When Collectables Trader magazine launched in the 1990s, they met Ron Douglas at his antiques store in Margaret Street, Toowoomba. Ron was an avid collector of tinsmithing machinery and his passion was restoring the machines to original condition so that one day he would have a museum where people could go and learn traditional tinsmithing skills.
It has taken Toowoomba plumbers David and Ian Williamson, along with Highfields Pioneer Village, to make Mr Douglas' vision a reality.
The Douglas collection is now housed at the Village and the Williamson brothers are creating a replica fascade to the buidling of the Toowoomba Spring Works that was in Russell Street next to where the old Irish Club stood. The original fascade was saved and restored by Ron Douglas for use as a frontage in Raff Street.
Mr Douglas' collection is unique. He told Collectables Trader magazine that he toured the country looking for the machinery and happily demonstrated turning a nice edge onto round vent cover right in the middle of his antique furniture displays.>
With the restoring of old houses being in vogue, perhaps these old skills are about to get a new lease on life through the Village and the support of the Williamson brothers.