Mini-museum rises from hobby

Last updated 05:00 29/12/2012
allan waghorn
SUM GREATER THAN PARTS: Allan Waghorn in shed in Wallacetown with his collection of farming and household paraphernalia.

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They say one man's trash is another man's treasure. Allan Waghorn has collected all kinds of interesting farming and household paraphernalia in his favourite space, which has started to resemble a museum. Collette Devlin takes a tour of his Wallacetown shed.

Old and rusted farm tools decorate the edges of a driveway that leads to what looks like an ordinary Southland shed.

However, when Allan Waghorn opens his shed door, a treasure trove of colourful, gleaming farm gems that would impress any history buff appear.

The shed houses a collection of antique farming instruments and tools, army flasks, bikes, tins, petrol cans, tobacco tins, medicine bottles, radios, telephones, biscuit tins, matchboxes, beer bottles, tractors and toys.

Cabinets and shelves crammed with memorabilia cover all three walls of the shed, from floor to roof. They surround American imported Minneapolis-Moline U and R tractors, which take pride of place in the centre.

Mr Waghorn spends most days in his hobby shed, polishing and fixing things and rearranging them to make room for more.

"If I am not here [in the shed] my wife knows I am probably off buying other things for it," he said.

He initially decided he would collect only farm tools and machinery but one day his wife arrived home with a box of old crockery and bottles, given to her by a friend in Winton and he expanded his interest.

Mr Waghorn started his collection 16 years ago with a 1941 Case SC tractor. "I decided to get some tools and a few things to decorate the wall and that's when it got out of hand," he said.

This was followed by his favourite pieces in the collection, the Minneapolis-Moline tractors. He found one, which he restored, dismantled and in boxes at Mataura.

The most unusual thing in his collection is a silver sausage-making machine and what he thinks is a leather machine, while the oldest is a tool from the 1890s for tailing lambs.

Old-fashioned radios and telephones spanning the 1930s and 1940s are perched on a top shelf with an old Singer sewing machine and a lawnmower from the same era.

He had built up his collection by buying items from auction rooms, and sometimes neighbours and friends dropped off bits and pieces they thought he might like.

School books from World War II years had been given to him by a scrap-metal dealer who knew about his collection.

"Everywhere I go, I keep an eye out for interesting things and bid on them," he said.

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Everything in the mini-museum shed is arranged perfectly and labelled so that visitors know what they are looking at and what it is used for.

His grown-up children did not share his passion for old memorabilia, so he is deciding what he will do with his collection.

He would probably sell it all one day, he said.

In the meantime, members of the public were welcome to drop in and have a look at his collection if they were in the area, he said.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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