ANTIQUES AND COLLECTABLES

A Furphy water fountain

Collect the past and invest for your future

Great to see some rain! Dams are filling, and farmers and gardeners are smiling. Hopefully, it allows for a good season to come. It is always a great season for collecting!

We have had a very busy couple of months preparing for our Collectors’ Auction on the 22nd April at Taree Showground. Jen does the catalogue typing and organising of photos,and I organise the shed and advertising. If you want a sneak preview, photos and catalogues are available at www.theauctionqueens.com.au. We hope to see you there. There is a huge variety of lots.

I have been collecting for 30 plus years now, and have always enjoyed the search and discoveries made. The people you meet, the stories you hear, the information you gather and the memories collected are special. I was talking to a gent, Peter, the other day, who is a walking encyclopedia on the Kelly gang. He was telling me about his theories on how he feels, after much research, that members of the Kelly gang survived. Fascinating! We talked about jotting down his research, so that this great archive of information can be passed along to family, or a museum. If we don’t talk to our families and friends, great information disappears.

Have you ever wondered where the old expression – telling a Furphy comes from? A furphy is Australian slang for an improbable story that is claimed to be true. Furphies are supposedly ‘heard’ from reputable sources, sometimes second-hand or third-hand, and widely believed, until discounted. The word is said to derive from water carts designed and made by a company established by John Furphy: J. Furphy & Sons of Shepparton, Victoria. The steel and cast-iron tanks were first made in the 1880s, and were used on farms and by stock agents. Many Furphy water carts were used to take water to Australian Army personnel during World War I in Australia, Europe and the Middle East. The carts, with “J. Furphy & Sons” written on their tanks, became popular as gathering places, where soldiers could exchange gossip, rumours and fanciful tales — much like today’s water cooler discussions. Hence the expression – telling a Furphy.

John Furphy embossed his philosophy on all his water cart ends – GOOD, BETTER, BEST – NEVER LET IT REST – TILL YOUR GOOD IS BETTER – AND YOUR BETTER, BEST. 

J Furphy’s foundry in Victoria made a huge variety of steel and cast-iron implements, including farm machinery, troughs, feeders, water carts, water fountains…… etc. Today, Furphy items are very collectable. They are easy to distinguish, because he placed the family name on most items made.

Collecting is for everyone. Find the category that suits you, or take the plunge and collect a wide variety of unique and interesting treasures, or limit yourself to one area. It is always fun, and the people you meet, and the stories you hear, help pass along our history.

If you have items you are not sure of, I may be able to help with information, appraisals or sales. I love the history and stories of old and interesting items. Phone Rex – 0427 880 546.

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