Denis Murphy from Sunshine Beach is selling a lifetime of collected Australiana and antiques, donating the proceeds to help Aussie farmers.
Denis Murphy from Sunshine Beach is selling a lifetime of collected Australiana and antiques, donating the proceeds to help Aussie farmers. Michele Sternberg

Rare collectibles sale aids farmers

AN AVID collector of Australiana, who now calls Sunshine Beach home, is selling his huge collection this weekend to raise money for drought-affected farmers.

"It's more than 50 years of collecting,” said 80-year-old Denis Murphy from a shed on a property he's just sold at Verrierdale.

"I've slowly accumulated things to the point where the wife's ready to divorce me,” he joked.

Mr Murphy has an eye for the unique and his lifetime collection includes many "naive” furniture pieces that would have been made by hand by bushies with anything they could find ... a rickety whatnot with oodles of charm, a little stool with branches for legs, a kookaburra figurine shaped with tiny sea shells. The list goes on.

Outside is an incredible collection of old tools and machinery, including shovels with heads made of timber and rusting scythes, walk-behind slashers and even a vintage tractor.

Mr Murphy said his passion for collecting began when he lived in New South Wales and many pieces were bought from dealers on trips to Sydney and Melbourne.

"I had a lovely sandstone house which complimented my collection of Australiana. But I sold that in 1989 and moved to Sunshine Beach.”

Mr Murphy admits he has slowed down in recent years, with a lack of storage partly to blame.

"I haven't bought too much in the past 17 or 18 years and, to be honest, I've run out of room to put it.”

Mr Murphy is donating 15% of all funds raised to drought relief.

So why help drought-affected farmers?

"Firstly I believe they are one of the few remaining sections of our society with a work ethic.

"Secondly they keep trying as I always attempt to do.

"Thirdly, due to the longevity of the drought, piss poor lending tactics of the lending institutions many have suicided leaving behind families which have to cope.

"We lost our son Andrew (Murph) due to suicide and obviously we have empathy for those left behind.

"Also I am conscious at my age that these trinkets must go now.”

Brendan Weatherill, who is helping with the unique garage sale, said there was definitely "something for everyone”.

"Denis is an avid collector of Australiana and antiques and he is expecting to raise about $5000 for the drought from the sale of his collection of antiques and other items.”

The doors will be open at 186 Doonan Bridge Rd, Verrierdale from 8am to 1pm on Sunday, September 23. Just look for the old tractor by the front gate.


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