Sunday, 20 April 2014

The Southern Odyssey Part 1: Home to Scone

Scott K and I are driving from Brisbane to Melbourne, integrating typewriters wherever we go. With some Googling on the fly, we (attempted to) visit everywhere along the 700km where there was a reasonable expectation of observing typewriters in the wild. This included numerous antiques/second hand/opportunity/collectables shops as well as one garage sale. Seven typewriters were spotted. Two were purchased. All were catalogued in a bird watching book which we amended to suit typewriters. Perhaps we didn't go quite that far. The stops made along the way and the typewriters observed are numbered for your reference on the map below, along with a couple of other photographs which aren't numbered.

(Not numbered) Sunrise and mist over the plains west of Ipswich. No typewriters.

(Not numbered) Autumn colours. Something you don't get when living in the sub-tropics. No typewriters.

1. Glen Aplin, QLD. Yestergear Antiques. Drove past before 8am. Not open yet. No typewriters.

2. Tenterfield, NSW. Margot Ellis Rees Antiques. Drove past 8:30am. Not open yet either. No typewriters.

(Not numbered) The town of Deepwater, NSW. It came 3rd Place in the Tidy Towns contest 16 years ago, but no mention of its performance since. This does not speak volumes of its tidiness, nor of its value as a tourist destination. It did have a gorgeous little post office though. No typewriters.

3. Glen Innes, NSW. Three potential second hand shops. (a) On the main street- closed. No typewriters. (b) Near the RSL club- owner slightly bats. Quaint place, but no typewriters. Some great ads from a 1963 edition of Brisbane's newspaper: The Courier Mail. The Model 78 Linotype machine (see below) looks particularly easy to use and if anyone is stuck for ideas for my next birthday.... (c) On the highway near the southern end of the town; lady spoke of a golfball Adler due in a couple of weeks, but as yet not available. Thus no typewriters.

4. Armidale, NSW. (a) Garage sale near the Hospital. Great old Victa lawn mower, but no typewriters. (b) Armidale Second Hand Bargain Centre. TYPEWRITER 1: Boring late model Adler. Like recreational anglers we kissed it and threw it back. This was a funny barn of a place, run by two hardy old people who said that they didn't get cold in the winter despite the lack of heating. To put this in context, this was a high ceilinged corrogated iron barn without insulation. Armidale is high on the tablelands and regularly gets night time lows several degrees below freezing in winter. We did not meddle with these old people.

A particularly uninspiring member of the Adler species

5. Uralla, NSW. Beautiful little town just down the road from Armidale, lots of history, preserved buildings, two collectables shops. (a) The one at the top of the hill- TYPEWRITER 2: Remington 17, proudly sitting out the front of the shop, tempting, but slightly over priced. (b) The one at the bottom of the hill- no typewriters.

(Not numbered) We stopped in Tamworth for lunch. Tamworth is home to the goldern guitar and Australia's biggest country and western music event. To celebrate I parked Scott's car spectacularly far from the kerb. The burger from the small cafe was to die for. No typewriters.

Enjoy the walk to the kerb, Scott.

6. Murrurundi, NSW. Mr Salt and Pepper. This guy had a small shopfront in this one street town with the most incredible (and meticulously arranged) collection of salt and pepper shakers. Shelves and shelves and rooms and rooms of meticulously arranged salt and pepper shakers. His collection also included matchboxes, stamps, postcards and some other things, but the sheer number of salt and pepper shakers was mindblowing. The photograph is one room out of many. No typewriters.

Everyone to their own, Mr Salt and Pepper.

7. Wingen, NSW. Burning Mountain Antiques. Jackpot. TYPEWRITER 3: Olivetti Linea 98 (yuck). TYPEWRITER 4: Brother golfball electric. TYPEWRITER 5: Remington SJ. TYPEWRITER 6: Remington Quiet-riter. TYPEWRITER 7: Imperial Good Companion 4.

 This is how a collectables store is supposed to look

 The shopkeeper didn't trust us with his ladder or his typewriters

Boring Lemair with Good Companion 4 in the background

Scott bought this Quiet-Riter as well as the Good Companion. Both were priced at c.2002 prices- approximately the amount of time they had been sitting on the shelf judging by the thickness of the layer of dust on the top of the cases.

The day ended at Scone, drinking dark ale and playing darts in an empty pub. All in all a successful day. 700km, 7 typewriters = average 1 typewriter per 100km. I have to say though that the real highlight was flipping through the pages of the Jan 1972 edition of The Australian Hereford Annual. The fashion, the passion, the animal husbandry..... Herefords: The breed for every need.


  1. You guys are gonna need a bigger car by the time you get to Melbourne. ;-)

    1. Ha! I'll admit the rear suspension is riding a bit low.

  2. What a fun trip, Steve, I look forward to more updates.

  3. This is great fun. Of course, I'm familiar with the refrain "no typewriters" from my own travels -- but then there are the happy surprises. That Good Companion, from the little glimpse, seems pretty. I would love to see a picture of the birding book that you've appropriated for our peculiar pursuit.

    1. Alas, I was joking. It could definitely be done though and would epitomise dedication to the cause.

  4. Interesting looking and fun sounding trip. I can relate to no fall colors living here in Florida where trees go from green to no leaves back to green all in a month or two.

    Rob's already logged your visit there. I look forward to reading more of your trip.

  5. Cross-country typewriter hunt with a buddy, now that's what I call fun! :D

  6. The Armidale Second-Hand Bargain Centre: "This is a local shop, for local people, we'll have no trouble here!" Glad you made it out alive!

  7. Thanks for your comments gents, definitely a great way to spend an Easter. Updates will be forthcoming if not slightly delayed.

  8. Hmmm. My comment disappeared. Just wrote 'nice write up'! Good photos too. I like it.

  9. I really really like the looks of that Antique shop. Must find one of those in my neighborhood!