Collectors just can’t help it

SOME of us might fondly remember having dolls or teddy bears, but it’s unlikely we’d ever dream of having close to 400 of them.

Tuncurry collector Moira Barnes admits she’s a little bit different “collectors all are really, you just can’t help yourself when you find that gem.”

Moira’s collecting began as an effort to recapture part of her childhood after she moved to Australia in 1969.

“I had a pedigree doll as a child and I’ve always tried to get it back, so I’d buy others that weren’t it but that’s how it started really.”

Moira now boasts a collection that could come close to 400 dolls from around the world.

“I’ve lost count of them but there’d be between 350 and 400.”

It’s hard for her to pick a favourite though she can narrow it down.

“The best dolls are the French ones probably followed by the German ones, I have a German baby doll from 1910 they’re just lovely, the features they have in their face. One of them is wearing my brother’s christening gown from 1930 so that’s a special one. I also like these celluloid ones made at the turn of the century, they have such wonderful features.”

Apart from a vast collection of dolls, Moira also collects hatpins and “all sorts of other bits and pieces. I used to go back to the UK regularly so you pick up things as part of the journey.” 

Moira also has an extensive collection of Royal Doulton tableware. 

“I have a set from 1915 that was given to me by my mother so there’s a lot of sentimentality attached to that. They have nursery rhyme designs that were designed by Savage Cooper, obviously I like dolls so I like the nursery rhymes as well. I have some other pieces from the Bicentenary. I like silver, because it’s hallmarked so you know exactly where it’s come from and how old it is.”

Moira, a member of the Taree and District Collectors Club , says that collecting is a way of life.

“We’re a bit of a different group but that’s why it’s good to be around other collectors because they understand where you’re coming from.”

Moira will be exhibiting some of her collection, including some pieces for sale at the Taree Collectors Fair this weekend.

Meticulous about her music

THE power of music to inspire, to comfort and to preserve memories is not lost on Roberta Small.

“I’ve always loved music,” Roberta says.

“I can’t read music, I can’t play an instrument, I can’t sing, but I just love it. Some people go for chocolate but for me its music, I just can’t get enough of it.”

Roberta’s collection of between 12-13,000 vinyl records and 15-16,000 CDs are focused on wartime music dating back as far as the Boer War.

“They’re mostly 33 1/3 long play vinyl records a lot of which have been taken off vinyl and put onto CD. A lot of comforting patriotic music is composed and played during stressful times and I’ve got music from the Boer War, the Boxer Rebellion both World Wars, Korea and Vietnam.”

The collection is stored meticulously, with Roberta’s foolproof filing system.

“They’re placed in different categories from Jazz to Blues, piano to saxophone to clarinet, from Irish to French, 70s 80s and 90s. None of its written down it’s all in my head.”

The collection has formed the basis for her regular show on Great Lakes FM, ‘a walk down memory lane’ which she has presented for the last 10 years.

“It’s a four-hour program so I often leave with up to 12 bags of CDs.”

The program has also seen her develop a formidable collection of war history books.

“If you’re going to say something on radio you need to be able to back it up so each show is carefully researched. I’m not tech savvy, I rely on books so I haunt second hand book shops and the library, I must drive them nuts.”

It also involves a few trips to the National War Memorial in Canberra.

“A couple of times a year I go down there and just eat sleep and breath the war memorial.”

Despite the meticulous research and records of radio shows kept in exercise books, it still remains all about the music for Roberta.

“It just takes over your life. Music is a memory whether it’s happy or sad it always moves you.”

You can listen to Roberta’s special Anzac Day show on 101.5 Great Lakes FM. She will also be exhibiting at this weekend’s Taree Collectors Fair.

See you at the Collectors Fair

THE Taree and District Collectors Club will hold their annual Collectors Fair this weekend April 27 (9am-4pm) and 28 (9am-3pm) at the PCYC building in Commerce Street Taree.

 Various collections will be on display and Michael Meldrum, trained through the National Arts museum at Sydney University will be on hand to appraise antiques for a cost of $2 per item. 

Entry is $4 with children under 15 free.

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