Loading... Please wait...

Blog

The treasures and pleasures of old wares - ABC Story

Posted

Back in September 2015, Darcy's was interviewed by ABC, here is the story! - Enjoy

A large dusty shed full of curiosities is a gold mine of colourful stories of the objects and their past owners and gives its owner an extensive repertoire of yarns to spin.

Lucknow near Orange in central west New South Wales was once a gold rush town but these days the treasure to be found is other's trash.

For more than two decades, Kerry Condon has been picking up quirky collectibles at auctions, farm sales, deceased estates and simply from those who pull up with a vehicle load of stuff at his big shed at Lucknow.
It's called Darcy's Old Wares after his childhood nickname of Darcy, but he later found Darcy's Estate was the name of one of the early mines in the Lucknow area.

Selling antiques and collectibles has provided Mr Condon with a good business, built up a quasi museum of local history and left him with a wealth of colourful yarns.

"I think I would talk for four hours non-stop every day to various customers," Mr Condon said, adding that the personal side of his business is what he loves.

With the gift of the gab and his eye for old things, Kerry Condon has picked up thousands of rusty, dusty items and countless stories to match.

One he loves to tell is about the brightly dressed mannequin that stands out on the Mitchell Highway street front to promote his business.

"She's my best advertisement and her photo has been all over the world."

She's my third mannequin out the front; I've had two of them knocked off in previous years gone by."

He explains that when one of the mannequins was stolen by three men in a small car, he reported it to the local police as a kidnapping and officers joined in the joke.

He says he now gets a Christmas card every year from the thieves.

"I'm glad she's in safe hands; she was a good sort too."

Kerry Condon was formerly a butcher, abattoir employee and youth worker before he got into the old wares business.
He's never looked back and says along with renovating houses, the shop has provided a good income and a great history education.

Mr Condon describes buying a large brass lamp several years ago from a couple selling a car load of old nautical items.

He didn't know what it was until another customer who had a history background told him it was a searchlight used in the Suez Canal.

Mr Condon later sold it to a specialist Melbourne collector.

Another time he saw an article in the local newspaper about a woman who was searching for a pedal car her father had driven in the Orange cherry blossom queen festival many years ago.

He had the car in his stock and was able to sell it to the woman, providing her with a special link to her father's past.
The items in Kerry Condon's shop and indeed the dusty shed itself are often sought out by photographers and movie producers looking for artistic and quirky items.

Now for the first time, the shop is being used as a film set and producers of the psychological horror, The Marshes, are turning it into a remote fuel outlet, called Darcy's Petrol Station.

Mr Condon loves encouraging customers, particularly children to delve into history and posts handwritten cards around the shop explaining what items are or questioning their use.

He says he tells children electronic devices don't work in the shop and he wants them to open their eyes and take an interest what they see.

"It's quite interesting some of the questions they ask."

"I had two young kids in here the other week running around and they went past a couple of rabbit traps and one said to the other 'Have a look at those mouse traps; they're big.'"

Kerry Condon says shows such as American Pickers and their Australian counterparts have increased interest in turning trash into treasure and made it harder for him to find great items.

However he encourages anyone interested in collecting to give it a go.

"Because our grandkids and great grandkids will get to see something of yesteryear when Australia was Australia

Here is the link to the ABC -

http://www.abc.net.au/local/photos/2015/09/07/4307803.htm