FOR AUCTION: Mark Cuskelly is selling 12 years of collectables.
FOR AUCTION: Mark Cuskelly is selling 12 years of collectables. Contributed

PHOTOS: Decade-long rare collection goes under the hammer

A RUSTY old engine, a couple of dollars and some garden jewellery was what started Mark Cuskelly's decade-long obsession with vintage collectables.

The Ipswich man has spent hundreds of hours meticulously restoring old engines and petrol bowsers to their early 1900s glory.

Part of his collection of garage-abelia, which refers to anything old and from a garage, is up for auction so the collection club can gain new members.

"It all started about 12 or 14 years ago when a mate asked me to help him load some garden jewellery, which is old ploughs and wagons, onto a trailer from Harisville," he said.

"There were a couple of old engines sitting in a paddock and I asked if they were for sale and a couple of bucks later I was dragging two home."

One of his pride restorations is a 1912 Austral oil engine which he has dedicated more than 100 hours over six years to reviving to its working days. He expects it to sell at auction for up to $7000.

"I never went into it to make a profit but with all this old stuff, they're not making them any more so there's not a lot around. More collectors are getting involved so they get spread further afield and with that the value goes up," he said.

"I don't like painting them and doing that sort of work, I just like to get them running. That's the whole point of doing it, for that moment when it first fires up and starts running.

"Some of them do present a large challenge but I really have to have a challenge in it or I don't want to spend that much time doing it.

"Once I get it going the interest in it goes away so I end up restoring them to working order and then I lose interest and go onto the next one.

"The challenge lies in turning something that's rusting in a paddock into a running item."

The Austral engine will be up for auction next weekend as part of a true picker's heaven alongside plenty of hidden gems like 24 restored and original petrol bowsers, over 20 hit and miss stationary engines, enamel signs, a 1922 Dodge Tourer from America and an 1889 Alston Aqua windmill.

All 121 items will be available to view on site from Friday September 8 and the auction ends on Sunday September 10.

See for details.