops are dedicated to sought-after items and at least five antiques and collectables fairs are held on the Coast each year, attracting visitors from all over Australia.

Nambour's quarterly Collectorama Antiques and Collectables Fair event coordinator Laurie Wall said the fairs attracted thousands of people with wide-ranging collections.

"People collect everything," Mrs Wall said.

"It really depends on what takes their fancy and what they can afford.

"Sometimes it has to do with where their life path takes them - if someone works in a library, they might collect books - or it could be totally unrelated."

In almost 20 years of fairs, Mrs Wall has seen collecting trends come and go.

But she says the items that remain popular - such as old kitchenware, antique jewellery, militaria and toys - do so for a reason.

"It's all about an appreciation of beauty and craftsmanship," Mrs Wall said.

"Sometimes things get discarded and not loved, but when they become part of a collection, they become loved again.

"Things can become part of this unending spiral of ownership, getting passed on from generation to generation."

Local collector Lynn Foster understands this love of all things old.

For more than 30 years, the Sunshine Coast Antiques and Collectables Club secretary has been an avid collector of a range old china, kitchenware, letters and birthday cards that date back to the 1800s and early 1900s.

She also has a diary from a soldier written in the Second World War.

Mrs Foster provides an interesting perspective on the popular pastime.

"Everyone collects different things for different reasons, but I'm interested in the history," Mrs Foster said.

"The old letters are particularly interesting because you can work out how the people lived, what they did for entertainment and things like that, and their handwriting was lovely."

As an experienced collector, Mrs Foster has seen some unusual collections, but describes old tractor seats as one of the most interesting.

"Back in the old days, the tractors had metal seats and they had their makers' names on there and a few people actually collect those," she said.

One of Mrs Foster's fellow club members, Dianne Gray has a passion for dolls which she has been collecting for more than 20 years.

Mrs Gray's collection is in the hundreds and occupies an entire room of her Buddina home.

The pretty little things range from 100-year-old antiques to modern styles and even a number of dolls Mrs Gray has made herself.

Formerly a ceramics teacher, Mrs Gray turned her attention to making porcelain dolls which went on to encourage her collecting passion.

"There's just something about them, every doll has a different face," Mrs Gray said.

"I like to collect ones that really say hello to you."

For people interested in starting a collection, Danny Jurd - an antiques and collectables valuer and auctioneer for more than 30 years - recommends focusing on an area of particular interest.

"Choosing something you're interested in above and beyond other factors is essential because the enjoyment experienced can't be measured," Mr Jurd said.

"That should be the most important thing - enjoying it."



  • Old oil tins
  • Unused airline sick bags
  • Bellybutton fluff
  • Fruit stickers
  • Tractor seats
  • Barbed wire
  • Princess Diana memorabilia

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