Vintage enamel signs and Jaguar cars are just two of the things that Dr Colin Tedman of Caloundra Vet Surgery in Queensland loves to collect.

“When I was a child in England, my dad worked on the railways. Occasionally he’d bring something home for me that was being discarded and I started a bit of a collection. Collecting would be a passion of mine for most of my life.

“When I moved to Australia, life got very busy and collecting was put on the back burner for a while, though it never completely stopped. I was always picking up bits of machinery, antiques and old signs. Recently, I’ve started winding down my hours at work as I slowly move towards retirement. This has enabled me to start seriously collecting and trading. My wife and I run a website called Bowerbird Pickers that is an online store for people interested in vintage enamel signs, railwayana, petroliana, pub mirrors and advertising memorabilia. 

“Original enamel signs from 1880 to about 1950 have always been a special passion of mine. I love the pictorial signs that display products from a different age. After the Second World War the signs were replaced by mass-produced posters.

“There are a lot of enamel sign remakes in the market and it can be difficult to differentiate them from the originals. The manufacturers are getting more and more cunning and even adding age spots and rust. There was some discussion over an enamel sign we sold recently. A whole forum on the net was discussing if it was genuine or not. Fortunately, we could show some providence and prove that it was genuine.

“The other thing I love to collect is old English railway station signs, particularly from around Slade Green where I lived as a kid. I also like to collect old brewery signs and pub mirrors. We’re visiting the UK soon to bring some of those items home. I’ve also got a few old Bundy clocks that used to be in factories.

“I’ve driven Jaguar cars for the past 20 years and own four right now. Most of them are under construction and I’m in the process of converting an XJS from left-hand drive to right-hand drive.

“When I got involved with the Variety Club of Queensland, I turned one of the Jags into a Bash car. It has a Union Jack painted all over it and JAG-007 number plates. Even though I’m probably getting a bit old, I often dress up like James Bond during the Bash.

“Fortunately, both me and the Jag seem to get around okay without too many breakdowns!”  

Visit Dr Colin Tedman’s online store at

Interview: Frank Leggett  


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