G E T T I N G S TA R T E D
One of my fondest childhood memories is of sitting on the verandah with my grandmother and watching electrical storms. They promised summer was on the way and soon we could sit under the trees in the garden, enjoying lunch, reading, or just dozing. In the garden we sat in deck chairs that had been made by my father. On the verandah there were cane chairs, which probably came from China. This furniture was the most commonly available meant for outdoor use and belonged to a long tradition of specialised furniture. Cast iron furniture — much made in Great Britain, but some in Australia — was very popular ini the late 19th century. Coalbrookdale iron furnituref is eagerly collected by enthusiasts anda some patterns, such as nasturtium, ensure highi prices at auction. As an example, in 2014 two benches went for an amazing $14,500. Vintage cane furniture can also bring high prices, but most pieces sell for well under $1000. Good examples of the sophisticated rustic furniture made by Australian bushmen and hobbyists are rare. In 2013 a Jimmy Possum chair from Tasmania sold for nearly $3000 and I would expect higher prices now. But don’t overlook the endless stools and chairs made from boxes and scrap timber that are part of the Australian ‘making do’ tradition. While collector enthusiasm has driven-up the price of Australian bush furniture, and a milking stool might cost as much as $200, the endearing charm of the best is still well worth it.